For the generation that is now growing up on a diet of Justin Bieber songs and Pritam’s rehashed music, knowing who Balamuralikrishna is somewhat of a stretch. You may, however, want to ask your parents if they remember this musical genius.

 

 

Veteran Carnatic musician  Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, died on Tuesday at his home in Chennai. He was 86 and had been ill for quite some time. He was one of the most popular faces of  classical music in the country. He was also a decorated musician.  The Andhra-born musical genius had been conferred with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour, and has been the recipient of the Chevalier Rank (Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) from the French Government (2005).

 

 

The musician entered the industry even before he turned 10 and was termed as a musical prodigy by some. An article by The Hindu has mentioned that at 15 he stunned even the pundits of music and lyric with his compositions in all the foundational 72 Melakarta ragas of the Carnatic system. Adding to his credit is his versatility and his collaboration with the top musicians in the music circle. The maestro has over 25,000 concerts to his credit.

 

 

He was quite a non-conformist and he was constantly involved in experimenting in his musical journey. His methods had not gone down well with the purists of his time and he had the grudging approval of many his contemporaries. Unlike the others, he believed that Carnatic music needed to evolve and could no longer be viewed as part of the religious domain. He is known to have lashed out at his critics who believed that his singing was degrading classical music to the level of crass entertainment.  He had replied that those who believed that concert singing denigrated the essence of Carnatic music should confine their singing to puja rooms.