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Tribute to Nagai Sriram

A lean younger man, dressed impeccably in kurta and dhoti, sharp eyes, chewing vethalai — that was violinist Nagai Sriram, who handed away lately. The Carnatic music world is shocked over his premature demise.

Born to Vasantha and Rangasami, Sriram initially learnt from his grandmother, Komalavalli. He underwent additional coaching underneath his uncle, Nagai Muralidharan.

Our musical journey started collectively. As younger learners, we frequently practised collectively. We received awards collectively — Yuva Puraskar from Sangeet Natak Academy, and Kalki Krishnamurthy award. We have now carried out collectively a number of concert events within the U.S., Australia, Europe, UAE, and throughout India. He was the recipient of the very best violinist award from The Music Academy for eight consecutive years in addition to Shanmukha Sangeetha Shiromani from Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai.

Prepared for challenges

There are two sorts of violin accompaniment. First, when the violinist doesn’t attempt to reproduce the vocalist’s type however performs in a way that doesn’t disturb the vocalist’s creativeness. Second, the violinist evokes the vocalist to offer his/her greatest and throws extra challenges, thereby elevating the live performance’s normal a number of notches larger. Nagai Sriram undoubtedly belonged to the second class. This was a high quality related to my guru, the legendary violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman.

Sriram might reproduce with ease T.N. Seshagopalan’s kanakkus, T.V. Sankaranarayanan’s sarvalaghus, the chaste music of Hyderabad Brothers, Neyveli Santhanagopalan’s soulful phrases, Ravikiran’s illusionary ideas, Somwya’s uncommon ragas, Sanjay Subramaniam’s aptitude, and Malladi brothers’s classicism. The most effective half about Sriram was he would all the time be smiling whether or not he had reproduced the vocalist’s concept efficiently or not.

He cherished and relished impromptu challenges on stage. He might gauge the temper of the principle artiste’s in addition to the heartbeat of the viewers in a jiffy. He would embellish and elevate particularly my RTP ideas. An “Oh bale” accompanied by a smile, and his musical responses to my swara/kanakku posers will stay etched in my reminiscence. A viral video of Sriram alternating between Nalinakanti and Bindumalini ragas in a Swarakshara RTP at our live performance in Parthasarathy Swami Sabha proves his musical abilities.

One other live performance that involves thoughts is the one we carried out at Muscat. His violin strings broke halfway via the efficiency. Tout de suite, he mounted it and performed a super-fast sangathi in Bhairavi, enthralling the rasikas. However artistes and organisers have been usually miffed by his last-minute excuses for not having the ability to carry out at a live performance.

When Sriram carried out together with his guru Nagai Muralidharan, he would like to play in an unobtrusive method. Be it a melancholic Subhapantuvarali or a sedate sama or a brisk Begada, his music was marked by intellectuality and emotion.

He shared an ideal rapport with percussion exponents akin to Mannargudi Easwaran, Patri Sathish Kumar, Ok. Arunprakash, Ok.V. Gopalakrishnan, and Guruprasad. It was enjoyable to observe him impersonate yesteryear legends.

Gone too quickly, my good friend. You’ll all the time be missed on stage.

The author is a widely known Carnatic vocalist.

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