Composers and Musicians

Sangita Kalanidhi T.K. Govinda Rao

Tripunithura, Krishnan Embrandiri, Govinda Rao, who hails from a family of musicians from Kochi-Kerala, is a leading vocalist of Indian Classical Karnatak Music. In 1949 he joined the then Central College of Karnataka Music at Madras where under the care of great musicians like Sangita Kalanidhi Tiruppampuram Swaminatha Pillai and Smt. T. Brnda, he completed the course of  Sangita Vidwan

TKG was fortunate to have as his guru, the founder-Principal, Padmavibhushan, Sangita Kalanidhi, Isaip Perarinar Sri Musiri Subrahmanya Iyer, the doyon of Karnatak Music. A rigorous gurukula training spread over fifteen years followed by many years of close association with his Guru, marks him as a faithful representative of the Musiri style of Bhava-laden renderings.

A career that spanned over five decades brought him assignments such as Lecturer, Govt. of Tamizh Nadu’ Music College, Chennai; Producer- Music, All India Radio, Chennai and finally Chief Producer-Music in the Directorate-General, All India Radio, New Delhi. In addition, he had been associated with the Music Academy, Chennai, as a member of the Advisory Committee, Central Sangit Natak Academy and the ICCR as also with Universities of Banares, Delhi, Madras, Annamalai, Bangalore and Telugu University in various capacities.  

All these assignments, however, did not deter him from his prime vocation as a vocalist and teacher that took him, over the years, all over India and abroad: Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, USA (S.V. Temple, Pittsburgh, among other cities), Canada and Muscat, where he has taught hundreds of students.  

Titles like Sangita Kalanidhi, Sangita Cudamani, Sangita Sastra Ratnakara, Sangita Ratnakara (USA), Ganakala Tilaka, Nadakkanal, Swara Samrat, Sangita Samrat, Sangita Acarya, Gayaka Sikhamani besides the Academi Award from the Central Sangit Natak Academy- the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, and Asthana Vidvan of Sri Kanci Kamakoti Pitham have been conferred on him for his contributions to the field of Karnataka Music.  

As the renowned senior music critic Sri P.N. Krishnamurthy, quoted in the well known music Magazine “Sruti” said. “T.K.G. is veteran of the old school who has played a prominent role in the preservation of all that is precious in the truly classical rendition of Karnataka Music.”  

To promote, preserve and propagate the time-tested oral traditions of Classical Karnataka Music, he founded a body named “Ganamandir Trust” with the object of publishing works on music, producing audio/video CDs and cassettes in his “Ganamandir Studios”; organising seminars and workshops on music in India and elsewhere, also providing them to the donor-members free of cost.  

TKG has completed the second face of his monumental project of compiling and editing all the so far available, authentic compositions of TRINITY of Karnataka Music, compositions of Maharaja Sri Swathi Tirunal, in diacritical Roman & Devanagari scripts with meanings in English and SRGM notations in Roman scripts. Presented in comprehensive volumes, the common scripts help to bridge, not only the language barrier, but also the generation gaps, while preserving the essence and identity of the original that remain characteristically and traditionally Indian. He has performed at the Navarathri Mandapam and is one of the rare artists who has in his repertoire very rare Swathi Krithis.

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