Among the illustrious galaxy of musicians of  the 20th century, Tandalam  Krishnamachari Rangachari (TKR) has an honored place.  He was born in 1912 and his birth centenary is being celebrated at many centers of music in 2012.


Endowed with a pleasant voice,he sang well till his last days. His concerts were always brisk and full of raga bhavam. His  neravals and kalpanaswarams were great to listen and his swara-singing was based on sarvalaghu pattern. He had formal tutelege from Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar, who was also the guru of Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Ayengar. TKR also learnt music under gurukula style from Kotakanallur Subbaiah Bhagavatar.


He joined Annamalai University in Chidambaram and after a prescribed training he was awarded the title of “Sangeetha bhushanam”. He had the benefit of learning music  under stalwarts like Sabesha Iyer, Ponnaiah Pillai, Sathur Krishna Iyengar. Then he was appointed to the faculty at Annamalai University Music Department. He worked there for almost 30 years and also later on at the Central College of Music, Chennai.


Apart from dwelling on the time honored ragams, TKR did sing ragams like Sriranjani,Manji, Garudadhwani etc. His interpretations of these ragas were lively. He had the knack of making his concerts interesting and exciting. Luckily, a few recordings of this great master are available. He has composed a few kritis and Tillanas. His tillanas in Bageshri and Tilang are popular. He has set tunes to some pasurams of Divya Prabhandam.


TKR trained many students.  Notabaly, Vairamagalam Lakshminarayanan used to accompany his guru in many of his concerts and  Lakshminarayanan  himself made a mark as a  concert artiste. TKR’s another disciple Neyyatinkara Mohana Chandran became a Professor of music in a Trivandrum music college. Neela Ramgopal has also learnt music from TKR and has been a performing artiste active in teaching in Bangalore.


He was honored by many music associations  and he was awarded titles like “Sangeetha Ratnakara” and “Kalaimamani” among others. He passed away in 1979.  His musical legacy is being carried out by his daughter, Mallika Jayanth Kumar and his grandson, D.B.Ashwin.


T. K. Rangachari in concert with M. Chandrasekharan and Trichy Sankaran


By Ashok Madhav

(madhav_pgh at yahoo.com)