G. N. Balasubramaniam
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|G. N. Balasubramaniam|
|Born||6 January 1910|
|Origin||[Gudalur, near Mayavaram in Tanjore District], Madras Presidency, India|
|Died||1 May 1965
Madras, Madras State, India
|Genres||Carnatic music - Indian Classical Music|
Gudalur Narayaswamy Balasubramaniam (Tamil: ஜி.என்.பாலசுப்பிரமணியம்) (6 Jan 1910 – 1 May 1965), popularly known as GNB, was a vocalist in the Carnatic tradition. He innovated the art through emphasis on laya control & reducing the gamakas which eventually made Carnatic music appeal to the lay and the learned alike. He was also a Tamil film actor.
Early life and background
Balasubramanian was born in Gudalur, a small village near Mayavaram in Tanjore, India. He was the son of G. V. Narayanaswamy Iyer and Visalam Ammal. His father was a keen student of music. Throughout his younger years, he observed with utmost attention the techniques of the musicians of his day. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar became his manasika guru and inspiration. While his father dreamed of living in a villa at Luz Church road through GNB becoming a successful lawyer, the young musician in G.N.B made way for greater goals in life. He completed his B.A.(Hons) in English Literature at the prestigious Christian College, Chennai, and took up a short music course at Annamalai University. under the guidance of Sri T.S. Sabesa Iyer, but discontinued due to ill health. However, he joined the diploma course in music under Madras University in the first batch and Sri Tiger Varadachariar was the Principal . Within 2 years, he was ready for concert performances.
He acted in films, including Bhama Vijayam ( Sathi Anusuya),Sakunthala (Udayanan Vasavadatta (with Vasundhara Devi, mother of Vijayanthimala),and Rukmangada. In "Sakunthalai", he appeared as Dushyantha, alongside the vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi. M.S. Subbulakshmi was fascinated by his music and embraced his style completely in her early years as mentioned in the book M S - A Life in Music by TJS George. After a short stint in the film industry, GNB returned to the Carnatic music fraternity, until his passing in 1965.
He was also the first major Carnatic musician to moot the idea of Indian music as a single entity rather than separating it into Hindustani & Carnatic systems. He emphasized the richness of the composition with expansive improvisation passages.
Though GNB's music is often fast pace & rich with swara prastharas, he has also rendered numerous compositions in strictly in the 2nd kala and not letting speed destroy the lyrical beauty of Carnatic compositions. Most of these compositions are the ones that he popularized and revived from the Trinity's repertoire with devoted support from the percussion musician Palghat Mani Iyer. The duo would work out exactly how a composition needs to be arranged and configured to unravel its richness before being performed.
A well-known example of many such arranged pieces is the swara passages (chittaswaram) that GNB composed for the Vara Raga Laya composition set to the Chechukhamboji raga by St. Thyagaraja. Many musicians today sing the swara passages in the same way that is arranged by GNB, because of its rhythmic dynamism and unusually beautiful swara combinations of the raga.
His introduction of shruthi bedam, a technically challenging approach of shifting raga from one to another by taking the last note of a raga as the tonic note and starting another raga with it. Today this method is almost used in the renditions of most popular Carnatic musicians. The Music Academy, after detailed discussion agreed with his approach to sruthi bedha, as St Thyagraja himself is said to have used it in one of his songs.
He gave performing opportunities for young upcoming musicians like Palghat R. Raghu, Lalgudi Jayaraman, M. S. Gopalakrishnan, his disciples T.R. Balasubramaniam, M.L. Vasantha Kumari, T. S. Balasubramaniam and the late Tanjore S. Kalyanaraman, Tanjore.S.Kodandaraman, an All India Radio violin artiste.
He composed over 250 compositions krithis in Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu.
GNB also composed kritis and invented new ragas. He taught a number of students during his active years. Most famous among them are M. L. Vasanthakumari, Radha Jayalakshmi, Tanjore S. Kalyanaraman, Trichur V. Ramachandran, T. R. Balu, T.S.Balasubramanian, and Ragini.
GNB worked as the Deputy Chief Producer of Carnatic Music, in A.I.R Chennai for a number of years alongside Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer who was the Chief Producer for Carnatic Music and Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna who the Producer for Light Music and joined the Swathi Thirunal College of Music, Thiruvananthapuram as Principal in March, 1964 state Kerala.
His health deteriorated and worsened by an episode of a major stroke in the late 1950s. He died on 1 May 1965.
|Amboruha Padame||Varnam||Ranjani||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Bharama Baluni||Krithi||Hamsanadam||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Parashakthi|
|Bhuvanatreya||Krithi||Mohanam||Adi||Sanskrit||In praise of Sasta|
|Enn Manathamarai||Krithi||Rithigowlai||Adi||Tamil||In praise of Shakthi|
|Entho Muralida||Krithi||Kanada||Rupakam||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Gathi Veravarama||Krithi||Bhairavi||Misrachapu||Telugu||In praise of Kamakshi|
|Intha Paraaku Neeve||Krithi||Bhairavi||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Bhairavi|
|Kamala CharaNe||Krithi||Amruthabehag||Adi||Sanskrit||In praise of Shakthi|
|Karimugha Varadha||Krithi||Naatai||Adi||Sanskrit||In praise of Ganesha|
|Karuna Jooda Radha||Krithi||Shahana||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Parashakthi|
|Kavalai Ellam||Krithi||Saraswati||Adi||Tamil||In praise of Shakthi|
|Madhurapuri Kalyani||Krithi||Purvi Kalyani||Misrachapu||Sanskrit||In praise of Shakthi|
|Manasaraga||Krithi||Abhogi||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Marivere Gathi||Krithi||Malavi||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Prashakthi|
|Maruvane Ninnu||Krithi||Arabhi||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Nakabhaya Vara||Krithi||Naataikurinji||Rupakam||Telugu||In praise of Parashakthi|
|Nee Charanambhujamunu||Krithi||Keeravani||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Nee Daya Raadaa||Varnam||Andolika||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Nee Padame Gati||Krithi||Nalinakanthi||Rupakam||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Nee Samanamevaru||Krithi||Shubhapanthuvarali||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Nirvadhi Sukhadayaki||Krithi||Malayamarutham||Rupakam||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Paritaapamu Ieka||Krithi||Shanmukhapriya||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Paraanmukhamela||Krithi||Kaanada||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Paramakrupasaagari||Krithi||Yadukulakambhoji||Rupakam||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Ranjani Niranjani||Krithi||Ranjani||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Sada Palaya Sarasakshi||Krithi||Mohanam||Adi||Sanskrit||In praise of Shakthi|
|Saraswati Namostute||Krithi||Saraswati||Rupakam||Sanskrit||In praise of Saraswati|
|Shankara Mahadeva||Krithi||Devamanohari||Adi||Telugu||In praise of Shakthi|
|Sri Chakra Raja Nilaye||Krithi||Siva Sakthi||Adi||Sanskrit||In praise of Shakthi|
|Shivananda kamavardhani||Krithi||Kamavardani||Adi||Sanskrit||In praise of Shakthi|
|Vara Vallabha Ramana||Krithi||Hamsadhwani||Adi||Sanskrit||In praise of Ganesha|
- "GNB, the good friend". The Hindu. May 23, 2003.