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‘Semmangudi integrated bhakti and music’

The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, presenting the first copy of a book on Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer to Kerala’s Education and Culture Minister M.A. Baby on the occasion of the birth centenary of Srinivasa Iyer in Chennai on Friday. Music Academy President N. Murali is seen at left and Principal Chief Post Master General of Tamil Nadu Circle Indira Krishnakumar at right.

The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, presenting the first copy of a book on Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer to Kerala’s Education and Culture Minister M.A. Baby on the occasion of the birth centenary of Srinivasa Iyer in Chennai on Friday. Music Academy President N. Murali is seen at left and Principal Chief Post Master General of Tamil Nadu Circle Indira Krishnakumar at right.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: V. Ganesan

Special Correspondent

Abdul Kalam appeals for establishing an institution of music at the maestro’s house

CHENNAI: The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, on Friday appealed for establishing an institution of music at the house of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, where he lived his early life.

“Let us complete the task by 2010 and make it useful for researchers, musicians and rasikas,” he said at a function organised on the occasion of the birth centenary of Srinivasa Iyer.

Recalling his student days when he attended Srinivasa Iyer’s concerts during Thiruvaiyaru Thyagaraja festival and later in Chennai music festivals, Mr. Kalam said he enjoyed the unique handling of ragas such as “bhavpriya” and “sriranjani.”

“His musical voice was unique. He maintained an attractive tempo throughout his concert which created unique vibrations in rasikas.”

Srinivasa Iyer, who integrated bhakti and music, would continue to be an inspiration not only for his contribution to music, but also for his spartan life and indomitable spirit to come to top level in music.

Mr. Kalam released a coffee-table book, a commemorative volume authored by V. Subramaniam and V. Sriram.

“He stood like a beacon”

In the welcome address, Music Academy President and chairman of the centenary celebrations committee N. Murali said Srinivasa Iyer was traditionalist to the core and sang with “manodharma.” “He tamed his recalcitrant voice with immense ‘sadhaka’ to suit his style of robust singing. In the days of yore when ‘lakshya’ gained ascendancy over ‘lakshana,’ Semmangudi recognising the value of both, stood like a beacon to strike a happy amalgam of both and sacrifice one for another.”

Mr. Murali said Srinivasa Iyer’s passion for his art was incredible. “His ‘raga alapanas’ had melody written all over them and he was not an advocate of mind-boggling ‘laya’ permutations and combinations. He was quite happy with a simple ‘korvai’ at the end of a gripping bout of ‘sarvalagu swaras.”

Mr. Murali also recalled Srinivasa Iyer’s close association with the Music Academy. “At the age of 39, he was the youngest recipient of the Sangita Kalanidhi award.”

Kerala’s Education and Culture Minister M.A. Baby, who released two CDs containing the recordings of Srinivasa Iyer, promised to make a contribution for the music institution at Srinivasa Iyer’s birth place, as Kerala also owed a great deal to the maestro.

Principal Chief Post Master General, Tamil Nadu Circle, Indira Krishnakumar, released a special cover.

United India Insurance Co. Ltd. chairman G. Srinivasan released the recordings of senior disciples of Srinivasa Iyer and Industrialist C.V. Karthiknarayanan gave an introduction about the coffee-table book.

Madurai T.N.Seshagopalan said he was blessed by Srinivasa Iyer when he was nine years old. V. Subramaniam proposed a vote of thanks.

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