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SO sweet as music

Now in an attempt to promote the art, he has started a forum Guru Krupa Trust.


THODI RAGAM and T.N.Seshagopalan! Any Carnatic music lover, even those less familiar with the art, could make this out.

Thodi ragam, which is his hallmark, will definitely find a place in all his concerts. He has so far presented close to 5000 concerts, local, international and in different media and released over 50 CDs and similar number in cassettes. He has also converted the verses of Kamba Ramayanam and Nalayira Divya Prabantham into song forms and recites the songs in almost every concert.

"Actually, my music career started when I was seven-year-old. My initial driving force was the headmaster of Sambandamoorthy Elementary School, Madurai, where I studied", says Mr. Seshagopalan, who was in the city recently to celebrate his guru C.S. Sankarasiva's centenary.

But, he says, "officially, my arangetram (maiden concert), was at the celebration of Arunagirinathar Jayanthi at Ramanathapuram in 1966. It was a divine command from my guru, Ramanathapuram C.S. Sankarasiva Bhagavathar, to present a concert on the occasion."

"Though, people identify me with Thodi ragam, for which I also have a liking, there a few others such as Bhairavi and Reethi Gowla, which I enjoy singing", he points out.

He has received over 50 titles, which includes the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2000 and Kalaimamani in 1982. But, he considers the titles given by the Kanchi Seer Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal, Andavan Swamigal and Mukoor Jeeyar as among the best received by him.

A memorable title, according to him, was the one given by the Nagaswaram-Tavil Vidwans Association of Sri Lanka in 1994. The title was Sruti Laya Bhava Gnana, Gana Kala Varidhi.

"I still continue to sing in Brahmahotsavam, Tirupathi, and Thiagaraja Aradhana, Thiruvaiyaru. Similarly, I experience a sense of contentment when I sing inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, before Paramacharial and the Mukoor Jeeyar".

The noted singer, who completed his graduation in zoology from the Madura College, here, has also been a badminton player during his school days. He was also interested in pole vault and other fields such as drama, mona acting, etc.

For a brief while, he worked as a music teacher in the music college of the Madurai Kamaraj University.

Many of his disciples have achieved good position in the field and among them are Neyveli Santanagopalan, Gayatri Girish, etc. Now as part of his efforts to promote the art, he started a forum Guru Krupa Trust, a few years ago, in which around 60 students are undergoing training. "We have plans to grant scholarships to meritorious and the poor through our trust. There are also plans to organise interactive sessions on Carnatic music in every institution in the State", he opines.

He regrets, "the last generation failed to pass on its knowledge they had on music.

To preserve this art, we should project its special qualities and its importance, as it is part of our tradition, at least now, so that it may be revived by the next generation". Stressing that some corrective measures should be taken to promote the art, he says, "the Guru Krupa Trust, was formed for this purpose and is progressing fast towards that goal".

For more information, write to, T.N.Seshagopalan, 25, Rukmini Street, West Mambalam, Chennai - 33, Ph: 044-24891819/094440-33444 or mail tnseshagopalan@yahoo.com

M.R.ARAVINDAN

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