T. Brinda

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T. Brinda
Born 1912
Origin Madras Presidency, British India
Died 1996 (aged 84)
Genres Carnatic music
Occupation(s) vocalist of Indian classical music
Instruments vocals, saraswati veena

Thanjavur Brinda (1912-1996) was one of the representatives of the Veenai Dhanammal school of Carnatic Music. She was primarily a vocalist, although she also played the Veenai.[1] She is affectionately referred to as 'Brindamma', by her fans.[2][3][4]

Life[edit]

Brinda had much of her initial training from her mother Kamakshi. This training was in the Veenai Dhanammal style, a style of Carnatic Music known for its unhurried, alluring movements, as also for its use of intricate gamakas (graces) in the handling of ragas (modes). Additionally, Brinda trained for a substantial length of time under Kanchipuram Naina Pillai, whose style of music was marked by agility and robustness in laya (rhythm). After her training under Naina Pillai, Brinda learnt from her aunt Lakshmiratnam. Veenai Dhanammal, who was also Brinda's grandmother, herself taught her some compositions. Brinda absorbed both the sublime and intricate Dhanammal style and Naina Pillai's fast paced masculine music and blended them seamlessly into her singing.

Her peers and music connoisseurs regarded her as a person of superlative musical knowledge. She was an expert at rendering ragas that featured complex patterns and subtle gamakas, such as Begada, Mukhari, Sahana, Suruti, Varali and Yadukulakambhoji. She was a repository of Kshetrayya padams and javalis (romantic compositions rich in musical content) and many rare compositions of the Trinity of Carnatic Music and Patnam Subramania Iyer.

Many talented and popular musicians were attracted by Brinda's musical scholarship and expertise, and trained under her. Carnatic Musicians such as Sangeetha Kalanidhis Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M.S. Subbulakshmi and R K Srikanthan have learnt from her. The musicians Ramnad Krishnan, Aruna Sairam, Chitravina Ravikiran, B. Krishnamoorthy, Chitravina Ganesh, K.N. Shashikiran, Kiranavali Vidyasankar, Geetha Raja and B. Balasubrahmaniyan have been Brinda's full-time students. Her grandson and direct disciple Thiruvarur S. Girish is also an accomplished Carnatic musician. In her earlier years, Brinda performed extensively with her younger sister, T. Muktha and in her later years, with her daughter Vegavahini Vijayaraghavan. Brinda did not wish to record commercially, hence only private recordings of her performances are available. Brinda was also a visiting artist at the University of Washington, Seattle from 1968-69 and 1977-78.

Awards[edit]

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