TN Krishnan gets honoured at Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival

This year, the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival travelled from city to city, culminating in Chennai with fond memories and eclectic music

The weary and restless audience began to clap, hoping for the curtains to go up. And when it finally did, 60 minutes after scheduled time, 91-year-old maestro TN Krishnan, in crisp white veshti, jippa and angavastram, was seated on a chair with the violin in his hands.

He greeted the full house at Rasika Ranjani Sabha in Mylapore with a warm, broad smile. As he put the bow to the strings, the sweet, powerful tone that has been drawing people around the world to his music for the past 82 years, filled the hall with unbridled joy.

Having given his violin a melodious voice, the master-instrumentalist treats his performances as a conversation. At the concert, he moved seamlessly between tender and exuberant notes, asserting his technical wizadry.

Starting with a brief alapana in Keeravani, he moved on to play the Tyagaraja composition ‘Kaligiyunte’, accompanied by his daughter Viji Krishnan on the violin. Tiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam on the mridangam and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan on the ghatam with their vibrant beats enlivened the atmosphere. After the popular song ‘Brovabarama’ in Bahudari, the veteran ended with a salute and Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite ‘Raghupati Raghava Rajaram’.

The annual event, Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (LGMF), was started in 1992 by renowned violinist-composer L Subramaniam in memory of his father, an iconic musician. It has toured over 55 countries. This year, it was held at various Indian cities, beginning in New Delhi and culminating in Chennai. The 2020 edition was dedicated to the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma.

After the performance, Krishnan was honoured with the LGMF International Award by Bharatanatyam exponent Vyjayanthimala and N Murali, President, The Music Academy.

Recalling his association with “LS” (as he refered to L Subramaniam), the nonagenarian said, “I have a special affinity for him because we belong to the same musical lineage. I remember seeing him from the days when Subramaniam and his brothers (L Shankar and L Vaidyanathan) would come to learn from my father Narayana Iyer. My father recognised their talent and knew that they will reach great musical heights. It’s the love for the instrument that binds us too. Despite his global musical outings, LS has not forgotten his roots. He called me six months ago for this event, and I am delighted to be here.”

Post the felicitation, it was a pleasant surprise to see L Subramaniam sitting down on the stage to perform a Carnatic kutcheri. He was accompanied by Guru Raghavendra on the mridangam, Tanmoy Bose on the tabla and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan on the ghatam. Beginning with the traditional ‘Mahaganapathim’, Subramaniam was joined during the tillana by slide guitar exponent Debashish Bhattacharya on his newly invented instrument, the pushpa veena.

Though he began his journey with an intense training in Carnatic music, Subramaniam’s open-minded approach led him to the West, where he has worked with the likes of Yehudi Menuhin, Stephane Grappelli, Stevie Wonder, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Herbie Hancock and Billy Cobham.

At the Chennai concert, the violin virtuoso proved that music is not just about kritis or orchestral pieces; it is about tugging at the listeners’ heart strings.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 9:26:56 AM |

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