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Crowned `Musician of the Century'

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Balamuralikrishna
Balamuralikrishna

STAFF REPORTER

The Chief Minister of Karnataka, H.D.Kumaraswamy, conferred the title, `Musician of the Century,' on Carnatic music legend M. Balamuralikrishna, recently in Bangalore, on behalf of Advaita Foundation and announced that a music university would be set up in the State. M. Balamuralikrishna himself, and Ramachandra Gowda, Minister for Science and Technology had made the demand for the university earlier. The vocalist said he would give his "full cooperation" to the initiative. The Chief Minister said, "It is a matter of pride that musicians of Balamuralikrishna's calibre were born in this country." An emotional Balamuralikrishna later recalled that he had been singing in Karnataka since 1952. He had won a national award for playback singing and another for music direction. "I won both for Kannada films." As far as his knowledge of music was concerned, the legend humbly said he had a long way to go. The Melakarta system of Carnatic music was like a base for all kinds of music. "Because of my training in Carnatic music, I can sing Hindustani or French music," he said, pointing out that the reverse is not so easy. Hence, one need not fear that fusion music and western influences would adversely affect Carnatic music. Balamurali then presented an hour-long recital. The audience probably witnessed one of the finest accompaniments on the mridangam by Ella Venkateshwara Rao, prompting Balamuralikrishna to comment, "Many a time he sings through the mridangam." Karnataka High Court judges K. Sridhar Rao, K. Bhaktavatsala, H. Billappa, H.N. Nagamohan Das and B.S. Patil and Union Minister of State for Planning, M.V. Rajasekharan, were present on the occasion.

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