As I write this tribute for a complete artist, I recall to memory those several mornings and evenings that I spent with her in her 10th floor Kolkata apartment. The memorable repast announced the return of the remarkable dancer Amala Shankar, whose eyes shone with clear brightness even at 94. Amala Shankar passed away on 24 July 2020, peacefully at the age of 101. Whenever we met, she often mentioned, “To me there is nothing called death”. She was a fine artist who achieved beauty through the grace of simple lines, and elegance of proportion. She lived a life that began as a roller-coaster ride and went on to achieve success, fame and above all reverence, ending with several enviable distinctions.
Amala Shankar, T.N. Krishnan, P.S. Narayanaswamy, S. Natarajan and Sobha Naidu
- Issue 436
- Published By Sruti
Puliyur Subramaniam Narayanaswamy, eminent Carnatic vocalist and much sought after guru. Born 24 February 1934, died 16 October 2020. With the passing away of Sangita Kala Acharya P.S. Narayanaswamy, the music fraternity has lost one of its most valuable gems. Truly he was a great acharya in many respects, and in his role as a teacher he has trained many disciples and helped them to advance in their musical career. He was always willing to share his knowledge with others. I have heard many musicians talk about his pathantara suddham and accurate notation. The students and aspiring musicians who had studied with him and received his guidance and blessings are very fortunate indeed.
Violin maestro Trippunithura Narayana Iyer Krishnan was born on 6 October 1928 and passed away on 2 November 2020 in Chennai. It was providence that brought me into the wondrous and most cherished orbit of violin maestro T.N. Krishnan Sir. It happened exactly 25 years ago. I was a young girl, a novice violin student in Mumbai. At the suggestion of a close family friend, my mother and I proceeded to meet TNK Sir at NCPA, where he had a visiting professorship. I was too young and clueless to realise that, at that very moment, I had found the purpose in my life as a violinist. Upon entering NCPA’s campus, we were taken to Sir’s workshop where I walked into a room brimming with eager eyes and ears, all tuned to a welcoming soft face and a distinguished aura. I was one among many, but his charisma was disarming and personalised to every single person. The violin sat on him like the perfect head jewel of a crown.
Besides playing as a duo, both of you have been accompanists too. What is it to accompany vocalists and other instrumentalists on stage? (Vijayalakshmi continues to provide accompaniment in concerts, Krishnan stopped a long while ago.) Krishnan : On the occasion of Vinayaka Chaturthi I accompanied Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer in 1988 at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, and T.N. Seshagopalan in another concert. I have accompanied N. Ramani, Mandolin U. Shrinivas, D.K. Jayaraman, Voleti Venkateswarlu, and S. Ramanathan, besides other eminent artists. When I stopped accompanying, Semmangudi remarked humorously, “Your Appa divorced me, now you too have done so!” There came a time when I had to make a choice between continuing as an accompanist and being a solo artist. The more I accompanied, the more I was viewed as one, and lesser were the chances of being taken seriously as a soloist. Several violinists were emerging as accompanying artists.
6 Sruti box
8 Birthday calendar
10 Amala Shankar
16 P.S. Narayanaswamy
20 T.N. Krishnan
24 Melattur S. Natarajan
27 Sobha Naidu
30 The Lalgudi Siblings (part 2)
38 Analysis v Majestic sweep of folk music (part 2)
43 Record Rack
44 S. Rajam’s paintings v Saptaswara devata: Dha
46 From the Editor
Front Cover: Amala Shankar (photo courtesy: Amala Shankar’s collection),
(photo by Akira Io),
S. Natarajan and Sobha Naidu