Ambujam Krishna


Smt Ambujam Krishna was born on 21st May 1917 as the daughter of KV Ranga Iyengar, a leading advocate of Madurai. Her parents were great lovers of music and it was but natural that she was taught the art. Her tutelage was under Karaikkudi Ganesan and Ganesa Bhagavatar. She was married at a young age to her cousin TS Krishna, pioneering industrialist and son of TV Sundaram Iyengar, the founder of the famed TVS Group of Companies. Post her marriage Ambujam Krishna went to Delhi for furthering her education and graduated from the Lady Irwin College with a degree in Home Science.


In August 1951, she happened to visit the Samadhi of Tyagaraja at Tiruvayyaru and while there became inspired to compose songs. Her first kriti was Unnai allAl on Goddess Meenakshi, patron Goddess of her own home town. Later she began composing songs in several languages such as Telugu, Kannada, Sanskrit, Hindi and Tamizh. Somewhat hesitantly she made bold to show her creations to her husband who immediately suggested that she consult Musiri Subramania Iyer about their quality.


Musiri was much impressed with their lyrical content and praised them. He then offered to set them to music. While Smt Krishna had sung the songs to herself in tunes that occurred to her, she was most happy that these were to be set to tune by a renowned musician. Later she was to have her songs tuned by several leading vidwans and vidushis such as Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, VV Sadagopan, Sattur AG Subramaniam, Madurai Krishnan, Dr S Ramanathan, KC Tyagarajan, KR Kedaranathan, TN Seshagopalan, R Vedavalli, Ananthalakshmi Sadagopan and Charumati Ramachandran.


True to her sense of total surrender, Smt Krishna did not use a mudra and also did not attempt at giving any publicity to her works. But the excellence of the lyrics soon made them well known. Today several of her songs continue to be set to music and have become integral components of the concert platform. Her songs were sung and released as cassettes by several well known artistes. Smt Krishna also composed Radha Madhavam and Krishna Leela Madhuryam, two operas for which music was set by KR Kedaranathan.


Dismayed by the lack of facilities for learning music in Madurai, Smt Krishna began the Sadguru Sangeeta Vidyalaya with well know musician Ramanathapuram CS Sankarasivam as its head. She went from house to house encouraging parents to send their children to the music school. Her efforts bore fruit and today the institution is a flourishing college. Smt Krishna also provided Madurai with its first auditorium where music could be heard in comfort. The Lakshmi Sundaram Hall, named after her mother in law, was entirely her  creation.


Leading a life of simplicity, Smt Krishna devoted her time to composing and her songs were compiled and released in four volumes titled the Gitamala. Several songs still exist in manuscript form. Smt Krishna passed away on 20th October 1989, having led a life of complete artistic fulfillment.