G. N. Balasubramaniam

Gudalur Narayanaswamy Balasubramaniam (6 January 1910 – 1 May 1965), popularly known as GNB, was an Indian Carnatic singer. He, along with his contemporaries Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and Madurai Mani Iyer, are referred to as the 20th century male trinity of Carnatic music. He innovated the art through emphasis on laya control and reducing the gamakas which eventually made Carnatic music appeal to the lay and the learned alike.[1] He was also a Tamil film actor.

G. N. Balasubramaniam
G. N. Balasubramaniam and M. S. Subbulakshmi in the 1940 Tamil film Shakuntalai
G. N. Balasubramaniam and M. S. Subbulakshmi in the 1940 Tamil film Shakuntalai
Background information
Born(1910-01-06)6 January 1910
OriginGudalur, Mayavaram, Tanjore District, Madras Presidency, British India
Died1 May 1965(1965-05-01) (aged 55)
Madras, Madras State, India
GenresCarnatic music - Indian Classical Music
Occupation(s)Singer
Years active1920–1965

Balasubramanian was born in Gudalur, a small village near Mayavaram in Tamil Nadu. He was the son of G V Narayanaswamy Iyer, who was a keen student of music. Throughout his younger years, he observed with utmost attention the techniques of the musicians of his day. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar became his manasika guru and inspiration. While his father dreamed of living in a villa at Luz Church road through GNB becoming a successful lawyer, the musician in GNB made way for greater goals in life. He completed his BA (Hons) in English Literature at the prestigious Christian College, Chennai, and took up a short music course at Annamalai University. under the guidance of T S Sabesa Iyer, but discontinued due to ill health. However, he joined the diploma course in music under Madras University in the first batch and Tiger Varadhachariar was the principal. Within 2 years, he was ready for concert performances. He gave his first concert in 1928.

CareerEdit

He acted in films, including Bama Vijayam (1934), Sathi Anusuya (1937),Sakuntalai (1940), Udayanan Vasavadatta (1947) (with Vasundhara Devi, mother of Vijayanthimala) and Rukmangadhan (1947). In "Sakunthalai", he appeared as Dushyantha, alongside the vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi. M.S. Subbulakshmi was fascinated by his music and embraced his style completely in her early years as mentioned in the book M S - A Life in Music by TJS George. After a short stint in the film industry, GNB returned to the Carnatic music fraternity, until his passing in 1965.

GNB, captivating audiences with brigha-laden and brisk music, emerged as one of the most prominent Carnatic musicians of the era, drawing hundreds of people to each concert; there are stories of venues so packed that those standing outside of the hall couldn't hear him and instead spent the entire 4 hour concert imagining how he would sing each song. He was famous for his renderings of "Vathapi Ganapathim" by Mutthuswamy Dikshitar and "Vinayaka Ninnu vina" by E. V. Ramakrishna Bhagavathar, both in the ragam Hamsadhwani; in fact, it was after hearing his rapid rendition of Vathapi that his father placed him under formal music training. He also frequently sang songs in the ragam Panthuvarali, such as "Paripalaya Sarasiruha" and "Siva Siva Siva", both composed by Saint Thyagaraja. After singing either a long main piece or a Ragam Tanam Pallavi, famous ones being "Unadarishanam Kidai Kimo" in Kalyani and "Tilai Eesanai Ka" in Kambhoji, he would finish the concert with his popular bhajans and thukuddas, most notably "Dikku Teriyadha Kaatil" by Subramanya Bharati, "Radha Mukha Kamala" in the ragam Hindustani Kapi by Sri Papanasam Sivan, and "Radha Sametha Krishna" in the raga Misra Yaman.

Sri GNB also released many records over his career, most notably the krithi "Vasudevayani" in the ragam Kalyani by Saint Tyagaraja, which reportedly earned him Rs 10,000, or around ₹818,153.88 in the present day. Other songs he was famous for include "Brochevarevarura" in Kamas by Mysore Vasudevachariar, "Marukelara O Raghava" in the ragam Jayanthasri by Saint Tyagaraja, "Maragathavallim Manasa" in Kamboji by Mutthuswamy Dikshitar, "Swaminatha Paripalaya" in Nattai by Mutthuswamy Dikshitar, "Ragasudha rasa" in Andholika by Saint Tyagaraja, and others.

He composed over 250 krithis, most in Telugu with a few in Sanskrit and Tamil. GNB also invented new ragas. He taught a number of students during his active years. Most famous among them are M. L. Vasanthakumari, Radha Jayalakshmi, Tanjore S. Kalyanaraman, Trichur V. Ramachandran, T. R. Balu, T.S.Balasubramanian, and Ragini.[1]

GNB worked as the Deputy Chief Producer of Carnatic Music, in A.I.R Chennai for a number of years alongside Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer who was the Chief Producer for Carnatic Music and Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna who was the Producer for Light Music. GNB joined the Swathi Thirunal College of Music, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala as Principal in March 1964.

His health deteriorated and worsened after a major stroke in the late 1950s. He died on 1 May 1965, aged 55.

Composition Type Raga Tala Language Other Info
Amboruha Padame Varnam Ranjani Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Bharama Baluni Krithi Hamsanadam Adi Telugu In praise of Parashakthi
Bhuvanatreya Krithi Mohanam Adi Sanskrit In praise of Sasta
Enn Manathamarai Krithi Ritigoulam Adi Tamil In praise of Shakti
Entho Muralida Krithi Kanada Rupakam Telugu In praise of Shakti
Gathi Veravarama Krithi Bhairavi Misrachapu Telugu In praise of Kamakshi
Intha Paraaku Neeve Krithi Bhairavi Adi Telugu In praise of Bhairavi
Kamala Charane Krithi Amruthabehag Adi Sanskrit In praise of Shakti
Karimukha Varada Krithi Naatai Adi Sanskrit In praise of Ganesha
Karuna Jooda Radha Krithi Sahana Adi Telugu In praise of Parashakthi
Kavalai Ellam Krithi Saraswati Adi Tamil In praise of Shakthi
Madhurapuri Kalyani Krithi Purvi Kalyani Misrachapu Sanskrit In praise of Shakthi
Manasaraga Krithi Abhogi Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Marivere Gathi Krithi Malavi Adi Telugu In praise of Prashakthi
Maravakune Ninnu Krithi Arabhi Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Nakabhaya Vara Krithi Naataikurinji Rupakam Telugu In praise of Parashakthi
Nee Charanambhujamunu Krithi Keeravani Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Nee Daya Raadaa Varnam Andolika Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Nee Padame Gati Krithi Nalinakanthi Rupakam Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Nee Samanamevaru Krithi Shubhapanthuvarali Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Nirvadhi Sukhadayaki Krithi Malayamarutham Rupakam Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Paritaapamu Ieka Krithi Shanmukhapriya Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Paraanmukhamela Krithi Kaanada Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Paramakrupasaagari Krithi Yadukulakambhoji Rupakam Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Ranjani Niranjani Krithi Ranjani Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Sada Palaya Sarasakshi Krithi Mohanam Adi Sanskrit In praise of Shakthi
Santhathamu Ninne Korithini Krithi Valaj Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Saraswati Namostute Krithi Saraswati Rupakam Sanskrit In praise of Saraswati
Shankara Mahadeva Krithi Devamanohari Adi Telugu In praise of Shakthi
Chakra Raja Nilaye Krithi Siva Sakthi Adi Sanskrit In praise of Shakthi
Shivananda kamavardhani Krithi Kamavardani Adi Sanskrit In praise of Shakthi
Vara Vallabha Ramana Krithi Hamsadhwani Adi Sanskrit In praise of Ganesha

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "GNB, the good friend". The Hindu. 23 May 2003.

CompositionsEdit