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Rich tributes to a musical genius

Special Correspondent
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Note of respect:Disciples of musician P.K. Sankaranarayanan (playing the harmonium) singing with him at Thali Brahmna Sabha Hall in Kozhikode on Tuesday as part of his ‘Sapthathi' celebrations.—Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup
Note of respect:Disciples of musician P.K. Sankaranarayanan (playing the harmonium) singing with him at Thali Brahmna Sabha Hall in Kozhikode on Tuesday as part of his ‘Sapthathi' celebrations.—Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

For P.K. Sankaranarayanan, who has spent the best part of his life as a bank employee, it was a touching gesture. His disciples and fans came together on Tuesday for a day-long programme at Brahma Samooham Hall here to pay rich tributes to their music teacher. The occasion also coincided with his ‘sapthati (70th birthday) celebrations.

Sankaranarayanan is an accomplished music teacher and composer who stayed away from limelight but earned the respect of all those who had come into contact with his musical talents. Born in a family of musicians in 1941, he is revered as a versatile musician with expertise in various styles of Indian music.

He has proved his mettle in Carnatic music, Hindustani light music, devotional music, folk music, Hindustani ‘bhajans', Marathi abangs and ghazals.

“Sankaranarayanan's greatness as a musician and music teacher has gone unsung. What makes him unique is the way he has used some rarely used ragas in his compositions,” Noted musician K. Omanakutty said. Prof. Omanakutty and Mavelikkara P. Subramaniam, noted Carnatic vocalist, believe his “thillana in “Sindhuramakriya” bears the stamp of a genius.

He has written several ‘kritis' and has composed songs based on Carnatic and Hindustani ragas. His composition of a ‘Sapta Raga Malika' in Hindustani music has won much critical acclaim. Among his popular songs is a ghazal, “Chandini raath hain…”

Sanakaranayan has to his credit a number of albums, of which his favourites are ‘Bhagavathy Kadaksham' and ‘Saranam Saranam Bhagavane' rendered by Unni Menon. He has also composed music for many plays, including the award-winning play “Unarunna Sarangi.”

Sankaranarayanan had his early lessons in music from his mother and he later trained under veterans such as Karamana Srivasa Iyer, Kozhikode Viswanathan Iyer, Ramanathapuram Sri Venkitachalam, G.S. Sreekrishnan, and noted music director K. Raghavan.

He now conducts classes on Carnatic and Hindustani music from his residence in Anakulam Road.

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