Renowned Carnatic music artiste and senior music teacher, N. S. Rajam passed away on February 28 at the age of 84. She was a Kalaimamani decorated artiste and longtime Mylaporean.
Rajam was born in Thiruvarur, into a family that valued classical music. Her grandfather, Azhiyur Ramamritham Iyer, was a well-known mridangam artist, and her brother, late Dr. N Ramani, a legendary Carnatic flautist.
Rajam’s fascination for the mridangam was evident from a young age, and she began playing the instrument at a rudimentary level.
She trained under the tutelage of stalwart Thiruvarur Rajagopala Iyer, also known as Kuju iyer, and her arangetram at the age of eight was a testament to her exceptional playing capabilities.
Throughout her career, Rajam accompanied several top artistes, including M. L Vasanthakumari, D. K Pattammal, and Trichur Ramachandran, among others, and was praised for her grasp of laya. Her skills were not limited to the mridangam: she was also proficient in singing and playing the veena.
Rajam was also a dedicated teacher; she trained hundreds of students over seven decades. Students came to her for advanced-level training for concert preparation and rhythm correction.
Her influence extended beyond India, as she taught at the Temple of Fine Arts in Singapore for five years.
She is survived by her three daughters and one son – Padma, Uma, Vidya and Nagai Narayanan ( mridangam artiste) and their families.
Rajam had been living in TSV Kovil Street for 20 years. The past few months, she is with her son Nagai Narayanan in Mandaveli – at 23/7, Appavoo Gramani 2nd Street, Mandaveli.
Contact – 98417 28699.
- Tribute inputs from Sharanya Krishnamurthy