The passion that artists Palkulangara Ambika Devi and Thiruvananthapuram V. Surendran share for Carnatic music is evident from the valuable contribution made by them in this field.
The artists were awarded this year’s Sangeeta Bharati award instituted by South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjavur and Sangeeta Bharati, Thiruvananthapuram here on Thursday.
Ms. Devi, a vocalist, and Mr. Surendran, a mrudangam artist, have been actively involved in imparting the skills to students. Ms. Devi has inspired and taught a number of students during her career as music instructor at the Department of Music, Swathi Tirunal Music College, Thiruvananthapuram. “My inspiration has been my mother, who gave me basic lessons in music,” she said. The turning point in her life was studying music under Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, C.S. Krishna Iyer, and Parassala B. Ponnammal. She became the first female artist from Kerala to receive an award for coming first in a national-level singing competition organised by the All India Radio in 1958.
Mr. Surendran says he is privileged to play with both the older and younger generation of musicians including Chembai Vaidyanatha Bagavathar and K.J. Yesudas.
He had his first lessons from Mavelikara K. Velukutty Nair and later under Palghat T.S. Mani Iyer for almost eleven years. Mr. Surendran believes that the discipline he imbibed from his gurus helped him in life.