Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Musings on S Kalyanaraman

Yesterday was the birth anniversary of Tanjore S Kalyanarman. The disciples of this great man had got together a function on the occasion and also released an 85 minute documentary on him. I was fortunate to be invited to be a part of this documentary and I had enjoyed the whole experience of talking about one of the finest artistes of carnatic music.

SKR was a fascinating musician who's fame and popularity seem to be increasing even more after his death in 1994. His tapes today are some of the most sought after much like those of Ramnad Krishnan in the late eighties when I was going around trying to source music for listening. Personally I had the satisfaction of spending a terrific morning with him in his house discussing and talking music. Even though I could have heard a lot of his concerts live, and I did hear about 10-15 concerts, I must confess that I was too young, immature and uninterested in his music until much later when I joined my Guru Shri KSK.

A lot of my personal musings are found in the documentary and I am not penning them down today except to say, that if you like SKR then this documentary is a must. They did show a 23 minute teaser and it has some fascinating interviews and the most honest and surprising one for me was by Dr Balamuralikrishna who expressed his admiration for SKR in an unabashed and true fashion. Another great artiste who recognized a true peer!

In the function yesterday I was sitting next to Shri Chingleput Ranganathan and as they were playing the documentary he told me "Kalyanaraman and me used to get up early in the morning and go to the Marina beach every morning to practice together. We always got back home before sunrise!" And we did this for almost 3 years regularly." I remember almost 20 years back when Shri Ranganathan was still employed in the AIR. I had gone to submit my contract for a program I was due to give the next week. I was also having an argument with the programme executive about how I did not want to give a list of songs in advance. Shri Ranganathan was listening to this and quietly came up to me and thundered, " Do you know that even such great artistes like S Kalyanaraman give their song lists in advance? What about you?"!!!
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