Vocalist’s schedule would leave even much younger musicians breathless

At 93, R.K. Srikantan’s half-a-dozen concerts at Chennai’s just-concluded music season have led the media to dub him the musician’s musician.

On January 14, the vocalist celebrates his 93rd birthday.

With nearly nine decades of singing behind him, what does he feel about his accomplishments? “Given my age, isn’t it a boon to take to the dais at well-known global banners? I have not yet retired and have been able to enthral audiences with the little I know. Isn’t that the greatest boon from God? It’s perhaps my breathing exercises that help my voice control,” says the maestro, his inner peace shining through.

He had a busy 2012 concert schedule leaving even youngsters out of breath. “I must have had about 50 cutcheris last year that includes half-a-dozen concerts in the U.S. and some awards — Sangeethasaagara by the Carnatic Music Association of North America (CMANA) and the Cleveland Tyagaraja Festival’s honour, Madhura Sangeetha Visharada.”

His workshop on Mysore Maharaja Kritis at Chembai Music College in Palakkad and on the Mysore Composers at the Government Music College in Tripunithura — both in Kerala — evoked much appreciation just as his concert and award at the Vishaka Music and Dance Academy in Visakhapatnam.

Music programme

The Vidwan R.K. Srikantan Trust, in its 18th Annual Sankranti Music Festival coinciding with the birthday celebrations, has arranged a four-day musical evening. Says vocalist Ramakanth Srikantan who steers the trust: “A CD, Tyagaraja Pancharatna Kriti Ratnamala, sung by my father [Srikantan] and me will be released at the festival.”

The festival will be inaugurated on January 14 at 5.15 p.m. at Sevasadan Hall, Malleswaram, followed by a felicitation to senior vocalist Gowri Kuppuswami and C.N. Gnaneshwara Rao Utharkar who runs a music sabha in Anantapur.

The schedule: January 15 – vocal by Aishwarya (5.15 p.m.) and veena by R.K. Raghavan (7 p.m.); January 16 – flute by Ravishankar Kulur (5.15 p.m.) and vocal by Lakshmikantha Kadaba (7 p.m.), and January 17 – vocal by Nitya and Vidya (5.15 p.m.) and vocal by Padmamurthy (7 p.m.).

Keywords: R.K. Srikantan

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