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T. M. Krishna: Brimming with confidence

T. M. Krishna

T. M. Krishna  

Quite young in age T. M. Krishna has made a great leap in the profession. The bhani that he has acquired from his guru will stand him in good stead to develop further.

"For how many years have you been learning music?"

"For about 14 years. I started when I was six. My guru B. Sitarama Sarma was teaching music to my mother and I must say the atmosphere at home has influenced my progress."

"Has Sitarama Sarma been your guru from the beginning. Or, did your mother start you on the fundamentals — sarali, alankaram, geetham, etc."

"There was no necessity for my mother to take on the role of a teacher when my guru was coming to our house regularly. Sitarama Sarma launched me on this career from the beginning."

"What was the method of his teaching?" "He will sing the sarali and other beginner's lessons. I will repeat them. Normally he used to make me sit and learn for two or three hours whenever he came to our house."

"Your mother was there to correct you in the absence of your guru. How long did it take you to complete the beginner's course."

"Roughly two to three years."

"Besides what you learnt from Sitarama Sarma, did you have any opportunity to keep in touch with Carnatic music?"

"My mother and my guru started an organisation called Kalapeetam for imparting lessons in music, dance, veena, mridangam. It is affiliated to the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya of Delhi. Kalapeetam gives diplomas on the lines of the Delhi institution."

"But even there you would be listening only to your guru and mother."

"Other vidwans were invited to impart their knowledge to the students. For instance Nedanuri Krishnamurthy was there for sometime. He stayed with us. During those days I used to have discussions with him on music. He would demonstrate some finer aspects of Carnatic music. He once sang many songs in the same raga to point out how each vaggeyakara has enriched the songs in his own way. He would also emphasise that to sing a raga well, a number of songs in that raga must be learnt. Because unconsciously all the great sangatis that the vaggeyakars have introduced in the kirtanas would get reflected in a raga alapana. That is a truth which I have come to realise as I am gaining experience year after year."

"If you had acted up to Nedanuri's advice you must be knowing many kirtanas?"

"I have a fairly good repertoire. I know more of Mysore Vasudevachar's compositions because for sometime my guru served in Kalakshetra when Vasudevachar was there. He has imparted many of the veteran's kirtanas. Calcutta K. S. Krishnamurthy had lent his services to Kalapeetam. I used to learn from him too. These experiences have really done me good to get an insight into the finer aspects of music."

"But kritis alone would not be sufficient. Have you learnt pallavis? Nowadays artistes of your age group are showing enormous interest in displaying intricate pallavis."

"I attended a pallavi workshop conducted by Chingleput Ranganathan. It was very informative and educative. But, I can say with all humility that after 14 years of regular siksha, I can absorb new ideas on my own and make it part of my musical equipment. Of course, my guru is there to clear my doubts. Still I am learning from Sitarama Sarma."

"You said you are sufficiently mature enough musically to integrate into your style anything you find of being useful to your purpose. What exactly do you want to convey?"

"I am a member of the Youth Association for Classical Music. We often meet to discuss and exchange views. Not discussion alone. Supposing I had sung a raga in a concert. At the next meeting or even informally over the telephone or occasional meeting a member of YACM would point out the deficiencies in my recital or give a suggestion that if I had handled it differently it would have had a better impact. Such criticism and suggestions in a friendly give-and-take attitude have a very healthy influence. Almost all the members are performing artistes like me and so their views necessarily carry weight. Sometimes experimental methods are also tried with each member demonstrating his line of thought."

"That is fine. Knowledge definitely improves with such open discussion among equals. I suppose like all others of your age group efforts to understand the techniques of old vidwans are only through tapes."

"Yes. I have a large collection. I hear them often and try to understand what particular component in their music contributed to the elevating stature of the art."

"As many old time listeners used to say cassettes are poor substitutes for judging the eminence of those vidwans. Tapes hardly recapture the atmosphere of a live concert."

"I also feel likewise. But what can we do? I have to make do with whatever is available. I have heard tape music of Ariyakudi where he has sung 'Seshachala Nayakam', 'Sri Subramanyaya Namaste' and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer's 'Chakkani Raja Margamu' and 'Ksheenamai' for instance. After hearing them, I realise how much distance I have to traverse in my career. I am striving my best."

"How many hours of sadhakam you have daily."

T. M. Krishna had a hearty laugh before saying "My sadhakam hours are 9 p.m. to 12 midnight. Luckily my neighbours do not raise any objection."

"Old timers would say early morning hours are the most ideal time for vocal practice." He smiled.

"When was your first performance?"

"In 1992, when I was 16. I was given a chance by the Music Academy in its December festival to sing at the noon slot. Since then I have been getting opportunities from Mylapore Fine Arts Club, Narada Gana Sabha, Krishna Gana Sabha and other important institutions."

"You said you constantly hear cassettes. Have you been influenced by any particular style?"

"Not exactly. I strive to build on my own integrating whatever good points I find in the music from the cassettes."

"Do you have any plans to take up a job or try your luck in music."

"So far I have no inclination to take up a job though I am helping my brother in the advertising agency he is running. I cannot say anything with certainty about my future. At present my interest is fully in music."

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 11:59:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/archive/t-m-krishna-brimming-with-confidence/article30470569.ece

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