Smt. Banni Bai Centenary Celebrations

Harikatha is one of the earliest performing art forms.  It is a combination of song and story-telling which demands considerable skill from the performer. As a tribute to one of the stalwarts of Harikatha - the first ever woman performer of the art form, Chennai Fine Arts organized an event along with Narada Gana Sabha and Sunadaa Trust.

This included a series of Harikathas, discouses, and lecture demonstrations by eminent vidwans and scholars.  It was a yearlong celebration and a discourse was organized every month.  

The year-long celebration of Smt Banni Bai’s Birth Centenary concluded with a fitting valedictory function which was held on 6th February 2012.  The program began with the Bharatanatyam recital of Ms.Swarnamalya, which was dedicated to Smt. Banni Bai.  Following this, a book on Smt. Banni Bai authored by her disciple Dr. Premeela Gurumurthy and published by Chennai Fine Arts was released by Cleveland Shri Sundaram. Shri P.N. Muralidharan, Founder of CFA received the first copy.  Shri Krishnaswamy of Narada Gana Sabha presided over the function. Then the final Harikatha of the seires, Tyagaraja Vaibhavam was performed by Kalyanapuram Shri. Aravamudachar, accompanied by Dr. R. Hemalatha and Nellai Shri. Balaji.

Details of discourses held as a part of Smt. Banni Bai Centenary Celebrations


Theme / topic

Artiste / speaker


Lord Ganapathy

Nagai Sri.Mugundan - Discourse


Thiruppugazh (Tamil work by Arunagirinathar, one of the 63 Saivite Nayanmars)

Shri.Mathivaanan - Discourse


Sri Aadi Sankaracharya & Concept of Lord Dhakshinamurthy

Dr.R.Balasubramaniam - Discourse


Sakthi Prabhavam

Girija Ramaswamy - Harikatha


Bhakta Purandaradasa

S. Janakiraman - Harikatha


Kannappa Nayanar (Ardent devotee of Lord Siva)

B Suchithra - Harikatha


Goddess Bangaru Kamakshi (Based on the compositions of one of the trinity of Carnatic music, Sri Syama Sastri)

Dr Premeela Gurumurthy - Harikatha


Samartha Ramadoss

Smt.Gowri Rajagopal - Harikata


Sathyavan Savithri (Tamil poetic play written by Shri Sankaradass Swamigal)

Dr. Arimalam Padmanabhan - Discourse


Sri Krishna Vaibhavam

Dhaamal Ramakrishnan - Discourse


Pandurangan (Lord Krushna at Pandarpur)

Pushpa Anand – Abhangs



Dr. M.A. Venkatakrishnan - Discourse


Tyagaraja Vaibhavam

Kalyanapuram Aravamudachar - Harikatha


81st Birthday Celebration of Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna

The 81st birth anniversary of the ever green musical ace Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna was commemorated with a special event.  The program was held on the 14th of August 2011.  It was attended by Dr. Balamurali himself and illustrious musicians like Prof. T.R. Subramaniam and Smt. Suguna Purushothaman felicitated him.  Other front-ranking musicians who were present included Chitravina Shri Narasimhan, Haridwaramangalam Shri A.K. Palanivel, Dr. T. Lokanada Sharma, Trichur Shri. Narendran and Tanjavur Shri. Murugaboopathy. 

Carnatica Brothers Shri K.N. Shashikiran and Shri Chitravina P. Ganesh presented 'Murali Geetha Samarpanam' which was an exclusive concert featuring the compositions of Dr. Balamuralikrishna.

Isaiyum Uraiyum

'Isaiyum Uraiyum' (song and summary) is another jewel in the crown of CFA. The unique programme featured Madurai Sri G S Mani rendering Saint Tyagaraja's compositions along with the explanation of the content and circumstances which led the saint to compose such master pieces.  It was held on the 30th of November 2011.  Shri R. Krishnaswamy, Secretary of Narada Gana Sabha felicitated the artistes.

28th APRIL 2012 – Concert in memory of Vainika Vidushi Smt. Kalpagam Swaminathan

Smt. Kalyani Ganesan presented a Veena recital as a tribute to Smt. Kalpagam Swaminathan on her first death anniversary. Smt. Kalyani was a disciple of the latter and she shared a few memories of the golden times spent with her guru. Karaikkudi V.M. Ganesan (Mrudangam) & Chandrasekara Sharma (Ghatam) were the accompanists.

9th SEPTEMBER 2012 – Concert in memory of Vidwan Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar

T.K. Ramachandran I.A.S. presented a concert to commemorate the 152nd birth anniversary of musician and composer Ramanathapuram ‘Poochi’ Srinivasa Iyengar. Guruvayur Dorai (Mrudangam), V.L. Kumar (Violin) and Shreesundarkumar (Kanjira) were the accompanists. The concert was exclusively of Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar’s compositions. There was also a special address by Dr. B.M. Sundaram about Srinivasa Iyengar before the concert began.

3rd November 2012 - 134th Birth Anniversary of Bangalore Nagaratnamma

Chennai fine arts organised yet another event, on 3rd November, this one to commemorate the 134th birth anniversary of Vidyasundari Bangalore Nagaratnamma. Nagaratnamma is the devadasi who built a shrine for Saint Tyagaraja at Tiruvaiyaru. Her idol also finds a place at Tiruvaiyaru for the various services she did to the shrine.

The program titled ‘Tyagaraja Vaibhavam’ was held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. It comprised of a special address on Nagaratnamma by Dr B.M. Sundaram and Dr. Premeela Gurumurthy. Two of the padams sung by Nagaratnamma were later played for the audience. This was followed by the concert of Vellore Giridhar. He was accompanied by Shertalai Sivakumar (Violin), A.S. Ranganathan (Mrudangam) and Hariharasubramanian (Ghatam). The concert was exclusively of the compositions of Saint Tyagaraja.

5th December 2012 - 130th Birth Anniversary of Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu

More popularly known as the guru of Dr M Balamuralikrishna, ‘Gayaka Sarvabhauma’ Parupalli Shri. Ramakrishnayya Pantulu is little known in Tamil Nadu. He was instrumental in popularizing carnatic music in Andhra Pradesh and almost every other musician from Andhra happens to be his sishya or prasishya. He refused to shift base to Chennai in those days in order to popularize carnatic music in his place. He belonged to the sishya parampara of Saint Tyagaraja in the line of Manambuccavadi Venkatasubbayya. The 130th birth anniversary of this great musician was commemorated with a concert of his direct disciple Annavarapu Shri. Ramaswamy, on 5th December 2012. Another senior musician Dr T K Murthy, who has accompanied Ramakrishnayya pantulu himself performed on the Mrudangam. In an effort to bring to light the outstanding services of Shri. Ramakrishnayya Pantulu, CFA prepared a short film consisting inputs from Dr Balamuralikrishna, Dr B M Sundaram, Annavarapu Shri. Ramaswamy, Prof. T N Krishnan and Madras Shri. A. Kannan. A book on the Gayaka Sarvabhauma was also released.

9th December 2012 - Bani in Carnatic Music

This program was organized in association with Music Forum, an organization run by Dr S Sunder. This program focused on the performing styles of two doyens of carnatic music – Smt. Brinda and Shri. D K Jayaraman. While Chitravina Shri. N. Ravikiran demonstrated the Brindamma bani, Dr Sunder demonstrated the D K J bani. This program turned out to be fruitful to the younger generation who got an insight into the styles of great musicians.

19th December 2012 - Deiva Tamizh Isai

This program was again organized in association with Music Forum. Shri. Balasubramanyan performed Tiruppugazhs of Saint Arunagirinathar. Tiruppugazh is said to be the treasure house of various intricate talas. It is also composed in chaste Tamil with rich musical content. Hence this effort to popularize Tamil music was well received by the audience. Following this, Dr Sunder presented a concert of the Tamil compositions of Brahmasri Papanasam Sivan.

Swati Tirunal Bicentenary Celebration

To honor the memory of this great composer who has composed various musical forms in languages like Sanskrit, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi, Chennai Fine Arts celebrated the bicentenary of Maharaja Swati Tirunal on 30th December 2013.

The year happens to be the two hundredth birth anniversary of Swati Tirunal. On this rare occasion, CFA honoured Prof. Parur M.S. Anantarama Iyer with the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' comprising Rupees Twenty Five Thousands cash, a medal and a citation. Shri K N Ramaswamy, Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai Kendra, presented the award, while Dr B M Sundaram felicitated the awardee. Vidwan Trichur Shri. Ramachandran and 'Chitravina' Shri. Ravikiran delivered special address on their experiences of singing at the Navaratri mandapam in Swati Tirunal's palace and also on the unique aspects of Swati Tirunal's compositions.

The award function was followed by an exclusive concert of Swati Tirunal's compositions by Shri. Eswaran Bhattathiri accompanied by Shri M A Sundaresan on the Violin, Shri. K R Ganesh on the Mrudangam and Shri. Nanda Gopal on the Kanjira.

Concert commemorating New Year 2014

A Visesha Vadyanubhava Concert, a violin duet of Prof. T.N. Krishnan & Shri. Sriram Krishnan was held on 2nd January to commemorate the dawn of New Year. This year also marked the completion of eighty years of concert performance career of Prof. T.N. Krishnan. Hence he was honoured with a shawl and memento before the commencement of the concert.

Dasarathi Sangeethotsavam

The ‘Dasarathi Sangeethotsavam’, commemorating Sri Rama Navami was organized jointly by Chennai Fine Arts and Sri Krishna Mandiram from 9th to 21st April 2014 at Sri Krishna Mandiram’s premises located in Canal Road, Kamarajar Nagar, Tiruvanmiyur. The festival was inaugurated on 9th April. Ms. Leela Samson, Chair Person, Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, lit the jyothi and inaugurated the festival. Concerts were held on ten days starting from 9th April. Young talents were featured in the concerts. This event during Rama Navami is proposed to be organized in the coming years too.

Sukravaara Sangitam

This is another addition to the innovative list of programs organized by CFA. Starting from June 2014, concerts will be held on the last Friday of every month at Sri Krishna Mandiram’s premises. This monthly program was inaugurated on 27th June 2014 by the founders of Nadopasana Music Trust, Shri. Srinivasan and Shri. Subramanian. The inaugural concert was a violin solo performance by a 9 year old kid, Chittoor Bargav Vignesh, who happens to be a third generation violinist.
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