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TM Krishna is a vocalist in the Carnatic tradition. As a public intellectual, Krishna speaks and writes about issues affecting the human condition and about matters cultural. Krishna has started and is involved in many organisations whose work is spread across the whole spectrum of music and culture. He has co-authored Voices Within: Carnatic Music: Passing on an Inheritance, a book dedicated to the greats of Carnatic music. His path-breaking book A Southern Music: The Karnatik Story, published in 2013, was a first-of-its-kind philosophical, aesthetic and socio-political exploration of the genre. For this, he was awarded the 2014 Tata Literature Award for Best First Book in the non-fiction category. His long-form essay ‘MS Understood’ for The Caravan was featured in The Caravan Book of Profiles, as one of their ‘twelve definitive profiles’. It has been translated into Tamil and published as the book Katrinile Karainda Tuyar.
His 2018 book Reshaping Art asks important questions about how art is made, performed and disseminated and addresses crucial issues of caste, class and gender within society while exploring the contours of democracy, culture and learning. He is the driving force behind the Chennai Kalai Theru Vizha and the Svanubhava initiative. He has been part of inspiring collaborations, such as the Chennai Poromboke Paadal with environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman, performances with the Jogappas (transgender musicians) and co-conceptualising and performing Karnatic Kattaikuttu, an unusual aesthetic conversation between art forms and communities that belong to two ends of the social spectrum. His musico-poetic partnership with India’s leading contemporary Tamil writer Perumal Murugan, is unprecedented. In 2016, Krishna received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of ‘his forceful commitment as artist and advocate to art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions’. In 2017 he received the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration Award for his services in promoting and preserving national integration in the country. In 2017, he has also received the Professor V Aravindakshan Memorial Award for connecting Carnatic music with the common Man. His latest book Sebastian and Sons traces the history of the mridangam-maker and the mridangam over the past 100 years.
TM KRISHNA: SEBASTIAN & SONS
TM Krishna and Maya Mirchandani in conversation
The groundbreaking musician, writer and activist speaks with journalist Maya Mirchandani of his latest book, where the metaphor of the ‘mridangam’ and its cultural history takes us on a journey across the structural inequalities of power and public performance. A deep discussion for our virtual times on society, tradition and art.