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B Sivakumar | TNN | Balamuralikrishna, veteran Carnatic musician,TOI, Nov 22, 2016
- He was well-versed in Carnatic vocal music, viola and violin.
- He was a recipient of all three Padma awards — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
Born in Sankaraguptam in Andhra Pradesh, Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna started singing at the age of six. He was a master of Carnatic and Hindustani vocal music and played musical instruments like the viola, the violin and the mridangam. He had composed music and acted in some movies, including Bhakta Prahlada.
He composed several thillanans, kirits and varnams. He revived old ragas like Narthak and Sunadavinodini and created new ragas like Lavangi, Mahathi, Manorama, Murali, Omkari, Prathimadhyamavathi, Rohini, Saravashree, Sumukham, Sushma, Ganapathi, Siddhi and Pushkara Godvari.
Balamuralikrishna had tried to popularise the idea of music therapy in south India.
Balamurali, as he was called by musicians and public, was a recipient of all three Padma awards — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. He won several awards, including the national award for best playback singer and best music director.
"He was a prodigy and was very innovative. He self-enjoyed his music and there is no one to match him currently," said Krishna Gana Sabha secretary Y Prabhu.
Balamuralikrishna used to accompany late Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer on the violin. "He played viola as a solo concert in our sabha," Prabhu recalled.
Krishna Gana Sabha conferred Thyagaraja Seva Ratna Award on him in 2014 for his service to Saint Thyagaraja. "During a conversation, I asked him how he had composed several compositions in Sanskrit. He said he did not have any knowledge of Sanskrit but experts had never pointed out any grammatical mistake," said Prabhu.
Parthasarathy Swami Sabha secretary R Krishnamurthy recalled how Balamuralikrishna prepared for a concert after arriving at a venue for a concert. "He was not at all tensed. If the concert is at 6.30pm, he will be in the sabha at 6pm. Immediately, he will have snacks in the sabha canteen. After that he will have betel leaves and then get on to the stage. That is the end. After that music used to flow like water," Krishnamurthy said.
Saranya Chakrapani, Legendary Carnatic singer Balamuralikrishna, Nov 23 2016 : The Times of India
One of the most celebrated memories shared by many is Balamurali's role in democratising Carnatic music. “He worked hard to take this music to the masses,“ said actor S Ve Sekar.
“He simplified melakartha ragas. When it was considered challenging for Carnatic musicians to break into cinema, he defied all naysayers by giving us `Oru naal podhuma',“ said S Ve Sekar.
Sudha Raghunathan said he looked at her as no less than his daughter. She reminisced how he would smile and point to the sky every time she asked him how he conjured up the magic to bring people together through his music.
“He was blessed with kalpana shakti, an unparalleled power of imagination that ensured no two renditions of a raga or a song were the same,“ she said.
Music director Shankar Ganesh remembered the musician by singing some of his most favourite songs -`Oru nalile' from Sivanda Mann, which he heard him sing as a teenager and the more famous 'Oru naal podhuma' -which seemed to be the song on everyone's hearts.
The lyrics (that meant `one day is not enough') resonated as a common thought on a day that marked the end of one of classical music's greatest legends.
Mahathi is the name of a raga created by Balamurali
When Music Sobbed On A Carnatic Note
Veteran Carnatic musician Dr M Balamuralikrishna passed away at his residence in Chennai on Tuesday. He was 86.
Barely hours after news of Carnatic music le gend M Balamuralikrishna's death broke in Nov 2016, the scene at his Mylapore residence best reflected what his voice had done for decades: uniting the most varied of people. Only this time it was in grief.
By nightfall, police had cordoned off Kanakasri Street, where he lived, to prevent heavy vehicles from entering. Fragrance of roses and incense blended with the intoxication of a faint Suddha Saveri aalapanai that played from his house a good a few feet away.