Pleasure to perform before Singapore's diverse audience: TM Krishna

Ramon Magsaysay awardee and prominent Carnatic musician TM Krishna led a unique collaboration with Nadasvaram artists Sheik Mahaboob and Kaleeshabi Mahaboob at Kalaa Utsavam in Singapore this year. 

Krishna's performing career began at the age of 12
Krishna's performing career began at the age of 12. Photo courtesy: Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.

“This collaboration is unique because it is a coming together of so many different styles of perceiving and presenting Carnatic music,” Krishna told Connected to India. “It’s a pleasure to think of new content, new ways of creating a concert experience with them. The idea came from our previous work and we’ve built on previous concepts to create a new set of pieces for this event.”

Krishna's performing career began at the age of 12 with his debut concert at the Spirit of Youth series organised by the Music Academy, Chennai (India). He has since performed widely at various festivals and venues across the world, including the Madras Music Academy, National Centre for the Performing Arts (India), John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, among others.

Krishna has been travelling to Singapore to perform since the 1990s, and returned to the Lion City after almost a decade. 

“It’s always a pleasure to perform in Singapore for a diverse audience which is always open to new experiments and presentations,” Krishna said.

He also gave a talk on the art of improvisation during the course of the festival, where he hoped to demystify the concept.

“I hope that I was able to present improvisation as an accessible idea which everyone could understand. Instead of making it a difficult and unreachable goal, I hope to discuss improvisation in a more accessible way that connects with everyday life,” Krishna added.

He has trained under distinguished gurus B Seetharama Sarma, Chengalpet Ranganathan and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. 

Krishna has been travelling to Singapore to perform since the 1990s, and returned to the Lion City after almost a decade.
Krishna has been travelling to Singapore to perform since the 1990s, and returned to the Lion City after almost a decade. Photo courtesy: Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay

His musico-poetic partnership with India’s leading contemporary Tamil writer Perumal Murugan is unprecedented. Rarely have a poet and a musician who are contemporaries collaborated to bring out works of art on the ‘classical’ stage. 

Krishna has also been a pioneer in bringing the poetry of the social reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru into the Carnatic fold.

In 2016, Krishna received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of ‘his forceful commitment as artist and advocate to art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions’. In 2017, he received the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration Award for his services in promoting and preserving national integration in the country and the Professor V Aravindakshan Memorial Award for connecting Carnatic music with the common man. 

TM Krishna led a unique collaboration with Nadasvaram artists Sheik Mahaboob and Kaleeshabi Mahaboob at Kalaa Utsavam in Singapore this year.
TM Krishna led a unique collaboration with Nadasvaram artists Sheik Mahaboob and Kaleeshabi Mahaboob (pictured) at Kalaa Utsavam in Singapore this year. Photo courtesy: Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay

During their latest concert at Kalaa Utsavam, Krishna, Sheik Mahaboob and Kaleeshabi Mahaboob were accompanied by Thanjavur TR Govindarajan (tavil), Akkarai S Subhalakshmi (violin) and Praveen Sparsh (mridingam). As collaborative concerts between the practitioners of these instruments alongside singers and other performers are rarely seen, this artistic coming-together carried forward the age-old lineage where the past and present intersect to create a unique musical experience.

Author
Tushaar Kuthiala
Tushaar Kuthiala – Associate Editor

Tushaar has extensive experience as a journalist and in founding two start-up newspapers. He has developed editorial models for both copy and content, and has written several articles, news reports on a wide range of topics. He is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College and earned a post-graduate diploma in TV Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai. He has worked as a special correspondent based in New Delhi with Daily World, an international media organisation. 

Comments