Song of Surrender

Saturday, 2 September 2017

A double celebration for Guru Kalyani Sharma

By Janaki Krishnamoorthy

Guru Kalyani Sharma (3rd from right).
Mumbai based eminent Carnatic musician, Sangita Kala Acharya, Kalyani Sharma,  was  recently felicitated by her disciples and others, to mark two milestones in her life—her 80th birthday and 60 years of musical journey. The event ‘Guru Vandanam’ organised by her disciples in Mumbai, was inaugurated by four  leading ladies in Carnatic music—Bhagavathi Mani, Alamelu Mani, Radha Namboodiri from Mumbai and R. Subbalakshmi from Thiruvananthapuram. It was a mixed fare comprising felicitation by her  disciples, eminent musicians and reputed sangeeta sabhas, followed by a riveting documentary on her  life, and  group performances by her vocal, veena and violin  disciples, titled Sangeeta Samarpanam.

In the six decades of her musical journey, vidushi Kalyani Sharma, an A-grade artist of All India Radio  in both vocal and veena, has contributed immensely  to Carnatic music both as a teacher and as an artist. Conscientiously carrying forward the rich pristine music she has imbibed from three great gurus—Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, K.S. Narayanaswamy and T. Brinda—she has created a niche for herself in the world of Carnatic music.  Significantly, it is Mumbai’s music world that has largely benefitted from her rich musical repertoire as she has spent almost five decades in this city.

She has imparted training in both vocal and veena at reputed institutions including  her alma mater—the Swati Tirunal Music College, Thiruvananthapuram and Shanmukhananda Sangeeta Vidyalaya, Mumbai from where she retired as Joint Director in 1999. Since then she has been training senior students privately from her residence. She has created a large family of musicians, spanning across three generations, many of whom are performing artists and teachers residing in India and abroad. 

Kalyani Sharma has published three books—101 Keertana Mani Malai, A Compilation of Padams, and the much acclaimed Sri Kanchimamuni Pancharatna Haaram (a musical  tribute to the Paramacharya, composed on the lines of  Tyagaraja’s  Pancharatna kritis).

Many awards have come her way, including the Sangita Kala Acharya and Bodhaka from the Music Academy, Chennai, the Sri Mahaswamy Puraskar from Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham and  the K.S. Narayanaswamy Veena Sangeeta Ratna Puraskar from Veena Sangeetha Sangh, Thiruvananthapuram. She was also honoured by Sri Semmangudi Golden Jubilee Trust Chennai,  for her contribution to Carnatic music in 2013.

Even today, at 81, vidushi Kalyani Sharma is raring to do much more.  “With guru bhakti and guru’s blessings you can achieve anything. I was very lucky to have had such great gurus and it is their blessings that have enabled me to achieve whatever little I have today. I want to continue teaching and also learn more. There is no end to what one can do in music. Music has to go on,” she avers. 

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