Alangudi Ramachandran

Born in Koduntarapalli, Kerala, Alangudi Ramachandran, was an exponent of the Ghatam who added quality to its playing style and practice. Exhibiting a keen interest in the art of percussion at a very young age, he learnt from Gurus Kuttalam Kuppuswami Pillai, Kuttalam Sivavadivelu Pillai and Needamangalam Meenakshisundaram Pillai.

His father Krishna Iyer settled down at Alangudi, often walked a few miles to listen to radio concerts at Terezhundur town. Fascinated by the tavil prowess of Meenakshisundaram Pillai, he took up a job in a restaurant at Needamangalam to facilitate his joining him as a student. It was Pillai who persuaded him to take to the ghatam. Ramachandran later took lessons from Mridanga vidwan Mayavaram Kuppuswami Pillai.

His maiden concert for Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar made him his favourite and assured him a regular role in his catcheris.The accurate and intricate patterns that he produced carried a rich timbre like that of hitting with steel on a Manamadurai ghatam.He was known for composing apt korvais which included in it the correct spacing for tossing the ghatam to get a dramatic effect.

His concert with MS Subbulakshmi for Music Academy, in 1947, became the first to feature the upa pakkavadyam which until then was considered not necessary for Carnatic performances.He accompanied many greats like Chembai, T Chowdiah,TR Mali, GNB and Madura Mani Iyer, MS Subbulakshmi, DK Jayaraman,TV Sankaranarayanan and popular musicians KB Sundarambal and MK Tyagaraja Bhagavatar.

He died in harness, on stage in a catcheri with DK Jayaraman in Bombay Shanmukhananda Hall on June 22, 1975.

Top