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Homeலைஃப் ஸ்டைல்Tributes to Vellore Shri G RAMABHADRAN

Tributes to Vellore Shri G RAMABHADRAN

vellore ramabadran

Tributes to Vellore Shri G RAMABHADRAN or Vellore Gopalachariar Ramabhadran (Born on 4 August 1929 – Died 27 February 2012), Indian Carnatic Classical Music Percussionist playing the MRIDANGAM, on his Death Anniversary today.

Born in Salem District, he showed interest in Carnatic music even at an early age. Young Ramabhadran was fascinated by the music concerts and started learning Mridangam from his father at the age of eight.

Ramabhadran was fortunate to have been initiated into Carnatic music by his father, T.P. Gopalachariar, a konnakol artist and one of the founders of the Vellore Sangeeta Sabha which had conferred the title Sangeeta Ratnakara on Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. Gopalachariar’s residence in Vellore was frequented by stalwarts such as Tiger Varadachariar, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Madurai Mani Iyer, GNB, M.S. Subbulakshmi and D. K. Pattammal, and it was during one such visit that Ramabhadran had the privilege of accompanying Tiger Varadachariar at an in-house concert.

Ramabhadran’s first stage performance was at the age of 14 when he accompanied the doyen Madurai Mani Iyer at the Jagannatha Bhaktha Sabha, Egmore, in 1943. This marked the beginning of an illustrious career spanning over six decades and as many generations. Ramabhadran’s gentle and effortless way of playing the mridangam came to be known as the “sarvalaghu” style.

Ramabhadran has brought out a solo DVD titled Sarvalaghu: The Nuances of Mridangam accompaniment. He was the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Sangeeta Choodamani (Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, 1975), Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1992), Sangita Kalanidhi (Music Academy, 2005), Chowdiah Memorial Award (1994), Sangeeta Ratnakara (Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana, 2005) and the Bangalore Gayana Samaja Centenary Award (2005) which he received from the President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Ramabhadran often attributed his success in accompaniment to the fact that he was also a trained vocalist. His vocal concerts at Guruguhanjali, a sabha run by V.V. Srivatsa, as also his chamber concert at Sruti, bear evidence to his vidwat. Ramabhadran also participated in numerous lecture-demonstrations around the world and was part of several fusion concerts and jugalbandis along with eminent vidwans such as Zakir Hussain and Amjad Ali Khan.

Vellore Ramabhadran not only believed in encouraging young talent but also in recognising the contributions of veteran musicians who did not aspire for star status. With this objective he instituted the Vellore Gopalachariar Memorial Award and entrusted the responsibility of administering it to the Sruti Foundation. Several musicians of merit have been honoured during the past 20 years.

Ramabhadran went to United States for the first time in 1962 with Veena maestro S. Balachandar and N. Ramani. They performed in many cities and universities from coast to coast. He performed in the Festivals of India held in the U.K., USA and U.S.S.R.

Ramabhadran recalls performing a concert for the prisoners in the Palayamkottai Central Prison in 1948 is an unforgettable experience. He accompanied M. M. Dandapani Desikarin that concert. Likewise a remarkable experience for him was the receiving of Sangeetha Choodamani award from the top Mridandam Vidwan Palghat Mani Iyer in 1975. The award was accorded by the Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai.

Ramabhadran opines that Mridangam is an accompanying instrument and it should not interrupt the main artiste. The Mridangam artiste can show his skill during the few minutes he/she is given for “Thani Avarthanam”.

Ramabhadran accompanied K. J. Yesudas on the Mridangan for the song “Mari, Mari, Ninne” in the Tamil film ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’ produced by K. Balachandar. The film scene shows actor Sivakumar as the singer and Delhi Ganesh as the mridangam artiste.

The mridangam maestro with the gentle touch passed away on 27 February 2012 at the age of 82.

Awards and Konours:
1. Sangeetha Choodamani, 1975 by Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai
2. Sangeetha Kalanidhi, 2004 by Music Academy, Chennai[6]3. Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 1991 by Sangeet Natak Akademi
4. Sangeetha Kalasikhamani, 1998 by The Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai

  • Venkata Raman G

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