Tuesday, January 20, 2015


 On 6th January 2015 marked the 105th birth Anniversary of the great Carnatic Musician and Composer  G.N.Balasubramaniam.His contributions to Carnatic Classical music is looked upon with much amazement and respect by music lovers.
G.N.Balasubramaniam (Gudalur Narayanaswsamy Balasubramaniam) was born on 6th January 1910 in Gudalur near Tanjore,Madras Presidency to parents G.V.Narayanaswamy Iyer and Cisalam Ammal.His father was a High School teacher and music enthusiast.G.N.Balasubramaniam used to hear music concerts of eminent vocalists along with his parents from childhood and was very much inspired in this style of classical music.He was inspired by and fond of singers like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and other exponents.
He completed B.A.(Hons) in English Literature from Madras Christian College.His father wanted him to become a Lawyer but G.N.Balasubramaniam wanted to take music as his career and with that intention he joined for a music course at Annamalai University.He then joined for a diploma course in music under Madras University.He also learnt music from exponents like Madurai Subramania Iyer and Karur Chinnaswami Iyer.Chinnaswamy Iyer who was a maestro in violin was living next to his house and all these situations helped him to nurture,develop and sustain his interest in music.
His debut was in 1928 and he climbed to the peak of success ladder by implementing his own style which was soon followed by his contemporaries.
He got popularized as 'GNB' and his style of singing was acclaimed by music lovers.
He innovated 'laya' control and reducing 'gamakas' to appeal this classic form to laymen and learned alike.His extremely fast gamakam-laden sangathis with strength and weight and twist and turns which came in fast succession along with his sweet voice was liked by all listeners.He was the first concert musician to approach the concept of raga 'alapana' in a step-by step approach.With his charm,fame and yet humble personality, potential disciples sought  his guidance in music.His disciples includes M.L.Vasantha Kumari,Trichur V.Ramachandran,Radha Jayalakshmi,T.R.Balu,Tanjavur S.Kalyanaraman,T.S.Balasubramanian etc.
Along with percussion maestro Palghat Mani Iyer he worked out how a composition needed to be arranged and configured to unravel its richness.
Many popular musicians today sing the 'swara passages' in the same way that was arranged by GNB.He also composed several 'Kritis' and invented new ragas.
He used to sing numerous compositions without letting speed destroy the lyrical beauty of the 'Kritis' and as per the original Carnatic compositions itself.
GNB worked as the Deputy Chief Producer of Carnatic Music in All India Radio Chennai for a number of years.
In his youthful days GNB worked as hero in some Tamil films opposite

heroines like 'Vasundhara Devi and M.S.Subbulakshmi.
M.S.Subbulakshmi who earned worldwide fame as a Carnatic Music exponent was the heroine  in the super hit film 'Sakunthala'.
He acted in other films like 'Bhama Vijayam,Rukmangada',Udayanan Vasavadatha' also.
In the initial stages of her musical career M.S.Subbulakshmi was inspired by GNB's style of rendition and used to sing in concerts in that style.
G.N.Balasubramaniam joined  'Swathi Thirunal College of Music,Thiruvananthapuram' as the Principal in March 1964.
The great musician and Composer G.N.Balasubramaniam passed away on 1st March 1965.

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