“I have done nothing for music. But, music has done many things for me,” said music composer Ilayaraja.
Reflecting on the futility of working for awards, he asked how musicians living in an age that gave them little time to think about music “could think about awards?”
Reminiscing the time he spent with legendary Carnatic musician Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, he said “Pointing at the line of awards that he had won, Semmangudi would ask me ‘What am I going to do with them?'”
Mr. Ilayaraja was speaking here on Saturday at the launch of a book ‘Sangeetha Saagaram Semmangudi', authored by Shankar Venkataraman. The programme was jointly organised by the Integrated Academy of Performing Arts and Krishna Gana Sabha.
The book chronicles Semmangudi's interaction with various stalwarts in the music field over the years. Referring to one particular chapter in the book, Mr.Ilayaraja said “When someone asked him why he doesn't compose ‘keerthanas,' he apparently replied, ‘I do not want to torment others'. I couldn't stop laughing after reading that passage. ” He added that Semmangudi's music has inspired generations. ”
President of Krishna Gana Sabha, Nalli Kuppusamy Chetty spoke about the non-musical facets of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer that were as endearing as his music. “His sense of humour was astounding. He could keep an entire room of audience in splits just by recounting personal experiences. ” Mridangam vidwan Karaikudi Mani spoke.