When G.N.Balasubramaniam (GNB) captured the throne as the Prince Charming of carnatic music, he eclipsed almost all the established vocalists of that time. Such was the magic of his rare, racy and vibrant voice and his inimitable style of singing, that he became the darling of music-lovers in a flash. Naturally it rocked the boat of the old system. So they decided to strike back by spreading a canard that GNB’s music lacked the “sruti” unison. It was a sort of “FUD” factor told repeatedly to inject a virus-like stigma across the music world. As any such malignant virus, it worked to a certain extent. But the ardent fans of GNB did not mind such glitches, even if they existed!
Mysore T.Chowdiah, one of the greatest violinists of his time had accompanied GNB in many concerts. In one of the concerts at Mysore, he challenges those evil folks to come and listen to GNB and point out where he had swerved from sruti. He virtually throws down the gauntlet by implying that whoever spread such canard did so because of their inability to reach the heights in carnatic music that the great GNB has touched – ”தன் கையால ஆகாதபோனா இன்னொருத்தரை சொல்லகூடாது யாரும்”!
I am podcasting the whole song in raga Pantuvarali here. Chowdiah’s challenge follows immediately after GNB’s rendering of the raga alapana. He speaks in Tamil about GNB, but then makes a few remarks in Kannada too.
- Verbiage with a V
- Geeky epitaph