Krishna Ramarathinam — Finding his roots in music

Krishna Ramarathnam with Srimushnam Raja Rao (mridangam) and V.V. Ravi (violin).

Krishna Ramarathnam with Srimushnam Raja Rao (mridangam) and V.V. Ravi (violin).   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Krishna Ramarathinam, on what it means to be Sathur Subramaniam’s grandson

It is evidently a lifetime’s mission of the Sydney-based musician to propagate the legacy of Sathur A.G. (Angarai Ganesan) Subramaniam, his paternal grandfather. The compositions featured at a recent recital for Kedaram, at the Raga Sudha Hall, Chennai, were, each one of them, favourites with Subramaniam, asserts Krishna Ramarathinam with pride.

Moreover, in a sign of the man’s growing recognition since the 1940s, says Krishna, Sathur came to be prefixed to his grandfather’s name after the popularity of his recitals in the town. A string of performances in Chennai, besides the above venue close to Nageshwara Rao Park, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, are part of the youngster’s decade-long sojourn during the Margazhi music festivities.

When this scribe caught up with him one evening, amid the crowded concert schedule, the computing and management graduate recounted at length his musical trajectory of more than two decades. His formal initiation into Carnatic music at the age of five was by Dr. M.S. Ramanathan, the disciple of Palghat K.V. Narayanaswamy. But prior to that exposure, Krishna began a more casual acquaintance with the Carnatic musical scales as a toddler, as he invariably tagged along with his mother to her regular classes in Sydney, his parents migrated to Australia when he was barely three years.

By the mid teens however, the path ahead seemed increasingly more definitive, thanks to some rigorous learning from Dr. Ramanathan. His frequent trips to Chennai also enabled him to hone his skills with V. Subramaniam, a student of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. Krishna’s tutelage continues under vocalist A.S. Murali, violin maestro Dr. M. Chandrasekharan and the mridangam vidwan Melakaveri K. Balaji.

Over coffee that same evening, not far from the home of his annual India visits in West Mambalam, Krishna also spoke about meeting Mahati, his violinist-wife from New Zealand. Yuva Sangeetha Margam is the offshoot of the couple’s collaborative efforts with fellow-artistes in Sydney. A memory to cherish, says Krishna, was the 2018 Radel Mid-year concert at the Music Academy. A maiden appearance at the Cleaveland Tyagaraja music festival is an aspiration he has been working towards.

Krishna’s recital for Kedaram was notable for his lively presentation of the opening kriti: Purandaradasa’s ‘Jaya jaya jaya janaki kantha,’ in ragam Natta. His choice of Dikshitar’s navagraha kritis, ‘angarakam asrayamyaham,’ in ragam Surati, was perhaps no surprise, given that the performance was on a Tuesday. The rest of the recital focused on the compositions of Tyagaraja — ‘Sangeetha nyanamu’,’ in Dhanyasi and ‘Chala kallaladukonna,’ in Arabhi and ‘E tavunara,’ in Kalyani. V.V. Ravi on the violin, Srimushnam Raja Rao on the mridangam and V. Suresh on the ghatam were the accompanists for the performance.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 11:36:19 AM |

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