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A Tribute to Mangalampalli

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Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna (6 July 1930 – 22 November 2016) was an Indian Carnatic vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, playback singer, composer and actor. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour, for his contribution towards Indian Art. He was made Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2005.

Music legend Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna (86), who was known as one of the legends in classical Carnatic music in India, is no more. The Padma Vibushan Awardee died today at his residence in Chennai.

He worked extensively with India’s radio stations. In the late ’60s, he served as music producer for the Vijayawada and Hyderabad All-India radio station and launched an early morning show of devotional readings, “Bhakthi Ranjani.” He served, simultaneously, as the principal of the Government Music college in Vijayawada.

A score of awards and titles have been bestowed upon Balamuralikrishna throughout his career. These include an honorary Ph.D., D.Sc., and D.Lit. certificates from Andhra University, Jawaharial Nehru Technological University, and Sri Verkateswara University and an honorary “first citizen” award from Vijayawad. In 1978, Balamuralikrishna was named “Sangeetha Kalanidhi.” He received the award as “Wisdom man of the year” in 1992. Four years later, he was named “Naada Maharishi” by the Nrityala Aesthetics Society.

Balamuralikrishna has been equally successful with film. He received a national award as “best playback singer” for his participation in the film Hamsageeth and as “best music director” for the film Madhvacharya. He established the MBK Trust as a vehicle for fostering art and research in music theory. A dance and music school is operated by the MBK Trust in Vipanchee.

Balamuralikrishna’s concerts combine sophisticated vocal skills and rhythmic patterns of classical music with the popular demand for entertainment value. Balamurali Krishna has been invited to give concerts in many countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Italy, France, Russia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Middle East and many more. Apart from his native tongue, Telugu, his works also include ones in other languages like KannadaSanskritTamilMalayalamHindiBengali, and Punjabi.

He appeared as featured soloist with an award-winning British choir, performing the “Gitanjali Suite” with words from Rabindranath Tagore‘s Nobel Prize-winning poetry and music by Dr. Joel, the noted UK-based Goan composer. His clear diction in several languages prompted an invitation to record Tagore’s entire Rabindra Sangeet compositions in Bengali, preserving them for posterity. He has sung in French, and even ventured into jazz fusion, collaborating with the top Carnatic percussion teacher, Sri T.H. Subash Chandran, in a concert for Malaysian royalty.

He has recently become increasingly interested in music therapy, and now performs only occasionally. He gave his authorisation to S. Ram Bharati to found “Academy of Performing Arts and Research” in Switzerland and is also working on music therapy. He established the ‘MBK Trust’ with the objective of developing art and culture and for carrying out extensive research into music therapy. A dance and music school, ‘Vipanchee’ is a part of this Trust.

In February 2010, he did a three-day concert in Visakhapatnam, a first in his career

Balamuralikrishna has composed over 400 compositions in various languages like Telugu, Sanskrit, Kannada and Tamil. His compositions range from Devotional to Varnams, Krithis, Javalis and Thillans, in all the fundamental 72 melakartha ragas to film music.

He made his acting debut with Bhakta Prahlada (1967) under AVM Productions as Narada, and has acted in various films.

Civilian honours

International honours

All India Radio

  • Top Grade– Awarded “Top Grade” for performance areas

playing instruments: violin, viola, mrudhingam, kanjira, music:- classical music, light music, devotional music, composer, conductor, music director and poet.

National Film Awards

Kerala state film awards

  • 1987-Best Male playback singer – Swathi Thirunal
  • 2010-Best Classical Music Singer-Grammam

Other honours

  • Honorary Doctorate
  • Sangita Kalanidhi by The Music Academy, Madras
  • Sangeetha Kalasikhamaniby The Fine Arts Society, Chennai (1991)
  • He was awarded the Lifetime achievement Global Indian Music Academy Awardfor 2011.
  • Sangeetha Kalasarathy.
  • “Sangeetha Virinchi” tilte conferred by Sangeetha Bharathi music School, Auckland during Dr BMK concert “Raganga Ravali” in 2009 at Auckland, New Zealand

Plesantlife.com offer our heartfelt condolences to the departed.

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