Noted Carnatic vocalist TV Sankaranarayanan

Noted Carnatic (South Indian Classical Music) vocalist TV Sankaranarayanan passed away couple of days ago. Wanted to share my own TV Sankaranarayanan (TVS) personal experience. Dates back to early 1980s. Classical music used to be played regularly at home, on radio and cassette player, as both mom and dad are classical music lovers. In addition a local music association in my Mumbai suburb, Mulund Fine Arts, used to arrange concerts by professional musicians one weekend in a month. At that time I was more into old Hindi movie songs, not that I did not like classical music. Movie songs offered instant satisfaction similar to fast food whereas classical music required some patience and more discerning taste to enjoy fully, similar to a multi-course meal. One weekend dad was either out of town or had some other prior commitment and he couldn’t attend that weekend’s concert. The performer scheduled to perform was TVS. Typically concerts started at 6pm and ended by 9pm. So, mom went by herself and asked me to reach the concert venue before 9pm for the walk back home after the concert. I went there before 9pm and waited outside. By then the singer had sung the more elaborate songs and was moving into short pieces (tukkadas) which, like desserts, are very tasty and crowd pleasers as those pieces can be appreciated even without technical knowledge. TVS was singing a familiar song (Srinivasa Thiruvenkata) starting with a prayer called viruttam. In the context of a meal viruttams are like free bread or chips and salsa offered to set the stage for the pièce de résistance, the main course, to follow. I like viruttams quite a bit (just as I like the bread/olive oil, chips/salsa and wouldn’t mind eating them as entire meal 😃). I digress. As TVS sang a familiar viruttam (before the main song Srinivasa Thiruvenkata, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpzI3BpCmU8 , I stood transfixed. As the singer moved to the main song I found myself drawn into the performing hall to hear even closer. That song was followed by another favorite of mine song “Eppa Varuvaro” ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVMkzDWhMII ) and followed by the popular English note (starts at 2:16:35 of this video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjegI6T9JJc ) . I realized then even a classical song can be enjoyed without much technical knowledge if the lyrics are divine and the singer is inspired. At the end of the concert as we were walking back home I was speaking with an elderly gentleman from my neighborhood who had more knowledge and finer taste than me. I mentioned to him I really enjoyed the concert and he said it was inded a fantastic concert. Sometime later I remember reading it was one of the best concerts organized by the organization, Mulund Fine Arts. The concert venue was an open hall in a pre-school (called Shishu Kunj). Not exactly a location that was acoustically designed! TVS probably has sung better and in better venues but his singing that night was special for me. In the intervening period of 35+ years some things have changed (music is now available on demand anytime, anywhere 👍), some things haven’t changed (my knowledge is still the same as is my love for fast food 😂) but some memories are indelible 👌. Thanks for creating that moment for me, TV Sankaranarayanan. Rest in peace 🙏

Author: Rajaram 'Raj' Gopalan

Hi All, Welcome to my home in cyberspace! You can call me Raj. Feel free to explore, discuss, comment and most importantly have a good time!

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