Balamuralikrishna, the teacher, in disciple K. Krishnakumar’s definition, is an embodiment of music, love and affection. His words and deeds always left many memorable impressions for everyone. There’s a reason why singer Krishnakumar has been a constant companion to the legend’s concerts for the past three-and-a-half years.
“There was a time he had undergone a traumatic psychological setback. Coinciding with that phase, a mass wedding of 100 couples was about to take place in Kerala and Soorya Krishnamoorthy had asked me if I could bring my teacher to bless them with his songs. Though I was unsure of him attending the event, I made an attempt and he agreed. That night, after the function, facing the lake inside a hotel, he rendered a swara in Hamsadhwani raga. I didn’t know that it was the start of my long time association with him,” Krishnakumar recalls.
He draws parallels to this student-teacher association to another version of Gurukula system. Post marriage, Krishnakumar’s wife and singer Binni Krishnakumar was also under the tutelage of Balamuralikrishna.
The acquaintance of classical vocalist N.P. Ramaswamy and Balamuralikrishna on the other hand started in erstwhile Madras. This tale of friendship dates back to more than three decades. The relation was well reciprocated, with no air of formalities in between — they both attended each other’s concerts. “He was a very versatile personality. A perfectionist in every aspect, be it in what he learns and what he teaches. There was a systematic approach he kept in many things. Not just singing, he was adept at playing instruments too like veena, violin and mridangam,” says Ramaswamy.
The camaraderie worked out for Apple Music Academy, a music school in Kochi where Balamuralikrishna was appointed as the visiting director. “His role was as a once-in-a-month visiting faculty. He tried to meet this promise to his best, despite the busy schedule he was engaged with,” says Ramaswamy....