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Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil Culture - the Heart of Tamil National Consciousness > Tamil  Music > Padmabhushan S.Balachander

TAMIL MUSIC - தமிழ் இசை

Padmabhushan S.Balachander

1927 - 1990

Veena Balachander

Veena S. Balachander - Video Documentary

"S. Balachander, born in Madras on 18th January 1927, enjoyed the privilege of having had ancestors who belonged to and lived in Tanjore area, acclaimed as the seat of culture and fine arts in South India.
From the very early age of five Balachander started showing very great interest for Classical Music, and a greater desire to play upon some musical instruments. The first one he ever attempted upon being a Kanjeera, a small circular percussion instrument.

A child prodigy as he was, within one year of practice, he started accompanying his brother (a merited vocalist) and other musicians on the Kanjeera during regular concert engagements, in sabhas, in temple festivals, in devotional congregations, etc.

From that early age of six started Balachander's career as a concert musician on a steady growth, from day to day, from success to success, from instrument to instrument. To explain the last, one after the other, Balachander-untutored - learned to play, as the years rolled by, several musical instruments ranging from Tabla, Harmonium, Bul-bul-thara, Mridangam, Thar-shenai, Dilruba, Tabla-Tarang and Sitar.

In Sitar, he was a full-fledged solo-concert-artiste between his age of twelve and Sixteen, and on sitar (The North Indian instrument) it is interesting to note that Balachander performed south Indian classical carnatic music.

From his age of fifteen, for nearly three years, Balachander served as an artiste in the staff of "All India Radio�, Madras, where he had the unique opportunity of playing on all the instruments mentioned above, during broadcasts almost daily, rivaling in solo recitals, participating in orchestral ensembles, accompanying several artistes, deliberating on Rhythm as a weekly special program on percussion instruments alone, and composing and conducting musical pieces of his own.

This hectic period of playing on all these instruments came to a sudden end-an end brought off by the entry of Veena into Balachander's life. This also coincided with his leaving the services of "All India Radio".

Realizing the greatness of this wonderful instrument, the Veena, Balachander felt from the first moment he started playing on it, that this instrument demanded his undivided attention, his every skill, his utmost concentration, and his profound respect. This resulted in his becoming an established concert-Veena-player within two years of his taking up the instrument.

Though Balachander did not have any master or tutor, even to guide him during the initial stages of Veena-playing, he has never for once felt it as a handicap. In fact, he said, on the other hand -"By the grace of God, it gave him the unique opportunity to practice on his own, strive by himself, and ultimately bring credit for himself for his achievement of having evolved a new trend, and a new style, and a new school of Veena-playing�.

Balachander has thus created a style of his own, considered and accepted to be hitherto unknown unattempted and unexcelled.

Balachander is also credited with the great achievement of having secured a unique place for Veena as a 'pucca' concert-instrument (on par with even the concert vocalists), where tens of thousands have come to hear him during some of his recitals, whereas prior to this Veena was treated mainly as an instrument for 'chamber-concerts' for the benefit of only a selected few listeners.

Hence, it is no wonder that Balachander was considered to be one of the topmost Veena-players of India today, in the exposition of classical carnatic music. He also possessed a substantial knowledge of North Indian Classical Music, apart from having a keen sense of appreciation for western classical music.

As a composer and a conductor of his own musical works, Balachander created music for certain choice films, and orchestral pieces for and from 'All India Radio' stations. Such of his compositions, which are rare in their variety and beauty, are earnestly sought after, eagerly awaited for, and extremely appreciated.

But, it is 'Veena', in his own words and true feelings which was his uppermost, his life. His life, his everything. " Courtesy: http://tinpan.fortunecity.com/harrison/624/sbprofile.htm

Veena S. Balachander - Video Documentary



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