Wednesday, April 6, 2011

R.I.P.! Veena Vidushi Kalpakam Swaminathan

Among the three recipients of Sangita Kala Acharya in 2002, Veena Vidushi Kalpakam Swaminathan (1922-2011) as being a true adherent of a grand tradition that she upholds with utmost reverence and integrity. Born in Sethalapatti village in Thanjavur District, Kalpakam Swaminathan was initiated into the realms of music first by her mother Abhayambal at the tender age of eight. Thereafter, she continued her training both in vocal and instrumental with stalwarts in the field like Ananthakrishna Iyer, Musiri Subramania Iyer, Budalur Krishnamurthi Sastrigal and T. L. Venkatarama Iyer.
Vidushi Kalpakam Swaminathan March 23 2008. (Photos courtesy: Ramanathan N. Iyer) 


Ramachandrena - Dikshitar Kriti by Kalpagam Swaminathan

Kalpakam Swaminathan, is known for her impeccable rendering of the compositions in the true gayaki (vocalised) style, a hallmark of the unique Thanjavur bani. Learning a vast repertoire of vainika gayaka Muthuswami Dikshitar, from an authority like T. L. Venkatarama Iyer has added yet another dimension to her high standard of performance. Kalpakam was brought into the field of teaching and assigned a job at the Kalakshetra, Chennai, by none other than Tiger Varadachariar who found in her a refined musician. Kalpakam has travelled widely in India and abroad for concerts and conducting workshops. Vidushi Kalpakam Swaminathan March 23 2008. (Photos courtesy: Ramanathan N. Iyer)

Smt. Kalpakam Swaminathan playing hastivadanAya namastubhyam of Mutthuswami Diskshitar in rAga navarOj. Video courtesy: L.Ramakrishnan's upload on his blog

Kalpakam Swaminathan, a widely respected teacher represented the true essence of a Mouna Guru who communicates with silence and humility, and imparts only the notes of excellence to her disciples. (Source:

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