TM Krishna conferred Sangita Kalanidhi Award

Thodur Madabusi Krishna, a renowned Carnatic classical vocalist known for challenging conventional ideas about caste and gender politics in Carnatic music, has been awarded the prestigious Sangita Kalanidhi award by the Madras Music Academy. The award recognizes Krishna’s powerful voice, adherence to tradition, exploratory approach to music, and his use of music as a tool for social reform.

T.M. Krishna began his musical journey at a young age. At the age of 12, Krishna presented his debut concert at the Madras Music Academy.

Challenging Conventions

Krishna has been at the forefront of challenging the conventional ideas about caste and gender politics in Carnatic music. He has highlighted the institutional issues and non-inclusivity of the famed December Music Season, which stems from the Music Academy’s first annual conference on Carnatic music in 1929.
In 2015, Krishna opted out of singing at the Music Academy, citing concerns about the “commodification” and “socially stifling” nature of the December Music Season. He also emphasized the non-inclusive nature of the art form and the music season, where non-Brahmin musicians and certain art forms such as Pariyattam, Villupattu, Gaana-Pattu, and Kuthu were being left out.

Promoting Inclusivity

Krishna has been advocating for the inclusion of various art forms and breaking down the caste elitism in the existing Carnatic music system. He started a music festival in the fishing village of Uroor-Olcott Kuppam to promote inclusivity and unite various art forms.

In February 2024, Krishna returned to the Music Academy to present a concert, Tyagaraja Aradhana, as an ode to the Telugu saint-composer. Last year, he also organized a ‘Nadaswaram and Thavil Festival’ in collaboration with Narada Gana Sabha to promote the inclusion of nadaswaram and thavil players, who are predominantly non-Brahmins and often excluded from the kutcheri circuit.

Madras Music Academy’s Recognition

The Madras Music Academy’s decision to confer the Sangita Kalanidhi award on T.M. Krishna is a significant recognition of his contributions to Carnatic music and his efforts to challenge the status quo. According to the President of the Madras Music Academy, Krishna was chosen for his powerful voice, adherence to tradition, exploratory approach to music, and his use of music as a tool for social reform.

Other Awardees

The Madras Music Academy also announced other awards along with the Sangita Kalanidhi. The Nritya Kalanidhi was awarded to Mohiniyattam exponent Neena Prasad, who runs music academies in Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram. The two Sangeet Acharya awards were given to mridangam guru Professor Parasalla Ravi and Carnatic vocalist Geetha Raja, a student of the renowned T. Brinda of the Veenai Dhanammal school of Carnatic Music.

Sangita Kalanidhi Award

The Sangita Kalanidhi award, instituted by the Madras Music Academy, is the most prestigious recognition in the field of Carnatic music. It is awarded to musicians who have made significant contributions to the art form and have demonstrated excellence in their performances and teachings.
The award not only acknowledges the artistic achievements of the recipient but also serves as a platform to showcase their talent and inspire future generations of musicians. It is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Carnatic music and the importance of preserving and promoting this art form.


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1 Comment

  1. Dr.Cajetan Coelho

    March 18, 2024 at 9:35 pm

    Congratulations to Thodur Madabusi Krishna.

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