When they began functioning in 1995, little would have anyone thought that Kala Kruthi, a sabha run by ladies, would become a music centre of sorts in a rather unlikely vicinity like Egmore.
However, Egmore does have a record of holding music programmes and being a popular venue that saw shows by some of the eminent musicians. The now defunct Jagannatha Bhakta Sabha was once a prominent centre for music shows and hosted programmes quite often.
With most of the famous sabhas located in T Nagar and Mylapore, Kala Kruthi the music wing of Kasthurba Nilayam, went ahead with the challenge of yet again trying to create a music space for the locality.
Inaugurated by none other than the towering music personality, Mani Krishnaswami, the sabha received impetus from the music fraternity in the likes of Vedavalli and Maithreyi who presided over the inauguration, encouraging the venture. With free entry for rasikas, the formidable challenge, the sabha has beaten so far ,has been raising funds to bring quality music to audiences.
Born into a family of music lovers, she was trained in the field under the tutelage of Gowriammal, while her mother introduced her to violin. Musicians of the highest stature visited her house often and the constant touch with music created a deep seated passion for the art.
In fact, it was the music in her blood that has propelled the sabha’s secretary, 77-year-old Rajamma Venugopal, the driving force behind the sabha, to succeed in the daunting task, relentlessly all these years.
“It is completely run by ladies, unlike the rest of the sabhas across the city. There is a great need for time, labour, finance and support. To sustain the activities, there has been a lot of efforts by my team,” she says.
So far, it has had performances by prominent artistes, apart from promoting young talent on the same platform. Some of the major programmes that have been staged here include performances by T V Sankaranarayanan, Malladi Brothers, Master M Balamurali Krishna, Padma Sheshadri Sisters etc.
Like other sabhas, Kala Kruthi too has its share of identifying and felcititating young talent.
“My husband was an ardent music lover. In 2007, when we completed 12 years we instituted the AM Venugopal Award for talented young musicians,” she says.
However, Rajamma adds that the sabha’s patrons have made it possible to continue its endeavour.
“I have to thank our patrons Arusuvai Natarajan; he offered us space for performance by allowing use to organise programmes at Anantha Bhushana Kalayana Mandapam. He has taken a personal interest in our activities. So has Nalli Kuppuswami Chetty and Athreya Garments,” she adds.
With the margazhi season not far away, Kala Kruthi is busy putting together its schedule for the upcoming music season. And, Rajamma says that it will be nothing short of a music treat as it is every year for the rasikas.