A tribute to this great musician on the occasion of his 82nd birth anniversary by his disciple Dr. Ritha Rajan, Head of the Department of Music, Queen Mary's College, Chennai.

Ramnad Krishnan was born on 15th September 1918 at Allepey, Kerala, in a family of musicians, as one of six children. All of them were accomplished artistes. Krishnan did his schooling in Ramanathapuram, (also known as Ramnad), a district in South Tamilnadu, where he simultaneously learnt music from the highly respected musician Ramnad C S Sankarasivam.

Later, when he moved to Madras, he decided to make music his profession. This was the turning point of his life. He had the occasion to closely watch and interact with the great masters of those times.

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What impressed him most was the music of the Vina Dhanammal family. It entirely changed his attitude and approach to music. Thus, he approached Brinda and Mukta (granddaughters of Vina Dhanammal) from whom he had the opportunity to learn several masterpieces, including rare kritis, padams and javalis. His music acquired a new maturity and sheen. He also learnt several compositions from N S Krishnaswami Iyengar, a disciple of Kanchipuram Naina Pillai.

With a keenly analytical mind, hardwork and aesthetic sense, all of which were reflected in his music, Ramnad Krishnan soon created a unique style of his own. His was an intellectual approach. The hallmarks of his music were, perfect sruti-alignment, a strong but unobtrusive sense of laya (rhythm) and a high level of voice modulation. In other words, he was a complete musician. His raga singing revealed, in an aesthetic manner, the intellectual content of the raga. His Pallavis still haunt the minds of music lovers. He could also render Padams and Javalis with grace and charm.

Ramnad Krishnan served as one of the faculty members of the Government College of Carnatic Music, Madras for a few years. He was also invited as a visiting professor by the Wesleyan University, Connecticut, USA, where he was reverently called the 'musician's musician'. He had many disciples, some of whom are well-known, like, Neyyattankara Vasudevan, Vegavahini Vijayaraghavan, Nagamani Srinath, Ritha Rajan, Nirmala Sundararajan, Natarajan, Vaidyanathan and Raghava Rao.

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Rare photos of Ramnad Krishnan


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