VIJAYAWADA: Only 30 of the 300 rare keerthanas, penned by legendary Carnatic vocalist, musician, playback singer and composer Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, that have hitherto remained unknown, have been recorded in CD format, even though the project was taken up a year ago.
The State government on July 6, 2017 had taken up the project to have the 300 keerthanas rendered into a song format by roping in popular vocalists. The maestro had sung only 150 of his 300 keerthanas during his life time.
However, the government did not sanction enough funds to bring the unsung keerthanas to light.
DV Mohan Krishna, Balamuralikrishna’s disciple and coordinator of the project selected by the State Language and Culture Department, said, “We could complete only 30 of the 300 songs as the government did not release funds.
However, we expect the funds to be released soon and hope to finish 80 per cent of the work by next July 7, which marks the birth anniversary of Balamuralikrishna.
Mohan Krishna said that it costs Rs 1,50,000 to record 10 songs (one CD). “We are waiting for the release of budget to take up the recording of the remaining songs.
Despite the heavy expense incurred for each CD, public interest in the keerthanas seems to be lukewarm, considering that the 30 songs uploaded on the YouTube by the department received less than 500 views.
As many as 150 of the 300 keerthanas have hitherto not been heard by music lovers. As many as 20 of the 30 songs released so far were sung and recorded by Mohan Krishna himself and rest 10 were sung by M Sudhakar, another disciple of the late maestro.
About 25 popular vocalists are to be selected for recording the remaining songs.
Nanda Sudarani, P Gowrinadh, and K Lakshminarasimha are the three vocalists selected for the task of recording the remaining songs. The selection process of 22 vocalists is ongoing.
In the 300 keerthanas, there have been raagas that were invented by the late musician himself. Sidhi, Ganapathi, Mahathi, Trisakthi, Lavangi, Rohini, Omkari, Tarani, Sushama, Manorama, and Pratimadhyamavati are his beloved creations, Mohan Krishna added.
“Mahadeva Sutim, Bruhadeswara, Omkara karini, and Ganarasike are his best works in my opinion. His Varnas and Tillanas are unique,” explained Mohan Krishna.
Annavarapu Ramaswamy, his childhood friend and recipient of Mangallampalli Balamuralikrishna Award, said, “Lavangi is the best raaga he used in the 300 keerthanas for his song ‘Sadha Tavapadha Sanidhim’. Sumukhi raaga stands as the second best. When I toured countries like France, America, Canada and Singapore with him, I saw him sing some of these keerthanas and some, he didn’t sing repeatedly. That is what makes these keerthanas special, they bring out the neglected works.”
Vizai Bhaskar, Director, Language and Culture Department, said, “We will complete the work at a steady pace from now and upload the songs on the YouTube as we finish each song. The songs will be available in the market depending on the demand.”