Anuradha Krishnamurthy: A life devoted to music

Vocalist Anuradha Krishnamoorthy. Photo: R.M Rajarathinam   | Photo Credit: R_M_RAJARATHINAM

Be it dinner with family or playing with friends, her thoughts never strayed from music. At dinner, it was time to discuss the nuances of music with her parents. At school, she would come a cropper at ‘hide-and-seek’, as her humming of ‘ragas’ led to her easy identification. It is this commitment which has seen her emerge as a successful musician today.

Anuradha is among the proud disciples belonging to the lineage of the legendary saint, composer-musician, Sadguru Tyagaraja Swamigal. "I am the sixth generation among the disciples of the Sadguru. The history can be traced from Manambuchavady Venkata Subbiar, Patnam Subramanya Iyer, Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar; Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar to K.V.Narayanaswamy, my father," she says.

She admits that she did not make her debut as a prodigy, but developed her talents over time through constant discussions and inputs from her parents.

“Even while cooking, my mother would render an ’alapana’ and explain a point. At times, it would be my father’s turn to explain the speciality of a specific ‘ragam’, including the complicated ‘sangatis’ in it,” she explains.

She would rush back home from school at 3.30 p.m. in eager anticipation of her mother’s music class. “If I was late, I would have to miss the ‘varnam’ or the ‘charanam’ component; but I ensured that I was on time every day,” she says.

Her arduous practice for about seven hours daily (spread over different sessions throughout the day) gave her the confidence and strength to master even ghana ragams with ease.

Anuradha Krishnamurthy has a special word of praise for the students of the Government Music Schools. "Their selection of the course, by itself, indicate their aptitude for music. They have not chosen the field under any duress, or because of denial of admission to any other course."

She then renders a 'tillana' composed by Papanasam Sivan. "Every beginner in music should be familiar with this tillana set to Bihath ragam."

Anuradha stresses the importance of taking lessons from past exponents of the art, dismissing the recent trend of heavy improvisation as futile.

To explain this point, Anuradha cited clarinet maestro A.K.C. Natarajan’s work on 'Bhavayami raguramam'. "Three decades ago, Mr. A.K.C. just modified the 'tisram', which made his work more popular. But he did not touch the structure or the swaram," she says.

Before attempting to introduce any innovation, a musician should ascertain whether the flavour of the original composition would be disturbed in any manner. More importantly, musicians who adopt an innovation should think twice whether their innovation was consistent with their mentor’s principles.

"The question whether my mentor would sanction this new style should be upper-most in the mind of every vocalist bent on innovation," she says.

Devotion to the mentor or 'Guru bakti' should be the primary goal of every music student. "The devotion to the mentor will do wonders. The mentor may not be fully aware of certain nuances of music, but he would derive divine grace to teach the nuances to his pupils - one of the wonders of ’guru bhakti’ concept," she says.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 9:26:51 AM |

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