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T M Krishna Awarded Prestigious Sangita Kalanidhi

Thodur Madabusi Krishna, a renowned Carnatic musician, has been chosen as the Sangita Kalanidhi awardee for 2024. This award, considered the Oscar equivalent for Carnatic music, is given away by the Music Academy in Chennai.

Background and Early Training

Krishna, 48, is known for his powerful voice both as a vocalist on stage and as a social activist off stage. He received early training in music from Bhagavatula Seetharama Sarma and Chengalpet Ranganathan, both recipients of the Sangita Kala Acharya award (for music teachers) from the Music Academy. Later, the legendary Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer took Krishna under his tutelage, impressed by his talent.

Iconoclastic Approach to Carnatic Music

On stage, Krishna is an iconoclast who boldly breaks tradition while staying within the grammar of music. From the seating arrangements to allowing accompanists to take the lead, and his choice of ragas, Krishna has shown an explicit disdain for tradition. Yet, his magnetic music and tear-jerking bhava have drawn capital crowds, even though the carnatic music community is famously tradition-bound.

Social Activism and Controversies

Off stage, Krishna is known for his left-liberal views and attempts to use music as a tool for social reform, for which he received the Ramon Magsaysay award. His anti-caste and political views have made him a controversial musician.

Other Awardees

The Music Academy has also named Prof Parassala Ravi (V Raveendran Nair) and Geetha Raja for the Sangita Kala Acharya award, and Thiruvayyaru Brothers (S Narasimhan and S Venkatesan) and H K Narasimhamurthy for the ‘TTK Award’.

The ‘musicologist award’ for 2024 goes to Dr Margaret Bastin, and the Nritya Kalanidhi award (for dance) goes to Dr Neena Prasad, known for her proficiency in multiple classical dance forms.

Award Ceremony

The awardees will receive their honors at the Music Academy’s annual events in December 2024 and January 2025.

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