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Personalities - Music 

* 27 Mar 2023
A key aspect of the The All India music conference held in 1927 in Madras, was the participation of the 17-year-old Thirukokarnam Ranganayaki Ammal. She was the only woman among the 23 mridangam artistes who performed at the event. When analysing music history from the beginning of the 20th century one can refer to Ranganayaki Ammal as the first woman to have made it big in the male-dominated field of Carnatic percussion. Born on May 28, 1910, she was the second of seven siblings. Her father Thirukokarnam Sivaraman was a renowned natuvanar, who was also known for his avadhana pallavis - an art of playing different talas by using both hands, legs and the head. Ranganayaki took to the mridangam and went under the tutelage of the legendary Pudukottai Dakshinamurthi Pillai even as she continued her training in Bharatanatyam.
Several reviews of her performances along with the then well-known vocalist D.K. Pattammal have appeared in the  Sangita Abhimani (1936). In the 1940s, she performed with several leading artistes such as Brinda and Muktha and Flute Mali. The Music Academy concert listings reveal that she had performed in the prime slot in 1948, accompanying vocalist Chandra Ramamoorthy.
Source:  Ranganayaki Ammal: One of the first women to enter the male-dominated world of percussion Premium by Lalitharam, The Hindu, June 09, 2022

* 30 Jul 2022
M Balamuralikrishna was a musician extraordinaire. He was a Carnatic vocalist, composer, playback singer and instrumentalist. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 86.
(His guru - Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu)
Balamuralikrishna popularised thillanas. For the uninitiated, thillanas are a mix of lyrics and rhythmic phrases, usually sung at the end of classical concerts. Brindavani thillana, Jayaragamalika thillana, Kuntalavarali thillana and Kalyani thillana are some thillanas made famous by him.
Balamuralikrishna also stood apart from his contemporaries because he could traverse the range of three octaves with ease and bring unique rhythmic patterns to his compositions. He has created 20-plus unique ragas such as Ganapati, Lavangi, Sumukham, Mahati, and Trisakthi without altering the tradition of Carnatic music.
Raga Lavangi has only four musical notes (Sa Re Ma Da) and raga Ganapathy has three ( Sa Ga Pa). Usually, ragas have at least five notes.
He also made new classifications like Trimukhi, Panchamukhi, Saptamukhi and Navamukhi in the tala system and sang several compositions set to them.
Balamuralikrishna’s music legacy is celebrated every year on the occasion of Guru Purnima.
Source: Throwback to Balamuralikrishna's thillanas by Ram Rakshith V,, Jul 15, 2022

* 17 Jul 2022
The most prevalent design of Carnatic flutes is the one which is said to have been invented by by Sharaba Shastri (1872-1904) of the Palladam school, in the beginning of the 20th century.
It was through untiring efforts of Palladam Sanjeeva Rao disciple of Sarabha Shastri that flute started to be recognized as a concert instrument. This design was subsequently adopted, improved and vastly popularized by T.R. Mahalingam a.k.a Mali.