A. Kanyakumari - Wedded to music
Kanyakumari is a name associated with fame and unswerving focus to a cause. It conjures up images of the virgin goddess standing in eternal meditation on the southern tip of India. It is also the name of the versatile violinist selected to receive the Sangita Kalanidhi award from the Madras Music Academy. Music is meditation—not a pastime, but a passion for this lady wielding the bow on the four strings. She is an acclaimed accompanist, soloist, teacher, organiser and innovator who thinks out of the box yet retains the core values of classicism.
Avasarala Kanyakumari was born on 31 December 1952 to Avasarala Ramaratnam and Jayalakshmi at Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh. Her mother was a veena artist at All India Radio, and the parents encouraged Kanya and her sisters to learn music. The young girl made her violin debut as an accompanist and a soloist about 50 years ago. The family shifted to Chennai in 1969.
Rudrapatnam Brothers - 60 years of traditional music
The Rudrapatnam Brothers in conversation with Vivek Sadasivam
The Rudrapatnam Brothers—R.N. Thyagarajan and R.N. Tharanathan—are probably the only duet-brothers to have successfully performed together for 60 years. They belong to a musical family which holds the unique distinction of having six A-Top performers, and four Sangeet Natak Akademi awardees. Thyagarajan was born on 15 July 1943, and Tharanathan on 11 November 1946 in Hassan, Karnataka. They received their initial training in music from their father R.K. Narayanaswamy, and later from R.K. Venkatarama Sastry. The duo, who made their debut in 1956 in Mysore, have had a successful musical journey. They have won several prizes including competitions organised by AIR, and the Best Concert Award at the Music Academy, Madras in 1981. They are known to uphold the classicism of Carnatic music in their concerts.
The brothers have participated in many prestigious music festivals, seminars and conferences in India and abroad, and have published many articles on Carnatic music. They have been associated with several institutions as selection committee members of the Music Audition Board, All India Radio, New Delhi; and the local audition board of All India Radio, Bengaluru. They are Top-grade artists of All India Radio and Doordarshan, and have many music albums to their credit. They have toured the U.S.A., Dubai, the UK, Singapore and Malaysia to name a few countries.
Rama Kausalya - Transforming young lives through art
Rama Kausalya in conversation with Sukanya Sankar
Dr. Rama Kausalya, set to receive the Musicologist Award from the Music Academy, Madras this season, is a musician, teacher, musicologist and propagator of culture and traditional values. A model of selflessness, she devotes all her time to inspire and transform lives in rural Tanjavur through music and other arts. She hails from Tillaisthanam, near Tiruvaiyaru, a village known for its music and musical lineage. Kausalya’s grandmother was a disciple of Panchu Bhagavatar—along with Narasimha Bhagavatar, one of the Tillaisthanam Brothers, who were Tillaisthanam Rama Iyengar’s prime sishyas.
Born to N. Ramachandran and Rukmini on 28 May 1949, Kausalya belongs to the Jatavallabhar family of Tillaisthanam. From her childhood she has been a voracious reader and equally interested in the theory and practice of music, leading to her becoming a musicologist. A scholar par excellence, she propagates music holistically through her Marabu Foundation, which aims to promote peace and harmony through the fine arts, literature and traditional arts. Conducting workshops and classes free of cost, she has through her foundation, shattered the barriers associated with caste in her hometown.
Season 2016-17 - Sabhas honour artists
Nirupama and Rajendra
The dancing couple Nirupama and Rajendra have been trained in Kathak and choreography by renowned gurus Maya Rao, Kumudini Lakhia, Arjun Misra and Nahid Siddiqui of Pakistan.
Nirupama is trained in Bharatanatyam under guru Narmada and has received additional training from guru Kalanidhi Narayanan and Sundari Santhanam. She now is under the tutelage of Padma Subrahmanyam.
Nirupama and Rajendra founded Abhinava Dance Company in 1994 and have organised productions integrating traditional Indian classical dance and music with global art forms. They have been given many awards including Karnataka Kalashree, Natya Praveena (Rajendra), and Natya Mayuri (Nirupama), among other titles.