Balamurali’s love for Bengaluru was born when he was 14

Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna

Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna  

Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, who passed away on Tuesday, was a musician of international repute, but his love for the Bengaluru audience was special.

“I find the mindset of the audience in Bengaluru broad and open to new experiments,” the maestro had said when he rendered for the first time the raga Lavangi (with four notes) at the Rama Bhaktha Bahjana Sabha here in the 1980s.

S. V. Narayanaswamy Rao, founder of the Ramaseva Mandali in Chamarajpet, had managed to get Balamurali as a 14-year-old to perform here. “My father was attracted to the fact that the young boy had already come out with his ‘kritis’ on the 72-melakarta ragas. He was at our 6th Mandali Ramanavami special in 1944,” says S.N. Varadaraj of the mandali.

He visited the city numerous times later. But what remains etched in every Bengaluruean’s memory is his 1980 concert for the mandali at Sharada Grounds that attracted a 14,000-strong audience, a historic turnout, according to music lovers and mandali people here.

“Nobody can forget this concert as we had done 7,500 copies of the recording and distributed to the people on demand,” recalls Varadaraj, adding that this recording is of great heritage value as he demonstrated the raga Vakulavarnam with all its intricacies as composed by Tyagaraja. He always sang ‘dasa padas’ when in Bengaluru, particularly ‘Satyavantarigidu kalavalla’ and ‘Ee pariya sobagu’, saying it was relevant for all ages.

It was Balamuralikrishna’s love for Bengaluru that had quite often seen him become a teacher and advisor. “Don’t get up during the ‘tani-avartha’ (the percussive session) or the ‘mangala’ song at the end,” he would often say. He had the ‘tani-avartha’ after a break to have the audiences back or sang the entire ‘mangala’ in all its stanzas to have the audience hear them all, recalls Hari Krishnan, a classical musician who has followed Balamurali in 60 concerts in Bengaluru.

Link to Kannada Movies

Bengaluru: Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna’s intrinsic association with Bengaluru is unforgettable say musicians and organisers. But forBalamurali himself Bengaluru had meant a lot. “My link with Kannada movies too started with G.V. Iyer’s ‘Hamsageethe’ which was one of the finest,” Balamurali had once told this reporter breaking into “Priye Charusheele” the song that had captured audiences and classical lovers. “I used to hum the song quite often after the movie was made in 1975,” the maestro had said. And when it came to Sandhya Raga, another of the films he had enjoyed singing for, Balamurali said, “CAN WE ever get back those tracks and days and emotion in moviesongs?”

But that was not all. One after the other G.V. Iyer had Balamurali Krishna in all his forthcoming movies as a music director. After ‘Hamsageethe’ it was Adi Shankaracharya (1983), Madhvacharya (1986), Bhagavad Gita, (1993), Ramanujacharya (1989). BAlamuralieven went on to sing for Muttina Haara (1990) and the song “Devaru Hoseda Premada Daara’ was somehting that music directorHamsalekha had got him to record in a single take. “That was a memorable recording,” says Hamsalekha. “SOme of his improvisations were immediate, as the song was being recorded,” he said.


“Balamuralikrishna and I met in Chennai nearly 15 years ago when I accompanied him at the concert. He had told me that I was the first woman morsing player he had met in his long musical career,” Morsing artiste Bhagyalakshmi M. Krishna

“It was maestros as progressive and broad-minded as Balamurali who helped us get on to the stage more often, as women percussion instrument players were few and far between,” Sukanya Ramgopal, ghata artiste

“My father had once told me that Balamuralikrishna held a lot of respect for the token Rs. 20 that is given to artistes while booking them for concerts. Once in 1980, when he did not receive it, he demanded for it as he treated it as Rama prasada,” S.N. Varadaraj, general secretary, Ramaseva Mandali

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 5:05:11 AM |

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