Veteran Carnatic Vocalist Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna Dies at 86

Veteran Carnatic musician and singer M. Balamuralikrishna died at the age of 86 in Chennai on Tuesday. The legend was not feeling well for the past few days and was admitted in hospitals in Chennai. His last breathe left his body today beside his family members.

Born in Sankaraguptam, Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, Balamuralikrishna began practicing carnatic music at the age of 6, under the guidance of Parupalli Ramakrishnaiya Panthulu. At the age of 8, he presented a full-fledged carnatic concert at Thyagaraja Aradhana ion Vijayawada.

His original name was Muralikrishna, and it was Harikatha performer Musunuri Suryanarayana Murty Bhagavatar who conferred the title of ‘Bala’ to him. He was called Balamurali by musicians, singers and public, was the recipient of all three Honorary Padma awards – Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri.

Balamuralikrishna was a legend in Carnatic as well as Hindustan vocals and could also play musical instruments like the viola, the violin, and the mirdangam. He had performed several hundred carnatic and Hindustan concerts all over the world. He had composed music for films and even acted in many movies, including the popular ‘Bhakta Prahlada. Hehad composed thousands of thillanas, Kirits and varanams.

He has won several awards, including National awards for best playback singer and best music director. His film compositions were very familiar till today and some of them are “Salalitha Raga Sudharasa Saaram” in ‘Narthanasala’, “Paluke Banagamayera Andala Rama” in ‘Andala Ramudu’, “Mauname Nee Bhasha O Mooga Manasa” in “Guppedu Manasu” among others.

“He was a prodigy and was very innovative. He self-enjoyed his music and there is no one to match him currently,” said Krishna Gana Sabha secretary Y Prabhu. Balamuralikrishna used to accompany late Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer on the violin. “He has played viola as a solo concert in our sabha,” Prabhu recalled.

The legendary carnatic vocalist, playback singer, music composer, and multi-instrumentalist Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna passes away a few minutes ago at his Chennai residence. May his soul rest in peace!

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