90 and still going strong

90 and still going strong


90 and still going strong


Dr RK Srikantan, who stepped into his 90th year on January 14, and still continues to perform successfully, is a rare record holder, historically also. Dr Srikantan hails from Rudrapattana, which was (and is) known for Veda, agriculture and music. He started learning music at a tender age from his father (R Krishna Sastry) and received advanced training under his older brother RK Venkatarama Sastry. Says Srikantan, “By listening to the concerts of seniors, I have tried to evolve my own style.”

When he was 24, Srikantan joined All India Radio as a staff artiste and after a service of over three decades retired as a producer of music. In Akashavani, apart from singing, he produced several programmes on great composers and saints. His music lessons on AIR became very popular and ‘Geetharadhana’ was another programme, where he brought to light several lesser known compositions.

RKS, as Srikantan is fondly known, is also a great tunesmith, and has tuned a number of Devaranama, vachana, and lyrics of reputed Kannada poets. Srikantan gave his first concert, when he was only 13 years old and has never looked back! His repertoire is also extraordinary with compositions of different raga and languages. Now at 90, he is still performing with ease. Age does not seem to have numbed his vocal chords! Aligning perfectly with sruthi, he sings the compositions with meaningful nerval and enlivening swaraprasthara and with a touch of class. Thus his concerts are always an aesthetic treat.

There is hardly any music sabha, conference and festival of importance in which he has not featured, as people feel Srikantan’s presence lends status to any festival. Srikantan is not a mere teacher, but also a most sought after ‘guru’, of our time. A most disciplined teacher, who insists on perfection on all counts, he has many leading artistes of today as his students from musicians like MS Sheela, TS Sathyavathi and of course his son RS Ramakantha.

Naturally, Srikantan has received several honours and titles in recognition of his indepth knowledge and long service. To recall some of them: Sangeeth Natak Akademy Award (New Delhi), Kanaka Purandara Award and Rajyothsava Award. He is one of the few musicians who have been conferred the titles of both ‘Sangeetha Kalanidhi’ and ‘Sangeetha Kalarathna’.