T.V.?Sankaranarayanan, popularly and affectionately known as TVS, was one of the most sought-after and widely acclaimed Carnatic vocalists in the recent past. Hailing from a family of musical geniuses, Sankaranarayanan’s maternal grandfather, Madurai Ramasamy Iyer, was a music scholar, whose brother was the famous Madurai Pushpavanam. Born on 7 March 1945, Sankaranarayanan, at the age of five, had the ability to immediately recognise the pitches of songs. TVS then began learning music from his uncle Madurai Mani Iyer at the age of nine and very soon started teaming up with his father T.S. Vembu Iyer (Madurai Mani Iyer’s sister’s husband), an eminent musician and a disciple of Madurai Mani Iyer. Sankaranarayanan’s mother, Gomati Ammal was also a good singer. Madurai Mani Iyer practised music daily after his pooja, and TVS would sit raptly listening to him. He went on to accompanying him, thereby imbibing the best from the maestro. While studying sixth standard at Mayavaram Municipal High School, Sankaranarayanan won several prizes in Carnatic music competitions. He also made a name for himself by acting in plays. When TVS was in his SSLC, his voice broke, and as one who sang at a higher pitch, was unable to do so. An upset Sankaranarayanan is said to have practised intensely to fix his voice. He sat in the shed on the south side of Mani Iyer’s bungalow and practised. The uncle would listen to Sankaranarayanan’s sadhakam from his room. He would then call and sing the raga and kriti, which TVS sang, and taught him to sing with finesse. From the age of fifteen, TVS sang in concerts with his uncle without a break.
Here is an artist who carries many labels—star performer, rebel, maverick, choreographer, teacher and outspoken advocate for artists’ rights. Considered by many to be brash and blunt, those close to him know him as a caring artist who does not hesitate to call a spade a spade – even at the cost of his own career. Narendra born on 8 October 1965, is the son of S. Prabhamani and H.S. Gundu Rao. The founder-director of Avigna Dance Ensemble was conferred the Aacharya Award in 2011, the titles of Naatya Sevaka in 2018 by Bharata Kalanjali, Mayura Nrithya Saagaram in 2019, the Nartaka award by Natyanjali Trust in 2019 and Narthaka Nipuna by the Association of Bharatanatyam Artists of India (ABHAI) in 2020. He believes that art can reach the common man without any dilution of technique. In this way, an artist remains relevant to contemporary times and can nurture young minds through the power of art. Meet Gundu Rao Narendra (G. Narendra), a Kalakshetra alumnus and consummate artist with more than four decades of experience behind him. Proficient in music, mridangam and nattuvangam, he is an excellent dancer, a fine choreographer and teacher. He has performed extensively in India and abroad, having played lead roles in the productions of Kalakshetra, Bharata Kalanjali, the Cleveland Cultural Alliance and Spanda. Beneath the charming and breezy persona is a thinking and passionate dancer who continues to tread the artistic path on his own terms.
SHUDDHA?SWAROOPAM?— A garland of nine different songs composed by Shuddhananda Bharati and tuned by Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi. Produced and released by Charsur Digital Works. Suddhanada Bharati, the ascetic poet, was given the title of Kavi Yogi Maharishi by the Sringeri pontiff Satchidananda Siva Abhinava Narasimha Bharati. True to that name, he was a kavi who penned 250 works and 1000 songs. These songs range from topics on patriotism, gods, and seers like Ramana Maharishi to the more abstruse philosophy of Nirguna Brahman and the omnipresence of the same. Carnatic musician Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi has picked nine songs from his set of poems and tuned them at the behest of his family members, who wanted to commemorate Swamiji’s 125th birthday. The songs are Suddha swaroopam athuve, Ammaye appa opilla karunaiyai, Etti nirpadum ennaiyya, Dhandayudhapani, Varaado karunai, Ettanayo murayittu, Aadugiraan ennul paadugiraan Kannan, Bhagawan Ramanarai, Athuve parabrahmam. Out of the nine songs, three have been sung by Bombay Jayashri, two by Abhishek Raghuram, Bharat Sundar and Amritha Murali. The album has been produced and released by Charsur Digital Works and is a joint effort along with eight other accompanying artists.
Nrithyodaya, a premium institute for arts and culture, celebrated its 80th anniversary, with a grand three-day festival from 5 to 7 August 2022, at the prestigious Narada Gana Sabha auditorium in Chennai. “80 celebrates 75” was the theme, referring to the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and, adding to the ongoing Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, being celebrated all over India by both the Government of India and all the citizens and various institutions on their own. The three-day commemorative event was a glorious tribute dedicated to its founder, the late K. Subrahmanyam—a freedom fighter, philanthropist, lawyer and film director.
CONTENTS Vol. 29 Issue 10 October 2022
6 Sruti box
8 News & notes
14 Birthday calendar
16 T.V. Sankaranarayanan
26 Gundu Rao Narendra
36 News & notes (continued)
44 Record Rack
46 From the Editor
Cover: T.V. Sankaranarayanan (Photo by Hariharan Sankaran)