FRIDAY REVIEW

Unfinished agenda

For the past 50 years, I have been observing the relentless struggle of maestro T.V. Gopalakrishnan for universal recognition for his amazingly diverse accomplishments.

The dimensions of TVG's music must be viewed in technical terms, and also from aesthetic and moral perspectives.

A doyen of Carnatic music, he is accomplished in the Hindustani style and has experimented with fusion music that incorporates Jazz.

On the Carnatic concert platform, his twin image is that of a vocalist and percussionist (mridangam). Apart from that, he uses his mastery over string, wind and percussion instruments as a many-sided Guru.

Carnatic music, rooted in spirituality, has a prevailing concert pattern that evolved during the first half of the 20th century when the rasikas and critics were largely conservative. In their perception, an artist who played more than one role would not excel in any.

TVG was a well-known mridangam player by the time he embarked on his adventure as a singer, which made critics and rasikas question his credentials as a vocalist for a long time - although, he proved himself.

Similar were the negative reactions attracted by his subsequent excursions into Hindustani music as a vocalist. Actually, such experiences enhanced the quality of his music as it enabled him to achieve a rapport with the vocalist when playing the mridangam, and with the accompanying instrumentalists when singing. This also helped other artists to shine.

It is this attitude of give-and-take, which has ensured TVG's moral status as a musicians' musician. And it is a measure of his absolute consistency as an excellent performer that he did, in due course, gain universal admiration for his many-splendoured music. Although, The Music Academy, Chennai, has taken its own time to confer on him the title of Sangita Kalanidhi.

For Carnatic musicians, the title is like conquering Mount Everest. But for TVG, it is only Mount Kangchenjunga, as his major contribution to Indian classical music is yet to materialise.

He introduces Carnatic elements in Hindustani music whenever he performs in that mode. What he is still to accomplish in this context is to pass on this unique skill to other Hindustani musicians and establish an unprecedented and spectacular style of singing Hindustani music with distinct southern colours.

There have been many Sangita Kalanidhis before TVG, and there will be many more after him; but he's probably the only musician we know who can add Carnatic flavours to Hindustani music!

M.V. Ramakrishnan



The title

Vidwan T.V. Gopalakrishnan will be conferred the Sangita Kalanidhi at the Music Academy, Chennai, on January 1, 2015, 5 p.m.



His attitude of give-and-take has ensured TVG's moral status as a musicians' musician.





The title

Vidwan T.V. Gopalakrishnan will be conferred the Sangita Kalanidhi at the Sadas of The Music Academy, Chennai, on January 1, 2015, 5 p.m.