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The Music Academy has announced awards for 2023 for some exponents of Carnatic music. There are scores of music aficionados and even general fans who eagerly wait for this award announcement every year.

Bombay Jayashree has been chosen for this year’s Sangeetha Kalanidhi Award. She joins Sudha Raghunathan (2013), Sanjay Subrahmanyan (2015) and Sowmya (2019) who were similarly honoured.

Jayashree was chief disciple of Lalgudi Jayaraman, the violin maestro, who scaled great heights in all respects (varnam, songs and thillana). A resident of Mumbai before coming to Chennai, she  learnt music from T.R. Balamani, who produced many vidwans.

Jayashree was a favourite singer for the late SVI, an accomplished critic at The Hindu.

Her voice has what it takes to enrich and be in harmony with Carnatic music. It was the pleasing sweetness of her voice that made her song Vaseegara in the Tamil film Minnale a super-hit, setting ablaze innumerable hearts cutting across class divisions, just as Madurai Somu’s song Marudhamalai Maamaniye in the Tamil film Theivam became popular decades ago.

Bombay Jayashree has been chosen for this year’s Sangeetha Kalanidhi Award. She joins the august league of Sudha Raghunathan (2013), Sanjay Subrahmanyan (2015) and Sowmya (2019) who have already got this award

Jayashree also learnt Hindustani music, veena and bharatanatyam. Reputed for assiduously keeping her voice robust and healthy, she does not take up multiple concert assignments even during the music season.  As far as I know, she didn’t perform anywhere last season.

K.S. Kalidas

Carried away by Jayashree’s music, many invited her to sing abroad and she performed at several concerts internationally.  She performed a jugalbandi excellently with Hindustani music maestros and has rendered musical forms for Annamacharya’s kritis and Tamil classic Thirukkural couplets. In 2021, she was awarded the Padma Shri, conferred the Kalaimamani Award by the Tamil Nadu government and the Sangeetha Soodamani Award at the Krishna Gana Sabha in 2005.

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Percussionist Kalidas honoured

Arimalam Padmanabhan

The Music Academy has raised its own exalted status by conferring the Sangeetha Kala Acharya Award on K.S. Kalidas.  Expert percussionists like Kalidas seem to have caught the attention of the Music Academy now, although quite belatedly.  The Sangeetha Kala Acharya Award conferred on Kalidas is just a token of recognition of his service to Carnatic music. It is equal to the honour given to the late Subramaniya Pillai, fondly called Mahavidwan Palani Anna, who was guru to Kalidas.

Kalidas is well-known for producing many disciples. His contributions to popularisation of the ‘Pudukottai style’ in mridangam deserve deeper research.

Award for musicology
The Music Academy has announced a musicologist award for Carnatic music exponent Dr. S. Arimalam Padmanabhan, who learnt music from his father Vidwan B.S.V. Subramaniam, and started singing at concerts at an early age.  In 1976, he took up the job of music teacher in a Central government school in  Puducherry and in 1977 he became a music teacher in the Education Department of the Government of Puducherry.  To this day, he has been busy with his Tamil research and musical work. He was also the editor-in-chief of the first dictionary for Tamil music glossary.

Arimalam Padmanabhan has done research work on musical Tamil  and theatre Tamil. The books authored by him include Musical Elements in the Plays of Thavathiru Sankaradas Swamigal, A Study of Sankaradas Swamigal’s Rhythms, Tamil Music and Musical Tamil, Isai Thamizh (Musical Tamil in Kamban and Sankaradas Swamigal’ s Drama Music Treasure).

Satgurunatha Oduvar

His music compositions are: Documentaries – 2, Tamilisai CDs – 4, Music, Dance, Play – 10, Mariammai Kaaviyam – 36 songs and Thiruvarutpa songs. In addition, he has scored music in the ancient Tamil tradition for a documentary recording of the entire Thirukkural text and sang the  classic couplets with many senior musicians (All India Radio Station, Puducherry) and has released Thirukkural Isai Tamil – 56 couplets in CDs (Tamil Centre, Chennai). He has been chosen for the Best Music Commentary Award by the  Music Academy.

The Music Academy raises its own exalted status by conferring the Sangeetha Kala Acharya Award on K.S. Kalidas.  Expert percussionists like Kalidas have caught the attention of the Music Academy now, quite belatedly

Satgurunatha Oduvar recognised
The TTK award will also be presented to Satgurunatha Oduvar, a singer of Tirumurai songs (Saivist literature).

Once Satgurunathan was awestruck by a question from a tea stall owner if he knew about Dharmapuram Swaminathan, who was revered as a part of the Dharmapuram Adheenam. It was then that Satgurunthan  took a pledge to become as famous as Swamithan was, and to be known even among the common people. Dharmapuram Swaminathan was a prominent ‘Thevaram’ personality in the 1970s and 1980s.

Also Read: As a child, Palani Subbudu watched, learnt, like Ekalaivan

Satgurunathan, through his friend Bhubaneshwar, a goldsmith in Tondiarpet, became a disciple of P. Achutharaman and learnt the nuances of music for five years under his tutelage.  In 1993, at 19, he got an opportunity to perform a 25-minute Tirumurai programme on All India Radio.

Thirunageswaram T.R. Subramaniam

Formally learning the Tirumurai music, Satgurunathan has been an Oduvar (reciter of Tirumurai songs) at the Kapaleeswarar-Karpagambikai temple for the past 25 years.  His popularity has spread all over the world. Every fortnight, his fans look forward to his recitation. His Tirumarai commentaries can be found as CDs. He has also been teaching the sacred verses to those interested and Tirumurai music to students.  He is always on cloud nine whenever he passionately recites the Devaram compositions of sage-poet Appar (Tirunavukkarasar) for he believes that the sage’s songs with their simplicity of diction cast a spell on the devotees.

Palkulangara Ambika Devi

A few years ago, at a concert at the Tamil Isai Sangam, he did not opt for elaborate raga alapanas or imaginary swaras. Instead, content with just touching on raga trends, he mainly delved deep into Tirumurai songs with his melodious and mesmeric voice. This style has encouraged such Tirumurai music and its exponents.

Besides, the Nritya Kalanidhi award has been announced for Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari, the TTK award for thavil artiste Thirunageswaram T.R. Subramaniam and  the Sangeetha Kala Acharya award for Palkulangara Ambika Devi.

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