Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

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#1 Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by Ashwin »


July 12th, 2018 marks the 90th birthday of our Guru, Prof. SR Janakiraman. Prof. SRJ is perhaps the oldest living disciple of Tiger Varadachariar, Musiri Subrahmanya Iyer, Tiruppampuram Swaminatha Pillai, and Brindamma. For those who may not know (an unlikely group in this forum!), these are four titans of Carnatic music from legendary musical paramparA-s who, in some fortuitous twist of space and time, made their music available to worthy students in the mid-twentieth century through the provident initiatives of venerable institutions such as Kalakshetra and the Madras Central College of Music.

We have spent a quarter-century with SRJ Mama and have found the depth of both his knowledge and his affection to be limitless. It has indeed been the greatest privilege of our lives to have shared this time with him, and his influence on us extends far beyond music into the very philosophies of dedication, hard work, conviction, and discipline.

A personal note -- growing up, it was my nature (and still is) to challenge the "religious" notions of deference and I was instead inclined towards questioning and critical thinking. However, one of the most fruitful realizations of my life was that there is nothing to be lost and an infinity to be gained through total and willing submission to a desired ideal -- for me and Rohin, that ideal is our dear SRJ Mama, and what he has shared with us is of incalculable worth. My most humble praNAm-s to SRJ Mama on his 90th birthday.

If I may, I would like to share the following post, which was wonderfully written by my brother, Rohin Iyer, on Facebook, to commemmorate the occasion:

"Happy birthday to the doyen, our mentor and our guru, Prof.S.R. Janakiraman, who turns 90 years young today! Please join me in sending him your wishes and seeking his blessings!

Shri SRJ (or SRJ Mama, as we have affectionately known him since we began learning from him in 1993, nearly 25 years ago to the day), has been a force to be reckoned with since he rose to prominence in the music field: An academic scholar and musicologist of the highest order combined with a musician's musician in the truest sense, a rare combination indeed. These terms are now used loosely, but SRJ Mama has devoted his life to the systematization and quantification of musical theory and reduced it to practice in a way that never has been (or likely ever will be) replicated or repeated. Most importantly, Shri SRJ never doubts the potential of his students -- neither age, nor past musical training, nor any other label phases his approach to teaching, which is to impart pure, unadulterated music without bias, to the delight of his deserving listeners and students. SRJ mama also does not discriminate between rAgAs, bANis, differing schools of thought, or composers -- he lets the evidence in treatises speak for itself. He pays his obeisance to all of his gurus in equal measure (Tiger-wal, Brindamma, Musiri Ayyarwal, and Shri Swaminatha Pillai), and gives rare/vivadhi ragas like jyOtiswarUpiNi and dhavaLAmbari equal status to ragas like SankarabharaNam and kAmbodhi. Often quoted in our lessons as saying "nothing is a waste in nature," music = nature to him, and vice versa. It is a natural extension of his own brilliant mind and the physical principles that govern this world. He spent the last 25 years cultivating two hopeful young musicians (myself and my brother Ashwin) from T-shirt and shorts wearing pre-teens into serious musicians and students, while also imparting a sense of humility toward the greatness of his own gurus. His approach is simple -- the systematic and scientific pursuit of musical aesthetics. And we have become better musicians and people because of the wisdom and blessings he has imparted to us.

SRJ Mama's laurels, which include numerous titles (Padmashri Awardee by the Government of India, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Sangita Kala Acharya by the Music Academy to name just a few), marathon and epic lecture demonstrations (e.g. 72 Melaragamalika), publications and recordings, while being the products of his own genius, have had the unending support of his loving wife, Meenakshi Janakiraman, and his children, Padmaja, Balaji, and Ramji, as well as his most devoted students, who have always been his biggest fans. Please join me, along with the global music fraternity of his fans and well-wishers, in celebrating this momentous milestone birthday!"

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#2 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by rshankar »

Humble praNAms to the mahAvidvAn!

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#3 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by thanjavooran »

Sashtanga namaskarams. Fondly known as Tirupathiwala by SSI. Pray for his Healthy
Long life.
14 07 2018

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#4 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by arasi »

Respectful praNAms to an admirable musician, scholar and more...

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#5 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by pattamaa »

pranams to walking music encyclopedia...

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#6 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by shankarank »

Namaskarams to Sri SRJ. I reminisce the Lec Dem arranged by an organization where I had a small part. Even though I developed some differences with some of the points made ( I had covered that in this forum in threads!) , it is greats like him who first lead us and put us in the path of inquiry.

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#7 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by rajeshnat »

Ashwin and Rohin
Lovely tribute . may be i should ask Aishu to write few words about him too(Are you there Vinod Venkatraman is Aishu ever seeing the forum)

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#8 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by narayan »

Salute to the veteran on this occasion. I think many, many have benefited from his efforts over the years and now through some of his recordings of less-heard kritis, his reach is even wider. An articulate and convincing speaker, with much knowledge and wisdom to support his views.

Sreeni Rajarao
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#9 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by Sreeni Rajarao »

I had made a mental note of this thread, and finally I am coming back to it!

I would like to wish Prof. SRJ many more years of health and music!

Once every few months, I listen to a recording that was shared a few years back by Ashwin or Rohin, the one with nAdabrahma and enjoy it immensely. And then, I cherish the opportunity I once had, to sit very close to Prof. and listen to his chamber concert right here in Rochester Hills, MI, accompanied by Ashwin and Rohin. That was probably around the year 2008 approximately.

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#10 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by Sivaramakrishnan »

Several years back I had the opportunity to catch up with a few episodes of sri SRJ's presentation on Melakarta ragas. His absolute mastery over the carnatic idiom coupled with enviable communication skills in English made it a great experience. He described how ragas are emotive. Mahavaidyanatha Sivan's Melaragamalika was beautifully explained to support many of the points. His delineation of Vakulabharanam and the sahitya portion Devakulabharana in the composition were superb.

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#11 Re: Prof. SRJ turns 90 years old

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

Many many happy returns of the day for the doyen of Carnatic Music. I have had the pleasure of meeting SRJ Mama along with my father. He was totally devoted to his students and but for the politics in the Music Academy he would have been the Principal of the Academy's school of Music. SRJ himself would not lobby for the position although my father championed his cause. His knowledge with his linguistic prowess is unparalleled.His willingness to share his knowledge with his students impressed me most.

May he live long enough to sustain our teaching and research Sampradaya.

Humble pranams to the great Scholar.

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