On a musical journey

On a musical journey
Mysuru, the heritage city, is also known for its celebrated musicians. Beginning from court musicians, who enjoyed the patronage of Wadiyars, the erstwhile rulers of Mysuru, the city of palaces boasts of musicians of repute.

It was such talented musicians and connoisseurs of music who founded Nada Brahma Sangeetha Sabha (later named after great musician, Mysuru K Vasudevacharya) in 1956 with an aim to promote music. Vajram Srinivasaraya was its first president and S B Ramaraya was the secretary.

In the beginning, only 10 programmes were held in a year with an average of one programme a month, except in September and October, the Dasara time. Performing at Nada Brahma Sangeetha Sabha was considered an achievement as only the best musicians were given an opportunity to perform there.

The beginnings

As the Sabha did not have a building of its own, programmes were organised at Town Hall and Crawford Hall, the administrative wing of University of Mysore. It was at this time, between 1961-1965, A M Ramakrishna, vice president, City Municipal Council (later became the Mysuru City Corporation), made an effort to lease out land for the Sabha to hold its activities in one place.

In 1964, a site was allotted near Divya Jeevana Sangha on Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai (JLB) Road. A week-long music festival was organised in 1968 at the Town Hall to raise funds for the construction of building. The festival hosted several musical and dance performances by popular artistes such as M S Subbulakshmi and Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma.

In 1986, the Sabha again organised a programme to raise funds to construct a new building. It raised Rs 60,000 and the building was inaugurated in November 1989 and was named after renowned musician Mysuru K Vasudevacharya. During the golden jubilee celebrations in 2006, K V Murthy and K S Prasad, president and secretary of the Sabha respectively, decided to hold year-long programmes and provide a platform for local artistes.

60 years of glory

This year, alongside the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Sabha, the 150th birth anniversary of Mysore K Vasudevacharya is being celebrated as well. Mysore K
Vasudevacharya was born on May 28, 1865 in Chevur, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Though his grandfather wanted him to become a great scholar in Sanskrit, he showed interest in music. But his grandfather did not yield to Vasudevacharya’s pleadings and enrolled him at Sriman
Maharaja Sanskrit School, in Mysore.

Noticing his interest in music, his maternal uncle Padmanabhacharya, arranged for music classes with Subbaraya, a court musician during the reign of Chamarajendra Wadiyar X. Inspite of the stiff opposition from elders in the family, Vasudevacharya mastered the art of music with great determination. He wanted to pursue his music with Patnam Subramania Iyer in Thiruvaiyaru, Tamil Nadu.

The Maharaja helped him financially to pursue his interest. Later, he was designated as a court musician. In an effort to popularise music, Mysore K Vasudevacharya, along with music composer Yoga Narasimham, founded the Sangeetha Kalabhi Vardhini Sabha. Soon after, in the year 1953, upon an invitation from great danseuse Rukmini Devi Arundale, Vasudevacharya settled in Madras (now Chennai), teaching music at the popular Kalakshetra.

In memory of Vasudevacharya, a 12-hour goshti gayana (vocal ensemble) was organised on May 31, 2015 with more than 50 artistes paying tribute. To mark the diamond jubilee, the Sabha decided to organise 60 programmes in 2015-16. “So far, the number of concerts has exceeded 60 and the response has been overwhelming,” say K S Prasad and K V Murthy. There are also plans to improve the infrastructure of the building. Paying a perfect tribute to the musical maestro, the Mysore City Corporation has named the road next to the Sabha after Mysore K Vasudevacharya.

The Sabha has also been honouring achievers in the field and encouraging budding artistes through its activities. Each year, an artiste from the State is selected for the Nada Brahma award. The Sabha has also instituted Vainika Brahma award for veena artistes and Dhanur Vainika  Brahma award for violinists. In an effort to encourage young artistes, the Sabha has been identifying youths and conferring them with Nada Kishora awards for the past 10 years.

The process begins in the month of May, explains K S Prasad. Applications are invited from artistes below the age of 30 years. Ten artistes are then selected to perform at the Sabha. The best performer is felicitated with the award. Hindustani vocalist Shruthi Bode from Uttara Kannada, the 2015 Nada Kishora awardee, feels that the award has given her an opportunity to perform in prestigious platforms across South India.

Rama Bennur, a music critic, who has been associated with the Nada Brahma Sangeetha Sabha for the past 10 years, feels that “the Sabha is the pride of Mysuru.” The variety of programmes draw a huge crowd of music enthusiasts to the Sabha every year. As the Sabha crosses a special landmark this year, its strong cultural tradition is set to continue even greater into the future.

Assembly elections 2019 | Get the latest news, views and analysis on elections in Haryana and Maharashtra on DeccanHerald.com

For election-related news in Maharashtra, click here

For election-related news in Haryana, click here

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)