By Dr RS Jayalakshmi assisted by Pichumani student Raman
Prayer was a song in Kalyani in praise of Veena – lyrics by R Satyanarayana and music by S Balachander
Born on 17/5/20 learnt from GOPALA Iyer & Tinniyam Venkataraman Iyer. Later joined Annamalai in 1938. A rare example of a performer who was a product from a university. Learnt from Tiger, VS Gomathisankara Iyer and others.
1943 brought to madras by director K Subrahmanyam. Later worked at AVM for 16 years. Veda Ulagam, Penn are some films in which he worked. Became friends there with S Balachander and this lasted for long. Played for many films particularly in films where Veena music was given importance. Later came to become a professional musician.
Malai pozhudin of P Suseela in which his Veena can be heard was played
Gave several 78 rpms and LPs. Played violin Veena Venu with Lalgudi G Jayaraman and flute N Ramani. Was A top with AIR. Performed abroad.Began giving lecdems at Academy in 1976. In 1985 demonstrated first fibre glass Veena made by SB with UKS on mridangam at Sastry Hall
Awards – Kalaimamani, Sangeeta Kala Nipuna, TTK award, SNA,
Was General Secy of Thiruvayyaru for a year.
Was generous to have got Chitti Babu his first performance at SRI Parthasarathy Swami Sabha
Gave the first S Balachander memorial concert.
Exemplar as a teacher. Would write notation painstakingly for everyone in beginning stages. This would be a work from memory and not from a book. One to one teaching only. Would teach gamakas even in sarali stage. Would play and sing to demonstrate. Though he stammered in speech, he never did so while singing. Was patient as guru. Would teach depending on standards of student. But would not compromise on standards. Was transparently honest. Would perform manOdharma music and demonstrate but never write it down or get people to learn by rote.
His style was gayaki in nature and be traditional. His mITTu was soft and SB himself commended him on this. The raga had to be identified within 30 secs. Kalpana swaras and tanam would be played by tapping on strings. This was a speciality. Limited oscillations. Played using splayed finger technique.
Died at 96, blind and deaf at yet performed exquisite Bhairavi a few months before passing.
He performed plenty of rtps.
Tanam was demonstrated – a recording that he played at 91
Composed 3 jatiswarams, 1 varnam, 3 tillanas and tuned 1 kriti in rEvati rAga.
nATakuranji piece uses structure similar to khamAs svarajati
Kathanakuthuhalam, malayamArutam are the ragas for other two pieces
Demonstrated the rEvati Kriti. vEnkaTagiri nAthA caraNam – the sangatis for Giri go up while those for caraNam come down – so much attention for sAhityam
Tillanas in brndAvana sAranga, vasanta kaishiki (vasanta with kaishiki ni, and he gave the name) and hamIr KalyANi
All pieces are such that Veena students acquire a sense of rhythm by performing them.
Played recording of brndAvana sAranga
Sanjay recalled how the 1940s was a golden period for music. He identified his guru in a group pic that was shown. He also recalled the similarity in styles between his guru and Pichumani in teaching. They were good friends. The economy of gamakas was a common feature. The tapping for tanam was a feature seen in some others such as Chowdiah and MSG. All gurus need to compose jatiswarams so that students get variety in learning.
Both Pappu and Sanjay spoke in praise of RSJ as a scholar and her in depth research