Balamuralikrishna’s tryst with Bengaluru began when he was 14

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 him 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.

Balamuralikrishna 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 it to the people on demand,” recalls Mr. 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 an adviser. “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 sing the entire ‘mangala’ in all its stanzas to have the audience hear them all, recalls Hari Krishnan, a musician who has followed Balamurali in 60 concerts in Bengaluru.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 7:19:03 AM |

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