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Profiles of the later 20th century musicians, instrumentalists

TIRUVARUR BAKTHAVATSALAM - MRIDANGIST.............(b.25 November 1956)
Born in a traditional musical family, Bakthavatsalam had his training in Mridangam under his maternal uncle, Tiruvarur Krishnamurthy, who was Staff Artiste, All India Radio, Pondicherry. Made his debut at the age of nine and has since accompanied top ranking musicians. A versatile and popular percussionist, his solos are entertaining.
Title: ' 'Mridanga Vadhya Mani from Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchipuram.

BOMBAY BALAJI - MRIDANGIST.............(b. November 1, 1969)
Bombay Balaji is among the bright artistes who have caught the imagination of the media and rasikas. Started his training at the age of six under the maestro Palghat Mani Ayyar, continued it under Trichy Raghava Ayyar, Professor (retired) in Mridangam, Benares Hindu University and is now having special coaching under Palghat Raghu. made his debut in 1981 providing accompaniment to Sangita Kalanidhi T.N.Krishnan. Bombay Balaji has been providing rich and competent accompaniment to senior artistes in All India Radio, Doordarshan and at sabhas. Enjoys versatile style, dexterous fingering and rhythmic variations. A popular artiste.

J.BALAJI - MRIDANGIST..............(b. 1965)
One of the founders of YACM (Youth Association for Classical Music). J.Balaji belongs to the tribe of prominent rising stars who have equipped themselves with good collegiate education and an assured job ( employed in the Reserve Bank of India) even while pursuing their favourite musical inclinations with dedication. He has already taken part in about four hundred concerts accompanying senior and upcoming artistes. His percussive expertise is well 'laced with nice technical touches'. He had his percussive training under Tanjore R.Ramadoss, a disciple of Palghat Mani Ayyar & Ramnad K.M.Kandaswamy, a disciple of Palani Subramania Pillai. Balaji has thus the benefit of the Tanjore and Ramnad banis. He has been giving lecture demonstrations and contributing aricles. Made his debut in 1982.

He started his music lessons when he was four. Initially, he learnt music from Uma Kalyanasundaram for four years. In 1983, he started learning from Shri D.K.Jayaraman. His main emphasis was on kirtanas. His first kutcheri along with Shri Jayaraman was in 1987. After Shri. Jayaraman, he is taking lessons from Smt D.K. Pattammal and from Ms. Radha Viswanathan. He performed at the Music Academy when he was in his early teens.
Balaji is a Maths student from D.G.Vaishnava College.


Sujatha Dutta (born in 1963) & Sunitha Prakash (born in 1968) were born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and raised in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Their education was in Bangalore and they have completed their graduation from Osmania University. They hail from a family of eminent artistes - maternal grandmother Bruhat Sundara Kuchamba, maternal grandfather V.Gopal Rao (Sitar Vidwan), paternal great grandfather Kaveeshwara Giriyappa (an Asthan Vidwan in the Mysore Palace), mother Sumithra (disciple of Balamurali Krishna, Voleti Venkateshwarulu and Ghantasala),  their cousin Dr.Swapna Sundari (eminent Kuchipudi dancer).

Sujatha Dutta & Sunitha Prakash, have been trained in Carnatic vocal. They have also learnt Hindustani and Western music. Their first Guru was their grandmother Bruhat Sundara Kuchamba. Later they were trained by Parvathamma and M.V.Ananth Kumar, who was a Grade-A artiste in AIR, Bangalore. Their Hindustani Music Guru was Mahendra Nokad.

Popularly known as "THE SUPRABHATA SISTERS", the duo have rendered more than 5000 devotional albums, rendered over 10,000 songs as solo performers, individually sung in about 150 Kannada films and have composed music for close to 400 albums.

They conduct classes not only in music but also workshops on studio singing and stage performances. They are proficient & render services in various healing modalities like Music Therapy, Mantra Therapy. They have been initiated into the holistic healing methodologies by their Spiritual Guru, Sri Amrutha Padananda (Professor Seshan Guruji), amongst a few others.


The Kulasegaran family of Sri Lanka was captivated by the beauty of Carnatic music. It cast its spell especially on the eldest of his six children. Bhushany migrated to India and achieved name and fame here as Bhushany Kalyanaraman. Born and brought up in Colombo, Sri Lanka, it was a typical Tamil household where her father used to ensure that everyone was awake at 5 a.m., reciting the Tiruvempavai. At an every early age she could recite Sivapuranam and Thevaram. She enrolled in Tamilnadu Music college and after graduating, she worked as a professor of music at the Jaffna University and also presented a few papers at music conferences in Sri Lanka and India. She also serves as a visiting professor of vocal and veena at the Kalakshetra foundation.

The riots in 1982 brought her back to India, drawn by her deep admiration for her subsequent guru and husband, Tanjore S.Kalyanaraman, senior disciple of the legendary G.N.B, who molded her into a worthy musician. Along the way she gathered several awards and accolades. The big sabhas of Chennai appreciated and encouraged her. AIR, Doordarshan and the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation recognized her as an 'A' grade artiste.

In the music festival of 2000, she was nominated by the Music Academy for the award 'Best Vocalist for rendering kalpanaswaras'. In 1998, the AVM recording company released a double album of her music. The Tamil Nadu Government gave her the Kalaimamani award & the Sri Lankan Government honored her with "GANA RATNA".
(Information & photo provided by C.R. Kaushik,Texas, USA).

The sisters, Saroja and Lalitha are a prominent duo who have been gracing the Carnatic Music stage with distinction. Quite popular and in heavy demand for their concerts, the sisters enjoy a pleasing voice, happy unison in presentation and effortless ease in singing. They take care to present the audience with ideal raga delineation, swara elaboration and balanced concert content.

The sisters were born at Trichur, Kerala of N.Chidambara Ayyar and Muktambal. They graduated from the Wardha University. Had their initial training in music under H.A.S. Mani of Bombay and then got the 'Sangita Vidwan' diploma from the Central College of Carnatic Music, Madras. Had further training under Sangita Kalanidhi Musiri Subramanya Ayyar during 1958-60 and 1961-63 with the Government of India Cultural Scholarship separately. T.K.Govinda Rao is their guru since 1963.

Bombay sisters have given performances throughout India and on the All India Radio. They made their debut in 1960 at Ambattur in the presence of Sri Mounananda Swamigal who blessed them with the name 'Bombay Sisters'.

Honours :
'Isai Mamanigal' by Ulaga Tamizhisai Mandram in 1977.
'Madhura Gana Manoranjani' by Sri Azhagiya Singar, Jeer Swami of Ahobila Math