‘MY WINDOW TO LIFE IS MUSIC’
some Chennai homes T.M. Krishna’s name comes up every day, half in pride, half in exasperation. The pride is for his music. When Carnatic concerts had come to a leaden stage of rinse and repeat, Krishna shaped the sounds anew and took a raga where no one had taken it before. He explains esoteric concepts plainly, as only an artist with an unerring grasp can. To his students, he teaches imagination. “Forget the template!” he urges. “We should hear Mukhari no matter what phrase you sing.” The exasperation is for his singing on a beach, in a bus, in the ashen wake of the Ennore power plant. There is a “shut up and sing” school that wonders why he writes opinion pieces. The earth shook when he first sat out Chennai’s December music season. Even his highly readable A Southern Music
(2013) raised heat for bringing up caste, appropriation and exclusion in the Carnatic context.