Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Noted Carnatic vocalist ‘Sangeetha Kalanidhi’ R. K. Srikantan, 91, has been selected for the Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram-2008 of the State government.

The award was decided by a committee headed by chairman of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi and actor Murali. The award is being given for the vocalist’s contributions to the world of music for over 70 years.

Noted mridangam exponent Umayalpuram Sivaraman and N. Balasubramanian, the principal of the Swathi Thirunal College of Music, here, were among the committee’s members.

After announcing the award at a press conference here on Thursday, Minister for Culture M.A. Baby called up Dr. Srikantan at his Bangalore residence and offered his felicitations. “We are proud of the (committee’s) decision,” he said.

The award, carrying a cash prize of Rs.1 lakh, a plaque and a citation, will be presented at a time that is convenient to Dr. Sreekantan, Mr. Baby said.

During the telephonic conversation Mr. Baby also asked Dr. Srikantan who the latter’s ‘guru’ was. “We know you as a guru but who was your guru?” the Minister was heard asking. Dr. Srikantan’s first guru was his father Rudrappattanam Krishna Sastry, he later told the press conference.