Carnatic musician Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna died aged 86 on Tuesdayafter a prolonged period of illness.
Balamuralikrishna, 86, a Carnatic vocalist, playback singer, composer and actor, known to South Indian audience for over eight decades since aged six. He has composed more than 400 kirtanas and songs in Telugu, Sanskrit, Kannada and Tamil.
Balamuralikrishna received the Padma Vibhushan and several other honours in culture. He also won the honour of Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2005.
Born in Sankaraguptam in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, Balamuralikrishna began singing at the age of six years and was a good flute player, besides using instruments viola and violin.
He is famous with the iconic song “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” and has performed over 25,000 concerts so far, including some with other legends like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Hariprasad Chaurasia and Kishori Amonkar.
As his mother died when he was an infant, his father raised him and realising his penchant for music, he was put under the tutelage of Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu, a direct descendant of the shishya parampara of Tyagaraja.
Balamuralikrishna gave his first full-fledged concert at a Thyagaraja Aradhana, Vijayawada. Musunuri Suryanarayana Murty Bhagavatar, a distinguished Harikatha performer, saw the musical talent in the child and gave the prefix ‘Bala’to the young Muralikrishna and ever since he was known as Balamuralikrishna.
By 15, he had mastered all the 72 melakartha ragas and had composed krithis. The Janaka Raga Manjari was published in 1952 and recorded as Raagaanga Ravali in a nine-volume series by the Sangeeta Recording Company.