The concept of ‘duos’ has gained immense popularity in the field of Carnatic music over the years. In this blog post, we talk about some of the famous and fabulous duos of Carnatic Musical Brothers.
When we talk about duos in Carnatic Music, the description would be immensely incomplete without the mention of Alathur Brothers – Srinivasa Iyer (1911–1980) & Sivasubramania Iyer (1916–1965). The world of Carnatic music knows them as the star duo of the 20th century. They learnt under Alathur Venkatesa Iyer, the father of Sivasubramania Iyer. They were not brothers by birth. Combining the strengths of various aspects of Carnatic music, they established a style of music for themselves.
The finesse and authority with which they handled compositions like Vidulaku Mrokeda (Mayamalavagowla, Tyagaraja), Mari Mari Ninne (Kambhoji, Tyagaraja), Epapamu (Atana, Tyagaraja), Shantamu Lekha (Sama, Tyagaraja), Kalinarula (Kuntalavarali, Tyagaraja), Koniyadina (Kambhoji, Veena Kuppaiyer), Shree Matha Shiva (Begada, Muthuswami Dikshitar), Kanulara Kanti (Danyasi, Wallajahpet Venkatramana Bhagavatar) were essays into the very depths of the most authentic of Carnatic music.
B.V. Raman & B.V. Lakshmanan
The twin brothers were born in a town called Bhavani in 1921. When they started to perform together at 35, they came to be known as the two “gentle giants” of Carnatic music adhering to pure tradition, with “no gimmickery”. They have rendered the 4000 verses of the Divya Prabandham composed by the Alwars in praise of Vishnu. B. V. Raman passed away in 2006. B. V. Lakshmanan passed away in 1996.
B.V. Raman was honoured with Sangeeta Kala Acharya by the Music Academy. There is a B.V. Lakshmanan Memorial Award instituted by the Madras Music Academy for the Senior vocalist.
The Hyderabad Brothers – D. Raghavachari and D. Seshachari, are among the most popular duo vocalists in Indian Classical Carnatic music. They are popularly known as Hyderabad brothers because of their long association with the city. Vidwan RaghavaChari and Vidwan SeshaChari belong to a family of traditional classical musicians. They got their initial formal training from their father Daroor Ratnamacharyulu. Their mother Daroor Sulochana Devi was also a Carnatic classical musician. Hyderabad Brothers over the years have performed in various reputed musical forums in India including All India Radio and Doordarshan. They have also participated in AIR Sangeetha Sammelan, Spirit of Unity Concerts (TV), Central Production Centre (CPC), Television and Doordarshan National Network Programs.
Sri Seshachari’s is known for his more robust, deep and resonant singing, and Raghavachary’s rendition is known to be mellow and soft in comparison. Hyderabad Brothers themselves have an appeal for connoisseurs for their wonderfully synchronised singing and individual styles which complement each other perfectly. Their concerts are often considered imaginative and full of vigor. Their musical skills and style are often compared to that of the legendary Alathur Brothers by their fans.
Early in their career, they received the Best Young Talent Award in 1977 and 1978 by the Sangeetha Nataka Akademi, Hyderabad. The Madras Music Academy honoured them as the best vocalists for three consecutive years — 1990, 1991, and 1992. In 1993, The Music Academy presented them the Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer Award for the best rendering of rare Thyagaraja kritis. In 2012, the Hyderabad brothers were felicitated with the Kalarathna award from the government of Andhra Pradesh. To recognize their contribution to the Carnatic music they were conferred the title Sangeetha Choodamani by the Indian community in Austin, Texas.
Malladi Brothers –
The noted Carnatic music vocalist duo Malladi Brothers, Malladi Sreeramprasad and Malladi Ravikumar, started their music education under Malladi Srirammurthy and Malladi Suri Babu, their grandfather and father respectively. Subsequently, they studied under Sripada Pinakapani, Nedunuri Krishnamurthy and Voleti Venkatesvarulu. Malladi Brothers possess a large repertoire of Carnatic compositions and possess a vibrant and powerful voice. Both excel in presenting Thyagaraja kritis.
The Rudrapatnam Brothers, R. N. Thyagarajan and R. N. Tharanathan come from a family of musicians from Rudrapatna village off the Kaveri banks in Arkalgud Thaluk of Hassan district in the southwest Indian state of Karnataka. They were initiated into Carnatic music and trained by their father and Sastry, the famous violinist and disciple of Mysore T. Chowdiah.
This Carnatic music duo‘s music is a clear reflection of the works of their predecessors. The music by the Rudrapatnam Brothers adheres to the tradition of Carnatic Music. They claim influences from Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and the GNB. They claim the tradition of Saint Thyagaraja Swamy Sishya Parampara in more than one way. Musiri, their guru’s guru belongs to the sishya lineage of Manambuchaavadi Venkatasubbayyar. Sastry was a sishya of Veena Subbanna who was part of the Walajapet sishya parampara and sishya of Mysore Sadasiva Rao. They emphasize the music of Nayaki, Varali, Begada, Mukhari, Sahana, Madhyamavathi and Thodi.
They have been felicitated by a number of awards – AIR Music Competitions in Carnatic classical and Light classical, by the President of India; Gana Sudhakara by Karnataka Sangeetha Nrithya Academy; Karnataka Kalashree by Karanataka Sangeetha Nrithya Academy, Bengaluru; Swaramurthy V.N.Rao Memorial National Award by Bengaluru – to name a few.
Carnatica Brothers –
Popular singers, World record holders, Kalaimamani K.N.Shashikiran and P.Ganesh sing together as Carnatica Brothers. The duo is very successful as performers, mentors and scholars in music. With over 4500 concert performances to their credit across India, US, UK, Australia; they are one of the most sought after musical duo in the Carnatic music world. The musical duo is the grandsons of the legendary Gottuvadyam Narayana Iyengar, Shashikiran and Ganesh. This noted Carnatic music duo stunned the music lovers answering technical questions in music and identifying complex talas and ragas when they were just 30 months old!
With intense training under Shashikiran’s father Chitravina Narasimhan, brother Chitravina Ravikiran and later from Sangitha Kalanidhi T Brinda, T Vishwanathan Calcutta K S Krishnamurthy and lately from Dr M Balamuralikrishna, the cousins have had a balanced rise to fame in the field of Carnatic music. The brothers love teaching music so much so that Shashikiran’s research in music revolves around learning music with the help of technology. He is instrumental in rolling out a music learning app Musicguru and a 24-hour online Carnatic music radio The Carnatica Channel. Shashikiran also organises a variety of music events through The Carnatica Archival Centre.
The world of Noble Carnatic Musicians has to its fame the best of talent in the music field. Just as there are Carnatic Musical Brother duos, the fraternity also boasts of sisters duos who have risen to eminence and recognition in the world of Carnatic Music.
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