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When music scores over medicine
CHENNAI, July 25: Even as he was learning Carnatic music under GNB, he became eligible for admission to the Calicut Medical College. He was chosen in the second list. He didn’t think twice. He just gave up the medical seat, and stuck to music. From hindsight, it could be argued that his decision then was indeed the right one. Well, come January 1, he will be honoured with the title Sangeetha Kalanidhi by this illustrious institution, The Music Academy. Trichur V. Ramachandran has indeed come a long way, and truly deserves this prestigious award. It may be recalled that his guru GNB was awarded Sangeetha Kalanidhi title in 1960.

As his prefix suggests, he was born at Trissur, Kerala, in 1940. He gave his first concert at the age of 14. A disciple of G.N. Balasubramaniam, he later learnt music from M.L.Vasanthakumari, too. Ramachandran married Charumathi. Their daughter Subhashree Ramachandran is also a vocalist. He received the Padma Bhushan, and the Sangeeth Natak Academy Award in 2003.

Like guru GNB
It had been tough journey for him until he obtained a comfortable status in the world of Carnatic music. He had learnt music in the guru-shisya parampara style. For him, learning music is akin to learning Vedas. Prior to his induction into GNB’s school, Ramachandran had a long tutelage with gurus such as Varkala Subramania Bhagavatar and Tripunithura Krishna Iyer. He had also learnt Hindustani music from Pandit Krishnanand. Ramachandran follows GNB’s style of singing. GNB was enormously talented, and had penned many compositions. GNB was always humility-personified. GNB also invited Bade Ghulam Ali Khan from the North to sing for the South Indian audience. Like his master, Ramachandran, too, is keen to see Carnatic music accessible to other parts of the country, and make it universal like the way Dr. Balamuralikrishna and Nedunuri Krishnamurthy from Andhra Pradesh have done.

The female Trinity
Ramachandran has listened to many eminent musicians, and assorted music genres. Not surprisingly, he is a versatile singer. According to him, those who want to learn Carnatic music should listen to as many concerts of veteran musicians as possible. This particular trait - he had learnt it from his guru GNB. The period between 1945 and 1960 was the golden period when he got tremendous exposure to Carnatic music by attending concerts of many a stalwart. This indeed laid a solid foundation for him to develop into a musician of repute. Ramachandran has only praise for the female trinity - M.S. Subbulakshmi, M.L.Vasanthakumari and D.K.Pattammal. He felt blessed when the Trio sang during his wedding on different occasions.

Ramachandran lays much store by bhakthi, which is the fulcrum around which music revolves. His rendering of Narayaneeyam of Shri Narayana Bhattathiri is the best example one can think of. He has rendered all the 1,036 Narayaneeyam verses, which has hundred chapters beautifully tuned to breath-taking ragas, on Lord Guruvayurappan. These Sanskrit verses are a great source of inspirational bhakthi while one listens to it. Also, Narayaneeyam is the compressed form of Srimad Bhagavatham. His diction is crystal clear, and the rendition is simply commendable. `Parayana’ of Narayaneeyam is believed to possess the wonderful power of healing afflictions, both mental and physical, of the devotees. The personal experience of the Poet Bhattathiri himself had proved this beyond doubt. The daily `Parayana’ of Narayaneeyam enables the devotees to attain `Ayurarogyasowkyam.’ The Sanskrit devotional CD `Sriman Narayaneeyam’ of Ramachandran is an invaluable treasure for the devotees.


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Sangita Kalanidhi for Trichur V. Ramachandran