Veteran Carnatic singer and musician, Balamuralikrishna, passed away on Nov. 22 in Chennai, he was 86. He had not been in good health for quite a while.
Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna was born on July 6, 1930, in Sankaraguptam in the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. His talent was inherited—his father Pattabhiramayya was a famous flutist and his mother, Suryakanthama, was a proficient veena player.
He gave his first public performance at age 8 and attained the honorary prefix Bala after this performance. He dropped out of school after this and started pursuing music.
He embarked on his long musical journey and mastered numerous musical instruments including the kanjira, mridangam and violin. He composed music for films and even acted in some. He played the role of Narada in the 1967 film, Bhakta Prahlada. After which he repeated the character in several films but soon got bored with it.
“He was truly an all rounder who could really do anything in music, all with a smile on his face. Very much like his music, he lived life to its fullest, never constricted by what society thought of him,” believes Carnatic music vocalist, T M KrishnaKrishna.
Balamuralikrishna composed several thillanans, kirits and varnams and revived old ragas like Narthak and Sunadavinodini. He composed several new ragas like Lavangi, Mahathi, Manorama, Murali, Omkari, Prathimadhyamavathi, Rohini, Saravashree, Sumukham, Sushma, Ganapathi, Siddhi and Pushkara Godvari.
He was also known for his love of cars and liked to try his hands at the casinos whenever he travelled abroad.
He received the Padma Vibhushan, the National Film Award and Sangita Kalanidhi and was honoured by the French Government in 2005 with Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.