Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Musical Anecdotes-45--Trichur Ramachandran ( August 9, 1940.....)


    Musical Anecdotes-45

                                     45--Trichur Ramachandran  (  August 9, 1940.....)



                                       Trichur V. Ramachandran is a Carnatic music vocalist who was born in 1940 in Thrissur, Kerala. He who gave his first concert at the age of 14  was a disciple of G.N.Balasubramaniam. Later, he underwent training under M.L.Vasantakumari  as part of an Indian government Cultural Scholarship. Ramachandran married  a vocalist Charumathi  1973. Their daughter Subhashree Ramachandran is also a carnatic singer.


                                        Ramachandran is recipient of several awards--Sangeet Ntak Akademi  Award  , Vidhya Tapasvi title from TAPAS Cultural Foundation, Sangeetha Kalanidhi   from the Madras Music Academy, Swathi Music Award from Kerala Government.


                                      Even as he was learning Carnatic music under GNB, he became eligible for admission to the Calicut Medical College. He was chosen in the second list. He didn't think twice. He just gave up the medical seat, and stuck to music. From hindsight, it could be argued that his decision then was indeed the right one.



                                      Prior to his induction into GNB's school, Ramachandran had  gurus such as Varkala Subramania Bhagavatar and Tripunithura Krishna Iyer. He had also learnt Hindustani music from Pandit Krishnanand.


                                      Ramachandran lays much store by bhakthi, which is the fulcrum around which music revolves. His rendering of Narayaneeyam of Shri Narayana Bhattathiri is the best example. He has rendered all the 1,036 Narayaneeyam verses, which has hundred chapters beautifully tuned to breath-taking ragas, on Lord Guruvayurappan.  The daily `Parayana' of Narayaneeyam enables the devotees to attain "`Ayurarogyasowkyam." The Sanskrit devotional CD "Sriman Narayaneeyam" of Ramachandran is an invaluable treasure for the devotees.


                                   A few years ago, Vidwan Ramachandran was honoured in Chennai for completing fifty years of service to music. From the words he spoke that day. his humility oozes out. Mr. Ramachandran said it was important that those who wanted to learn Carnatic music should listen as many concerts of veteran musicians as possible.


                                               According to   Ramachandran, "At home, my mother used to sing very well. My sister was also learning music at that time. Unlike Thanjavur and Madras, women were not performing much on stage in Kerala. So her music was within the home. But I inherited the art from my mother. Seeing my interest in music, my maternal grandfather insisted that I learnt music properly. I came under Varkala Subramanya Bhagavathar for initial training. In those days, around us, it was mostly classical music.


                                          I have heard M. S. Subbulakshmi, D. K. Pattammal. GNB, Dhandapani Desikar, Thyagaraja Bhagavathar and P. U. Chinnapa. All actors were good musicians. And we had composers like Papanasam Sivan.


                                          After my initial training, I came under senior vidwan Tirupunithura Krishna Iyer, who was a graduate from Annamalai University. He had shaped my talent and I bagged many prizes in music competitions and had started giving a few performances too. But it was during a wedding at our family doctor's place that I happened to listen to GNB and was impressed a lot. I felt that I should learn from such a great musician. My mother then brought me to Madras and asked GNB sir - if her son has any talent could he teach him music! GNB, after listening to a kriti, asked me to come for music classes from the next day.

sessions with GNB.



                                    Usually the music class started at 6.30 in the morning and went on for about an hour. The rest of the day was meant for practice. Only if we memorised and learnt the previous day's lesson, GNB used to go to the next item. He used to say that music is all about the effect of sound. He used to emphasise on how to open the mouth while singing, how to produce the sound and the importance of diction while rendering the kritis. One would just sit for hours and listen to GNB talking about music. 


                                          I shifted to MLV after the demise of GNB.I came to her under a Govt. of India scholarship, to continue my training under the same GNB school. MLV was a large hearted person. She had a lot of information to share with her students. She was exactly like our guru in teaching and also in her kindness to the sishyas. I was the only male student of MLV! She was teaching many girls. Charumathy, my wife, was learning from her then. One of my friends suggested the alliance.



                             For my wedding, there were six concerts. T. N. Krishnan and M. Chandrasekaran played a violin duet. MLV, Semmangudi, Maharajapuram Santhanam and 'Veena' S. Balachander 's concerts were also arranged. M. S. Subbulakshmi and D. K. Pattamal sang `Sita Kalyana Vaibhogame' during the `Oonjal' ceremony of my wedding And, my own guru, M. L. Vasanthakumari, sang at the evening reception. What more can anyone ask for?"



                                          A pen-picture of Ramachandran. "He sits  cross-legged on the single bed mattress of Janardhana Hotel, that favourite haunt of all artistes in Bangalore. Hair oiled and combed down below the ears. Jari dhothi. Silk jibba. A beaded japamala from the Kanchi Matham. A gold ring with a large green emerald from Satya Sai Baba. An altogether colourful personality with a magnificent presence.


                                             As eminent dancer V. P. Dhananjayan put it: "Trichur Ramachandran is a good bridge between the older generation and younger audiences. Without compromising his music, and without deviating from the classical, he is able to cater to young listeners... " In fact, Ramachandran's devotion to GNB comes through his music again and again. "It is from this guru that I learnt about the aesthetics of music. It's imagination and creativity.



                                     A bit about his wife. The legendary classical vocalist Charumathi  is known for her classical vidwat and creativity. She , is the daughter of Sri. K.Viswanathan and Alamelu Viswanathan, and niece of Director K. Subramanyam - great art patrons. Charumathi completes 51 years of singing in 2014 and acquired l recognition. She has put in very hard work for the past 56 years. Recently she was awarded the TOP grade of all India RADIO-after broadcasting for 42 years. She has been endowed with the presti

ous Kalaimamani  Award by the Tamilnadu Government.