A life in music

Kanjira player B.S. Purushothaman in concert  

He is a most sought after and popular Kanjira artiste. He has accompanied most of the senior as well younger artistes of the present generation. Recently, he was awarded the “Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar” for 2008 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. A youth icon in the sphere of ‘uppapakkavaadyam', B.S. Purushotham is a disciple of mridanga vidwan late Bengalooru M. L. Veerabhadraiah, his son Bengalooru V. Praveen and Sangitha Kalanidhi T. K Murthy.

Recipient of numerous awards from prestigious organisations across the country, Purushotham has played along with world famous percussionists and has been collaborating with well-known classical pianist Anil Srinivasan and vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan in their recordings and concerts. Experts from an interview: .

On his choice of khanjira

Taking up kanjira wasn't my choice. It happened just like that. I was actually learning mridangam from Vidwan Bengalooru M. L. Veerabhadraiah. Once during the mridangam class, my guru asked me to pick up a kanjira which he had and asked me to play. I played it very casually. He probably noticed something when I played. He started giving me lot of tips as to how to handle it and soon asked me to provide kanjira support in the concerts in which he played mridangam.

At that time, I had already provided mridangam accompaniment for concerts organised by sabhas in and around Bengalooru. One such important accompaniment was for Vidwan Honnapa Bhagavatar, a very senior musician and a famous actor-singer of those days. This was in the year 1986 and that was the real starting point of my playing the khanjira.

On his musical journey

It has been a wonderful musical journey with the grace of God, blessings of my gurus, parents, friends, well-wishers and support of my family members. I want to dedicate my entire life to this divine art form, to which I was initiated by my beloved father, late B. Seetharam, who made sure that I go through an intensive and vigorous learning process.

This included compulsory listening to the one hour “Arangisai” programme on AIR Chennai every morning and then after some time when I started playing in concerts, I was asked to play at home simultaneously while these concerts were being broadcast. I am very fortunate and blessed to be in this profession and do not have any regrets choosing this field of art.

On the role and importance of uppapakavaadyam (like kanjira, ghatam, etc.) in a concert

The role of uppapakavaadayam is as important as any accompaniment in any concert. I am equally responsible for embellishing the music of the main artiste and contribute to the success of the concert. No words can describe how much I enjoy doing this. I feel I am blessed to be a kanjira artiste. When the main artiste sings or plays a composition, I get into the mood of that composition, watch carefully the kalapramanam (tempo) and importantly see how it is being presented by that particular vocalist or the instrumentalist.

Wherever I can, I try to musically embellish. But sometimes being silent at one particular sangati itself is embellishment. It is often said that the hallmark of a great vidwan is to know first where not to play rather than where to play.

His message to youngsters pursuing percussion instruments

Learn directly from a guru and not through tapes, CDs, downloads, etc. There is nothing like the personal guidance and touch when you are learning from a guru . One should learn with utmost dedication and passion and also enjoy what one is doing.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 4:31:48 AM |

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