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'Pattammal had so much ability and humility'

July 17, 2009 15:44 IST
Dr Balamurali Krishna, a Carnatic music legend, remembers D K Pattammal, another legend and a trail-blazer who passed into the ages on Thursday

As she was much senior to me, I grew up listening to her songs. Finally when I met her in Chennai, it was a great moment for me.

When I was awarded the Sangeet Kalanidhi, she was the first person to call and congratulate me. She was extremely happy that I got it. She then called me in her sing-song voice, "Murali! Sangeet Kalanidhi..."  She then blessed me. She was one musician who blessed everyone.

After we met, she showed a lot of fondness for me. I called her Manni, which is what we call our brother's wife.

   'One would always see the guru in D K Pattammal'

But the greatest moment for me was when she sang one of my compositions. She was such a noble soul that she appreciated and blessed everyone. She had no qualms in appreciating even the junior singers. Her heart was so pure that there was always a smile on her face. I have not seen such a person with so much ability and humility.

She followed tradition strictly. I have great respect for her and I consider her the mother of Carnatic music. She had a great giving heart and was a very knowledgeable person.

Her shruti and laya were amazing. Whatever language she sang in, she knew the meaning of every word. 

Though totally different from each other, three women who dominated the Carnatic music scene were D K Pattammal, M S Subbulakshmi and M L Vasantha Kumari. With Pattammals' death, that era is over. But music never dies.

Like we still remember and talk about the Ramayana and Mahabharata, we will similarly remember the legends of Carnatic music as long as we are alive.

Pattammal will be remembered not only for her music but also for her kind heart and simple nature. Without heart, there is no artiste. Her personality was such that if you have met her once, you will never forget her. 

As a musician, I have the greatest respect for her.

As told to Shobha Warrier