Sundaram Balachander

Sundaram Balachander

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Sundaram Balachander

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Sundaram Balachander (January 18, 1927 – April 13, 1990), born in Madras was an Indian self-taught veena player.

Early life

His ancestors were from the Tanjore area, which is acclaimed as the seat of culture and fine arts in South India. His grandfather is Rao Saheb Vaidyanatha Iyer. He was born to V. Sundaram Iyer and Parvathi alias Chellamma. His elder brother S. Rajam is a well-known singer and teacher, and a gifted artist as well. His elder sister is Jayalakshmi (who later acted as M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar’s pair in Sivakavi), Saraswathi was his younger sister, followed by the twins Kalpagam and Gopalaswami.

From the age of five he showed an interest in classical music and his first musical attempt was with the kanjeera, which is a small, circular percussion instrument. Within a year he was accompanying his brother and other musicians on the kanjeera during regular concert engagement, in Sabhas, in temple festivals, in devotional congregations, etc. From age six on his career achieved steady growth. He also learnt to play tabla, mridangam, harmonium, bulbuldara, dilruba, and shehnai .


On the sitar, Balachander was a fully fledged solo concert artist by age twelve and it is interesting to note that he performed South Indian Carnatic music on that instrument. From age fifteen to eighteen he served as an artist on the staff of "All India Radio", Madras, playing many instruments during the almost daily broadcasts, while also performing in solo...
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