Unsung heroes

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EVENT Gayana Samaja remembers eight artistes who have quietly done their bit for the arts

PASSIONATE Taking up the cause Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
PASSIONATE Taking up the cause Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

G ayana Samaja's greatness lies in its unstinted focus. This year's annual conference, brought to fore the tireless efforts of some unsung heroes to light. “It's their devotion and dedication that has brought them all to the august stage of the Gayana Samaja today. We are proud to recognise their meaningful work and bestow upon them artiste of the year award,” said M.R.V. Prasad, President, Gayana Samaja.

The award winners are Lakshmikanth Kadaba (gamaka and Carnatic vocal); Mysore sisters, G.S. Rajalakshmi and G.S Kamala, Ratnaprabha Krishna (veena), R. Krishnamurthy (mridanga), Malathi Sharma (Sugama Sangeetha), Hosahalli Venkataram (violin), and G.L.N. Ayya (promotion of Fine Arts).

“Its not just receiving an honour, the recognition from the prestigious Gayana Samaja makes us feel proud...,” every artist honoured expressed this in so many ways. Mridanga vidwan S. Krishnamurthy is all excited about the third volume of his book that he is soon seeing in print, “Laya Vinyasa – III” containing advanced features for senior percussive practitioners. The first two volumes discussed methods for forming gathis and jathis (carnatic and dance format) and in it provided patterns, combinations and exercises for easy laya phrases that could be applied during swara-kalapanas too from the main artistes.

“The latest volume is for seasoned percussionists who want to bring in more aesthetics, without making it appear like jugglery!” says 78-year-old Krishnamurthy, who has performed for more than 50 years.

With a master's in Sanskrit, Hosahalli K. Venkatram, after his initial music lessons in Mysore told himself that he would learn violin only under Lalgudi G. Jayaraman and soon landed up in Chennai for a six-year-gurukulavasa!

“I am proud that as a shishya, I am the only one propagating the Lalgudi school of bowing in Karnataka,” says Venkatram. “It's the speciality bowing that spells out the lyrics,” he says. Proud of training hundreds of students from his institution Nadha Sudha, Venkatram also arranges concerts throughout the State from his Hosahalli-based “Sanketi Sangeetha Sabha”.

For Civil Engineer G.L.N. Aiyya retirement brought in more work and satisfaction, as his association with Gana Bharathi Cultural organisation in Mysore for construction of a new auditorium soon landed him as the President of the Sabha! Veene Seshanna Bhavana, apart from concerts, soon became a place where classical music and dance is being taught for several decades now. “We now have more than 500 students, three programmes a month, apart from festival and aradhana celebrations,” says the 88-year-old crusader, who mainly encourages artistes from Karnataka.

“MSIL geethegalu that went on AIR decades ago was a turning point for me,” says singer and AIR announcer Malathi Sharma. “All these years have seen me propagating Sugama Sangeetha along with Ratnamala Prakash, and our efforts are also made easier as we have a basic strong foundation of classical music,” she says. With a dozen books to his credit, Lakshmikanth Kadaba, the State's renowned Gamaka performer was also trained in classical music by Srinivasa Raghavan and Rama Jois before coming to R.K. Srikantan. The Shimoga-based artiste soon found an expression in Gamaka and learnt the nuances from Bharatada Bindu Rayaru.

With music running in the genes, G.S. Rajalakshmi and G.S. Kamala (Mysore Sisters) say, “All I remember was attending cutcheris, because my father didn't take us anywhere else,” says Rajalakshmi. “This is why our style is influenced by many schools,” she says. Several students and several cassettes are to their credit. Veena artist Ratnaprabha Krishna, also won the award for propagation of music. Ranjani Govind



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