Carnatic vocalist and scholar Premeela Gurumurthy is gearing up to perform at the birth centenary of maestro G.N. Balasubramaniam, popular among connoisseurs as the Prince of Carnatic music.
Her concert, Nad Ninad, will be a guided listening session that will give the audience access to some priceless archival recordings of Balasubramaniam, who passed away in 1965.
Gurumurthy will include a demonstration of some of the singer’s techniques and phrases from his compositions, in her talk and presentation.
Gurumurthy took up Carnatic music in 1970, when her parents brought her to Chennai, after quitting their jobs and selling their property in Colombo. “It was in my destiny,” says the vocalist, who learnt from some of Balasubramaniam’s disciples. “Musiri Subramanya Iyer and his prime disciple T.K.Govinda Rao were my teachers.”
Later, when she did her BA and MA in 1974 and 1977 respectively, she was exposed to many of Balasubramaniam’s compositions. “I feel sorry that I was not born in his time,” says Gurumurthy, who has only heard recordings of Balasubramaniam’s music.
“My mother always spoke about his fast style and flashy renditions. I heard a lot about his personality, his glowing complexion and even his diamond earstuds,” she recollects vividly from her childhood.
The singer counts MS Subhalakshmi and ML Vasanthkumari among her other influences. She is also fascinated by the works of DK Pattammal.
About Balasubramaniam, she says, “He is a composer of rare merit and creativity. I have always used his compositions in my concerts. Even for the future, I am planning some concerts of only his songs. I will even give lectures and demonstrations of his techniques.”