Carnatic music legend Dr Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna (86) has passed away this evening in Chennai after a brief illness. He is considered an Everest in classical music, having not only mastered the Carnatic music but also penned so many kritis, taking a cue from the musical trio.
He was born in Sankaraguptam village of East Godavari district on July 6, 1930. He is a multi-faceted personality and can play violin, flute and mridangam along with veena. He was an actor and has sung over 400 songs in movies. He did over 25,000 concerts in India and abroad, winning hearts of millions of people everywhere.
He has his initial lessons from Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu and gave his first concert at an age of just 8 years. Musical exponent Musunari Suryanarayana Murthy gave him the prefix ‘Bala’ in his name after watching his awesome performance at that age.
He has mastered on all the 72 melakarta ragas by 18 years and started his journey into musical world without looking back. He has a specific voice culture, a rare one which can go beyond the accepted shruti level of six.
His song in Nartanasala (1964)- ‘salalita raga sudharasa saram..’ was a special one and hugely popular. His other popular numbers include.. paluke bangaramayegaa.. (andala ramudu), meluko srirama (Sriramanjaneya Yudham), Karunalola (Sriramanjaneya Yudham), Srirama Jayarama (Muthyala Muggu), Mouname nee Bhasha (Guppedu manasu), padana vani kalyanigaa (Meghasandesam) etc. He has also acted as narada in Bhakta Prahlada.
“Balamuralikrishna’s concerts combine sophisticated vocal skills and rhythmic patterns of classical music with the popular demand for entertainment value” according to Wikipedia.
His Tyagaraja pancharatna krtis, Sadasiva Brahmendra kritis, tillanas were immensely popular.
He initiated jugalbandi with Hindustani starwarts like Bhimsen Joshi and also did duels with Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shiv Kumar Sharma and others.
He received several awards including Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award. He was recipient of France’s highest award and also several doctorates from several universities.
Balamurali was annoyed with the then Chief Minister NT Rama Rao for abolishing all academies and vowed not to give concerts in the then United AP till they are restored. Later, Rama Rao called him up and arranged a civic reception in his honour. Mr Balamurali was also appointed as a court performer in TTD.
Music world have paid rich tributes to the legend, saying a jewel was lost.