M. Balamuralikrishna

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M. Balamuralikrishna
M. Balamuralikrishna 01.jpg
Pandit Ji at Rajarani Music Festival, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Background information
Native name మంగళంపల్లి బాలమురళీకృష్ణ
Birth name Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna
Born (1930-07-06) 6 July 1930 (age 86)
Sankaraguptam, East Godavari District,
Madras Presidency, British India (now part of Andhra Pradesh, India)
Genres Carnatic music
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Singing, viola, mridangam, kanjira
Years active 1938–present

Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna (born 6 July 1930) is an Indian Carnatic vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, playback singer, composer and actor. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honour, for his contribution towards Indian Art. He was made Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2005.[1]

Early life[edit]

Balamurali Krishna was born in Sankaraguptam, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh state.[2] His father was a well known musician and could play the flute, violin and the veena and his mother was an excellent veena player. His mother died when he was an infant and Balamuralikrishna was raised by his father. Observing his penchant for music, his father put him under the tutelage of Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu, a direct descendant[3][4] of the shishya parampara of Tyagaraja.

Under his guidance, the young Balamuralikrishna learned Carnatic music. At the age of eight, 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'[5] (child) to the young Muralikrishna. This title has stuck ever since and Balamuralikrishna has been known so.

Balamuralikrishna thus began his musical career at a very young age. By the age of fifteen he had mastered all the 72 melakartha ragas and had composed krithis in the same. The Janaka Raga Manjari was published in 1952 and recorded as Raagaanga Ravali in a nine-volume series by the Sangeeta Recording Company.[6] Not merely content with his fame as a Carnatic vocalist, very soon started playing the kanjira, mridangam, viola and violin. He also accompanied various musicians in violin and is also noted to give solo viola concerts.

Performing career[edit]

Balamuralikrishna started his career at the age of six. Up to the present time, he has given over 25,000 concerts worldwide.[7] He accompanied Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. He also gave jugalbandi concerts with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Kishori Amonkar, among others. He is also known for popularising the compositions of Sri Bhadrachala Ramadasu and Sri Annamacharya.


M. Balamuralikrishna during Rajarani Music Festival at Bhubaneswar on 19 January 2013
Balamuralikrishna during a concert in Kuwait on 29 March 2006, accompanied by Mavelikkara Sathees Chandran (violin), Perunna G. Harikumar (mridangom), Manjoor Unnikrishnan (ghatam)
Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna and Ravi Joshi, during a concert in San Francisco, California, April 2014

Balamuralikrishna's concerts combine sophisticated vocal skills and rhythmic patterns of classical music with the popular demand for entertainment value. Balamurali Krishna has been invited to give concerts in many countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Italy, France, Russia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Middle East and many more. Apart from his native tongue, Telugu, his works also include ones in other languages like Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Bengali, and Punjabi.

He appeared as featured soloist with an award-winning British choir, performing the "Gitanjali Suite" with words from Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel Prize-winning poetry and music by Dr. Joel, the noted UK-based Goan composer. His clear diction in several languages prompted an invitation to record Tagore's entire Rabindra Sangeet compositions in Bengali, preserving them for posterity. He has sung in French, and even ventured into jazz fusion, collaborating with the top Carnatic percussion teacher, Sri T.H. Subash Chandran, in a concert for Malaysian royalty.

He has recently become increasingly interested in music therapy, and now performs only occasionally. He gave his authorisation to S. Ram Bharati to found "Academy of Performing Arts and Research" in Switzerland and is also working on music therapy. He established the 'MBK Trust' with the objective of developing art and culture and for carrying out extensive research into music therapy. A dance and music school, 'Vipanchee' is a part of this Trust.

In February 2010, he did a three-day concert in Visakhapatnam, a first in his career.[8]


Balamuralikrishna has composed over 400 compositions in various languages like Telugu, Sanskrit, Kannada and Tamil. His compositions range from Devotional to Varnams, Krithis, Javalis and Thillans, in all the fundamental 72 melakartha ragas to film music.

He made his acting debut with Bhakta Prahlada (1967) under AVM Productions as Narada, and has acted in various films.


Balamuralikrishna performs in 2005

Characteristic of Balamuralikrishna's musical journey has been his non-conformism, spirit of experimentation and boundless creativity. Balamuralikrishna has innovated the whole Carnatic music system by keeping its rich tradition untouched. The ragas like Ganapathi, Sarvashri, Mahati, Lavangi etc. are credited to him. The ragas which he invented represent his quest for new frontiers. Ragas like Lavangi are set to three or four notes in ascending and descending scale.[6] Ragaas created by him, like Mahathi, Lavangi, Sidhdhi, Sumukham have only four notes; while Ragaas created by him, like Sarva Sri, Omkaari, Ganapathy have only three notes.

He also innovated the tala system. He has incorporated "gati bhEdam" (గతి భేదం) in the "sashabda kriya" (సశబ్ద క్రియ) (actions in Talas, which can produce sound/shabda (శబ్ద) are called sashabda kriya - సశబ్ద క్రియ) part of the existing Tala chain, thus throwing open a new chain of Tala system. Saint Arunagirinaadhar used to inject such systems in his famous Thirupugazh, but only as Sandham, while Balamuralikrishna is known to be the pioneer in bringing such Sandhams into a logical rhythm, with Angam and definition. Thri Mukhi, Panchamukhi, Saptha Mukhi and Nava Mukhi are the basic classifications, he has named for his New Tala System.[clarification needed]

Awards and honours[edit]

Civilian honours
International honours
All India Radio
  • Top Grade – Awarded "Top Grade" for performance areas

playing instruments: violin, viola, mrudhingam, kanjira, music:- classical music, light music, devotional music, composer, conductor, music director and poet.

National Film Awards

Kerala state film awards

  • 1987-Best Male playback singer – Swathi Thirunal
  • 2010-Best Classical Music Singer-Grammam
Other honours
  • Honorary Doctorate
  • Sangita Kalanidhi by The Music Academy, Madras
  • Sangeetha Kalasikhamani by The Fine Arts Society, Chennai (1991)
  • He was awarded the Lifetime achievement Global Indian Music Academy Award for 2011.[9]
  • Sangeetha Kalasarathy[10]
  • "Sangeetha Virinchi" tilte conferred by Sangeetha Bharathi music School, Auckland during Dr BMK concert "Raganga Ravali" in 2009 at Auckland, New Zealand[11]

M. Balamuralikrishna in Telugu Book of Records

Selected compositions[edit]

Composition Ragam Type Remarks
Omkaara Pranava Shanmukhapriya Pada Varnam
Amma Anandha dayini Gambhiranata Pada Varnam
Ye Naadhamu Naata Varnam
Chalamu Chaesina Ramapriya Varnam
Aapaala Gopaalamu Amritavarshini Varnam
Ninu Nera Nammithi Kharaharapriya Varnam
Sri Sakala Ganadhipa Palayamam Aarabhi Kriti Three Pallavis on Ganapathy, Maaruthi and Krishna
Mahadevasutham Aarabhi Kriti on Ganapathy
Gam Gam Ganapathim Ganapathi Kriti on Ganapathi-Tri Tonal Raga: Sa Ga Pa
Ganaadhipam Nattai Kriti on Ganapathi
Pirai Aniyum Perumaan Hamsadhvani Kriti on Ganapathi
Uma Sutham Namaami Sarvasri Kriti on Ganapathi-Tri Tonal Raga: Sa Ma Pa
Mahaneeya Namasulivae Sumukham Kriti on Ganapathi-Tetra Tonal Raga: Sa Ri Ma Ni
Omkara karini Lavangi Kriti Tetra Tonal Raga: Sa Ri Ma Dha
Sidhdhi Naayakena Amritavarshini Kriti on Ganapathi
Sidhdhim Dhehi Mae Sidhdhi Kriti on Ganapathi-Tri Tonal Raga: Sa Ri Dha
Heera Ganapathiki Surati Kriti On Ganapathi
Mahaneeya Madhura Moorthae Mahathi Kriti Guru Vandhanam-Tetra Tonal Raga: Sa Ga PA Ni
Guruni Smarimpumo Hamsavinodhini Kriti Guru Vandhanam
Varuha Varuha Panthuvaraali Kriti on Muruha
Thunai Neeyae Charukesi Kriti on Muruha
Nee Dhaya Raadha Poorvikalyani Kriti on Ambika
Gathi Neeve Kalyani Kriti on Ambika
Siva Ganga Nagasvaravali Kriti on Ambika
Maa Maanini Thodi Kriti on Ambika-Swara Saahithyam
Amma Ninukori Kamas Kriti on Ambika
Gaana Maalinchi Kalyanavasantam Kriti on Ambika
Sadhaa Thava Paadha Shanmukhapriya Kriti on Siva
Bruhadheeswara Kaanada Kriti on Tanjore Bruhadheeswara
Thripura Tharpa Mangalam on Siva
Kamala Dhalaayatha Bahudari Kriti on Nethra Soundharya
Thillana Brundhaavani Thillana
Thillana Chakravaaham Thillana
Thillana Dhwijaawanthi Thillana Tamil Charanam
Thillana Kunthalvaraali Thillana Tamil and Telugu Charanam
Thillana Kathanakuthoohalam Thillana
Thillana Garudadhvani Thillana Paanini Sutra Reference,
Thillana Behag Thillana On Sri Thyagaraja
Thillana Ragamalika Thillana Amruthavarshini, Mohanam, Kaanada and Hindolam
Thillana Ragamalika Thillana Taaya Ragamaalika, Based on Sruthi Bhedam
Thillana Ragamalika Thillana Pancha "Priya" Raagas, with Gathi Bhedam
Maamava Gaana Lola Rohini Kriti Ragam using two Madhyamas
Gaana Lola Ragamalika Kriti On Thirupathi Venkateswara
Sangeethamae Kalyani Kriti About Music
Nee Saati Neevae Chandrika Kriti on Ranga,
Sankarabharana Sayanuda Sankarabharanam Kriti on Ranga
Vegamae Abhogi Kriti on Ranga
Hanuma Sarasangi Kriti on Hanuman
Vandhe Maatharam Ranjani Kriti on Bharatham
Gaana Sudha Rasa Naattai Kriti on Sri Thyagaraja
Sama Gana Amritavarshini Kriti on Sri Thyagaraja
Maragatha Simhasana Simhendra Madhyamam Kriti on Yadhagiri Narasimha
Simha Rupa Dheva Kambhoji Kriti on Narasimha
Raja Raja Sankarabharanam Kriti on Sri Raghavendhra
Chintayami satatam Sri Muttuswami Dikshitam Sucharitra Kriti on Muttuswami Dikshitar
Ambamamava Ragamalika Kriti Ranjani-Niranjani – Janaranjani
Bangaaru Murali Sringaara Ravali Neelambari Kriti
Bhaavame Mahaa Bhaagyamura Kapi Kriti Sri Thyagaraja to Balamuralikrishna-Guru Parampara
Paahi Sameera Kumaara Mandari Kriti description of Panchamukha Hanuman
Vasama Dharmavathi Kriti prayer on Lalita Devi

Film compositions[edit]

Balamuralikrishna acted in few films and gave his voice to some selected songs in Indian cinema.

Year Film Language Credits
1957 Sati Savitri Telugu Song: Oho Ho Vilasala
1959 Jayabheri Telugu Suklaam Brahma Vichaara Saara Paramaam (Sloka)
1963 Karna Telugu Song: Neevu Nenu Valachitimi Nandaname Eduruga Nilichitimi
1963 Nartanasala Telugu Song: Salalitha Raga Sudharasa Saaram
1965 Dorikite Dongalu Telugu Song: Tirupativasa Srivenkatesa
1965 Thanga Radham Vandhadhu Tamil Kalaikoil
1965 Uyyala Jampala Telugu Etiloni keratalu
1965 Thiruvilayadal Tamil Song: Oru Naal Pothuma
1966 Palnati Yudham Telugu Singer: Seelamu Galavari Chinavada
1966 Srikakula Andhra Mahavishnu Katha Telugu Singer: Vasanta Gaaliki Valapulu rega
1967 Bhakta Prahlada Telugu Acted as Narada
Song: Aadi Anaadiyu Neeve Deva Narada Sannuta Narayana,
Siri Siri Laali Chinnari Laali,
Varamosage Vanamali Naa Vanchitammu Neraverunuga
1968 Kodungallooramma' Malayalam Songs: Kodungallooramme
1973 Andala Ramudu Telugu Song: Paluke Banagamayera Andala Rama
1974 Sree Rama Anjaneya Yuddham Telugu Song: Meluko Srirama Meluko Raghurama
Karunalola Narayana Sritajanapala Deenavana
1975 Hamsageethe Kannada Music director and Singer
1975 Muthyala Muggu Telugu Song: Srirama Jayarama Seetarama
1977 Kurukshetram Telugu Song: Kuppinchi Egasina Kundalambula Kanthi (Padyam)
1977 Kavikkuyil Tamil Song: Chinna Kannan Azhaikkiraan
1979 Guppedu Manasu Telugu Song: Mauname Nee Bhasha O Mooga Manasa
1979 Nool Veli Tamil Song: Mounathil Vilayadum
1982 Ente Mohangal Poovaninju Malayalam Song:
1983 Adi Shankaracharya Sanskrit Music director
1983 Meghasandesam Telugu Song: Paadana Vani Kalyaniga
1986 Madhvacharya Kannada Music director and Singer
1987 Swathi Thirunal Malayalam Song: Moksha Mukalada
Winner, Kerala State Film Award for Best Singer
1990 Muthina Haara Kannada Song: Devaru Hoseda Premada Daara
1991 Bharatham Malayalam Song: "Raajamathangi" ("Dhwani prasadham")
1993 Bhagvad Gita Sanskrit Music director
1994 Indhu/Pattasu Tamil Song: Nagumo
1997 Priyamaina Srivaaru Telugu Song: Jatakalu Kalisevela Jeevitalu Mugisaayi
2009 Pasanga Tamil Song: Anbaley Azhgagum Veedu
2015 "Prabha" Tamil Song; Poove Pesum Poove (Music Director - S. J. Jananiy)


  1. ^ a b "French honour for Balamuralikrishna". The Hindu. 3 May 2005. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Mangalampalli can't wait to come home". The Hindu. 1 March 2003. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Music for rains". The Hindu. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Ancient History of Andhras". 26 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Sundaram, BM (26 October 2011). "A prodigy and a genius" (PDF). 
  6. ^ a b Subramaniam, Garimella (6 July 2004). "A musical colossus". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Balamuralikrishna deserves Bharat Ratna: Jayalalithaa". The Hindu. 26 July 2005. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Subrahmanyam, Velcheti (2 February 2012). "Master holds in hypnotic spell". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "Award for Balamuralikrishna". The Hindu Business Line. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "'Sangeetha Kalasarathy' conferred on Balamuralikrishna". The Hindu. 17 December 2002. 
  11. ^ "Maestro enthralls audience". Indian Weekender. Auckland, New Zealand. 13 October 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]