Sangita Kalanidhi for Neyveli Santhanagopalan, Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam and Lalgudi Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi

By Special Correspondent
Chennai: 22-05-2022 12:32AM
Last Updated: 09-10-2022 12:32AM

After a Covid-induced three-year hiatus, The Music Academy has announced the winners of the prestigious Sangita Kalanidhi award.

The Academy has now announced the winners for three years.

Senior vocalist Neyveli Santhanagopalan, experienced mridangist Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam and violin-duo Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi have been chosen for the awards.

Neyveli Santhanagopalan is chosen for the award for the year 2020. For 2021, Sangita Kalanidhi is being conferred on Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam. For 2022, the award is being given to the siblings - Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi.

Simultaneously, the Academy has also announced its Nritya Kalanidhis for three years. The award winners are: Rama Vaidyanathan (2021), Narthaki Nataraj (2022) and Bragha Bessel (2023).

The details of the awards are shared by V. Sriiram, secretary of the Academy, in a social media posting.

The Sangita Kala Acharya award is being conferred on Dr. Ritha Rajan, Dr. R.S. Jayalakshmi Kizhvelur and N.G. Ganesan

The TTK Awards go to Nemani Somayajulu, AV Anand Thamarakkad and  Govindan Namboodiri

The Musicologist Award is being given to Dr. V. Premalatha.

A fifth generation musician of the illustrious Lalgudi bani, Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi are the children and disciple of legendary violinist Lalgudi G Jayaraman. Together, they have played in countless duets over the past several years. They are renowned for their classical purity, highly creative, nuanced and intricate interpretations of ragas, and their total command over laya and bhava.

A multi-faceted artist

Vijayalakshmi is also an accomplished vocalist, composer and teacher. As founder of Krutagnya, Vijayalakshmi has been conceiving and initiating projects that help create awareness about music and its many aspects among the general public and the lesser privileged.

Pioneering role

Beyond his own music, Krishnan is well known recently for his pioneering service to the strings instrumental community in India via the ViolinWise initiative. Recognizing the need for bringing state-of-the-art stringed-instrument repair and restoration skills from the West to India, Krishnan has sponsored annual workshops where top luthiers from the U.S. train their local Indian counterparts, under the auspices of the Lalgudi Trust.

Rooted in tradition

Neyveli Santhanagopalan is known for his traditional values in the rendition of classical compositions. Brought up in a musical environment at home and initiated by his mother Jayalakshmi Ammal, he received rigorous training from Sangita Kalanidhi T.N. Seshagopalan. He is also proficient in Veena and percussion instruments. “The distinguishing features of his music style are his well-structured and cerebral approach to aspects of raga elaboration, focus on tonal quality, expertise in niraval and minimalist rendition of ragam-tanam-pallavi,” according to Shruti, a premier magazine for performing artists.

An accomplished accompanist

Thiruvaarur Bakthavathsalam had his initial tutelage from his maternal uncle Thiruvarur Krishnamurthy and was further groomed by his mother T. R. Anandavalli, herself a talented musician. He has accompanied many well-known artists such as M. L. Vasanthakumari, K. J. Yesudas, Madurai Somu, N. Ramani, V.G. Jog, Bhimsen Joshi, Maharajapuram Santhanam, K. V. Narayanaswamy, T. N. Krishnan, T. V. Sankaranarayanan, M. Balamuralikrishna and U. Shrinivas.

A dancer who fought many odds

Born Nataraj in Madurai, this Bharatnatyam dancer took the name Narthaki at the time of her maiden performance way back in 1983 as a woman. She has traversed quite a long way, braving poverty and social stigma. She had her early training under Namanur Jeyaraman of the Tanjavur bani. She later came under the tutelage of late K. P. Kittappa Pillai, a descendant of the 17th century Tanjavur Quartet. She also worked as Kittapa Pillai’s assistant in the Tanjore Tamil University. Narthaki Nataraj established her school Narthaki Nritya in Madurai. When she moved to Chennai in 2000, she launched the Valliambalam School of Dance. Her school has branches in the U.S., the U.K and Canada.  Narthaki has also been a recipient of the Kalaimamani award, the highest honour of the Tamil Nadu government, and the Nritya Choodamani of the Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in 2009.

Unique style

Rama Vaidyanathan has been trained under the legendary Yamini Krishnamurthy and the renowned Saroja Vaidyanathan. She has a unique style and fresh outlook to dance. This has earned her a significant fan following.

Quite a performer

Bragha Bessel studied Bharatanatyam in Chennai with eminent guru P. S. Kunchithapadam Pillai in 1966. She became a disciple of Adyar K. Lakshman and Kalanidhi Narayanan in 1982. Since her maiden concert in 1967, Bragha has given a number of recitals in India and abroad. Her workshops and lecture demonstrations are a regular feature in Asia, America, and Europe.