Balamuralikrishna (1930-2016): An Ode to a maestro

Balamuralikrishna was the first to use an electronic tambura

“It looks like I am more your salesman and promoter,” veteran musician Balamuralikrishna had said with his signature hearty laugh to G. Raj Narayan of Radel Electronics, the pioneer of electronic tambura in Bengaluru. This was in 1979 when the electronic tambura was new. Balamuralikrishna was one of the first to take to it instantly, when traditionalists were still very sceptical.

Mr. Narayan, a graduate in electrical engineering who quit HAL later to start Radel, says he had a generous invitation from Balamuralikrishna to sell his new innovation outside concert halls where he performed. “There would anyway be a live demonstration on the dais,” he had said.

“When I first demonstrated the electronic tambura at The Music Academy in 1979, he was sitting in the front row. After the demonstration, he drove me to his home and saw the instrument in detail. He started operating it as he sang along,” recalls Mr. Narayan. He purchased and started using it. “It is simple, almost real and absolutely practical for travel”, he had said.

Mr. Narayan gradually started showing the tambura to others. That Balamuralikrishna had first used it made many go for it, he says.

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Printable version | May 3, 2021 4:47:12 AM |

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