P.S.Narayanaswamy “The rigorous regime of gurukula vasam honed my skills,” declares PSN who is obsessed with his guru! The patriarchal Pitamaha Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer – chiselled PSN into a distinguished artiste.
PSN’s association with his guru is laced with many interesting episodes. Decades ago, when PSN was sharing the platform with his guru, to show the world the potential of the young lad (PSN), his guru signalled to him to continue a kirtana. He had just learnt it and had not memorised it. PSN had a paper in which the song was written and he referred it occasionally. On seeing this, his guru at once snatched it from his hand and threw it away. He then asked him to continue the song. All this in the midst of a kutchery. PSN was visibly shaken and scared and learnt a lesson from his guru who always knew the sahityas by-heart before going for a concert.
PSN is a torch-bearer of a great tradition and reminiscences about it now and then. He feels that ‘kelvi gnanam’ (listening to music) is very important. Listening and practising the ‘sangatis’ is vital for a performer. Copying will only land an artiste in a pitiable condition. Creativity without detracting from the prescribed format should be practised by an artiste, declares PSN.
Performing with disciples is entirely different from performing alone, according to PSN. A veteran guru, he has a galaxy of students who emulate him.
Talking about the do’s and don’ts of singing in a kutchery, he shares his thoughts with us. PSN feels that there should be two main ragas to elaborate. The composition of Tyagaraya should be featured and Tamil songs should also be included. Every artiste should start with a Varnam as it moulds the voice and helps in mellowing the vocal chords. He advices the artistes to use a wide range of talas to lend variety to the concert. Ragam-Talam-Pallavi exhibits the musical intellect of the artiste. Only at the age of 30, an artiste is full-fledged to ascend a platform, opines PSN.
PSN has been decorated with a slew of awards including the Padma Bhushan. His foreign sojourns have fetched him laurels as well. He is a simple man with clear ideals, whose strict adherence to tradition has made him follow the footprints of his guru. A titan among ‘teachers’, he strides the musical world like a colossus radiating music.
Kalakendra.com : March 12, 2010,