Carnatic singer M Balamuralikrishna passes away in Chennai, Venkaiah Naidu offers condolences

FP Staff

Nov 22, 2016 17:39:35 IST

Veteran Carnatic music singer M Balamuralikrishna, 86, passed away on Tuesday in Chennai.

The Carnatic music veteran was not keeping well for some time and breathed his last at his residence here, his family
sources told PTI.

Carnatic singer M Balamuralikrishna passes away in Chennai, Venkaiah Naidu offers condolences


A native of Sankaraguptam, East Godavari District, Balamuralikrishna was a 5th generation descendant of the saint-composer Tyagaraja in the guru-shishya tradition, according to DNAKnown and celebrated as one of India's greatest vocalists, Balamuralikrishna was well-versed in playing the violin, the mridangam and the kanjira.

Balamuralikrishna accompanied Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and Chittoor Subramania Pillai on the violin in 1944, notes Sruti magazine. He also gradually accompanied other singers including Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Voleti Venkateswarlu, KV Narayanaswamy. He also acompanied Lalgudi Jayaraman on the kanjira.

Although born into a family of musicians — his mother was a veena player and his father was skilled in the flute, the violin and the veena as well — Balamuralikrishna never had any formal education, according to an India Today report. He performed his first concert at seven and first radio concert when he was nine.

A report in The Hindu mentioned that he was credited to "innovating the tala system with Thri Mukhi, Panchamukhi, Saptha Mukhi and Nava Mukhi".

He is also credited with creating several ragams such as Ganapathi, Sarvashri, Mahati, Lavangi. Balamuralikrishna made his acting debut in the 1967 film Bhakta Prahlada. He was also well-known for his hit number 'Oru Naal Pothuma' in the 1965 Sivaji Ganesan starrer Thiruvilayadal.

Christened Muralikrishna, the singer got the prefix "Bala" to his name when he was eight years old and was performing a concert in Vijayawada, notes DNA.

"This prefix Bala (child) is good. It is a constant reminder that I shouldn't stop learning. I was barely eight when I got an opportunity to perform a full-fledged concert at a Thyagaraja Aradhana in Vijayawada. This then became a part of my name for listeners."

Balamuralikrishna was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1991 and made Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2005.

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu tweeted his "heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family".

The late singer's fans took to Twitter, putting out some of their favourite renditions of his.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Nov 22, 2016 18:46:21 IST