Garimella Balakrishna Prasad
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Sree Garimella Balakrishna Prasad
|Born||9 November 1948|
Rajamundry, Andhra Pradesh, India
|Occupation(s)||Classical singer and composer|
|Years active||1970– present|
Garimella Balakrishna Prasad (born 9 November 1948) is an Indian classical devotional singer, compose, T.T.D Asthana Vidwaan and Ahobhilamatam Asthana Vidwaan. He served Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam's Annamacharya Project as Special Grade Vocal Artiste from 1978 to 2006.
He is regarded as a pioneer in composing and rendering Annamacharya Sankeerthanas in various Indian musical genres like classical, semi-classical, light and folk styles. He composed tunes for the lyrics of nearly 1200 songs composed by various poets. Of these nearly 800 of them were Annamacharya sankirtanas, and this is a record. To mention a few most popular sankeerthanas set to tune by Sri Prasad are Vinaro Bhagyamu Vishnukatha, Jagadapu Chanavula, Vachenu Alamelumanga, Tiruveedhula Merasi, Choodaramma Satulaala, Jayalakhmi Varalakshmi, Aadimoolame maaku angaraksha, Mangambudhi Hamumantha, Antayu neeve, Yemani pogadudume, Annimantramulu and Pidikita Thalambrala.
Balakrishna Prasad was born in Rajamundry, Andhra Pradesh to Krishnaveni and Narasimha Rao, a music teacher and a Vaggeyakara. He holds a Diploma in Carnatic Music. He is an 'A' grade vocal artist of the All India Radio (AIR).
He specialised in Annamacharya compositions under the tutelage of Sangita Kalanidhi, Lt . Sri Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, who initiated him into the nuances of classical music. He was closely associated with Nedunuri Krishnamurthy in not only learning music, but also in composing music to Annamacharya Sankeerthanas, publishing books with musical notation and audio CD recordings.
Prof. D. Pasupathi also taught Annamacharya songs as well as classical kritis during two-year scholarship course offered by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna's music, mellifluous voice and unique rendering inspired Sri Balakrishna Prasad to learn classical music. Sri Balakrishna Prasad also received musical training from Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna.
He joined the Annamacharya Project after completing his diploma in Carnatic classical vocal music, in 1978 as a vocal artist. The project established to promote Annamacharya's music and literature, soon became the medium through which he was able to bring forth his musical prowess. From the inception till his retirement in 2006, he remained the principal exponent of Annamacharya Project. He rendered remarkable services at various levels to raise it into a top cultural organisation.
His Nadopasana spans over four decades. Absolute faith, total commitment and the zeal for perfection are hallmarks of his music. He consistently endeavours to improve his art and continues to grow as an artist.
He performed in more than five thousand vocal concerts, set tune to more than six hundred Annamacharya songs, gave audio recordings for TTD, published books with musical notations and conducted classes, teaching Annamacharya songs to make them more popular.
Unique contributions and records
- He is the inventor of "Sankeerthana Yagnam", a stage where a large number of songs are sung by a singer on a single stage, which spans for more than a day. Sankeerthana Yagnam's performed by Garimella Balakrishna Prasad: Visakhapatnam in the year 1997, Vijayawada in the year 1999 with more than 200 songs, Tirupati in the year 2001 with a record number of more than 300 songs, Hyderabad in the year 2003 and 2007 with more than 200 songs. Some of these were telecast by TV channels such as MAA TV, Bhakthi TV etc.
- He crossed the one hundred mark of teaching Annamacharya sankeerthans through "Hari Sankeerthanam", a program telecast on BHAKTHI TV (a sister concern of NTv), that targets teaching music to the common man. It is mentionable that his second son Sri GVN Anila Kumar has participated as student in this feature and thousands of music lovers are benefited by learning directly from Sri Balakrishna Prasad.
- "LAKSHA GALAARCHANA" is an extraordinary feature wherein Sri Balakrishna Prasad has led more than one lakh sixty thousand singers all across India on a single day, 10 May 2008, at Parade grounds, Secunderabad. This feature is conducted by "SILICON ANDHRA" (a US based organisation) in co-ordination with Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) State Government and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (T.T.D). This feature is telecast in live simultaneously by many TV Channels in India and abroad.
- More than 5000 concerts by a singer with Annamacharya sankeerthanas.
- More than 700 songs set to tune by a music composer for a lyricist.
- Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams has honoured Sri Balakrishna Prasad with a certificate of appreciation in the year 2006 for his extra ordinary service
- Being a Vaggeyakara he has penned sankeerthanas on lord Anjaneya "ANJANEYA KRITI MANI MALA" (21 kritis), on lord Ganesha (50 kritis), Navagrahas, Light music songs and on other lords. His own compositions are more than 1000 in number. Some of them are published as books with musical notations.
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Annamacharya Sankeerthanas, T.T.D Recordings
Annamacharya Sankeerthanas, Other recordings
His tunes for Annamayya sankeerthana's has been published by TTD.
Awards, titles and felicitations
- Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), Tirupati, Asthana Vidwan appointment on 16 November 2012.
- ASTHANA SANGEETHA VIDWAN of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, Title was awarded on 8 October 2010.
- ANDHRA PRADESH GOVERNMENT UGADI PURASKARAM by the Department of Cultural Affairs, A.P. Government in the year 2007.
- ANNAMAYYA SANKEERTHANA MAHATI, in the year 2001, by T.T.D (on the successful completion of SANKEERTHANA YAGNMAN) at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
- ANNAMAYYA NAADA JYOTHI, in 1997, California, USA, by SVASA (Sri Venkateswara Annamacharya Society of America)
- SRI ANNAMACHARYA VIDWANMANI, in 1997, California, USA, by SAPNA (Sri Annamacharya Project of North America)
- GANAKALA VISAARADA, in 1999, by Cultural wing of State Bank of India, Labbipet, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
- ANNAMAYYA NAADA SUDHA SAMRAT, in 2003, by Annamayya sankeertaamruta varshini, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
- ENCHANTING SINGER, in 2001 by Delhi Telugu Academy.
- MASTER M.N. AWARD, in 1998, "World Teachers Trust", an International Organization, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
- SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE, in 2000, "Academy of Fine Arts", Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
- Uttama Purusha, in 2000, Andhra Samskrithika Samithi, Hosuru, Tamil Nadu.
- GURU Sishya Puraskam, in 1998, by "Raaga Saptha Swara", Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
- Ghantasala Laitha Sangeetha Puraskaram, in 2005, by Sri Ghantasala Sangeetha Samsmarana Kalapeetham, Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
- Harikeerthanacharya, 2006, by State Bank of India, Governorpet, Vijayawada.
- Honoured with Kanakaabhishekam in 2007, during Sankeerthana Yagnam by State Bank of India, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
- Nandaki Shrignadha Gandharva, in 2006, by Panchaasya Sudharnavam, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
- Honoured with Suvarna Simha Thallatam, in 2007 by Bhuvaneswara Narayana Peetham, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
- Lakshagalarchana Saarathi, in 2009, by Surya Peetham, Garividi, Andhra Pradesh.
- "RAJA LAKSHMI FOUNDATION" special award
- "SRI KANCHI KANCHI KAAMAKOTI PEETA" Aasthana vidwaan
- "TIRUMALA TIRUPATI DEVASTANAM" Aasthana vidwaan
- "BEST MUSICIAN FOR 2010 AWARD" by SANAATANA DHARMA charitable trust
- "Dr. MANGALAMPALLI BALAMURALI KRISHNA SANGEETHA PRATIBHA PURASKAARAM"
- "SANKEERTHANA GAANAPAYONIDHI" by R.J.MEDIA
Hari Sankeerthanam, Bhakti Tv
Laksha Gala archana
- A. D. Rangarajan. "Singing divinity". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Spirituality and culture inseparable, says scholar". The Hindu. 30 October 2004. Archived from the original on 22 November 2004. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Andhra music festival in city". Express India. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- "Rendering Annamacharya kritis with devotional fervour". The Hindu. 20 July 2007. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- J R Shridharan (4 September 2006). "Annamayya keerthanas are everything to him". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 3 September 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
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