The creator and promulgator of a distinctive sound in South Indian bhajan that is known and cherished by Hindus of all sects all over the world, Sri Pithukuli Murugadas has served his religion through his musical talents now for 32 years. Two days before his 64th birthday, February 7th - Thai Pusam Day - The New Saivite World interviewed Murugadas in Chidambaram, following his performance to an audience of 3,000. A warm, frank and strong individual who expresses these qualities through his powerful, commanding vocal performances, Murugadas explained that, born in 1918, he began playing music at the age of 7, but started his professional performances later, at the age of 32, in 1950. Since that time he has performed in many countries, including South Africa, Mauritius, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. To Sri Lanka he has made 42 visits. The records and tape recordings of this artist are perhaps the most listened to and loved of any single South Indian performer. His mature, sonorous voice is unmistakable. Murugadas is often requested to give blessings at gatherings and ceremonies, where he shares of his deep inspiration and love of God.
After listening to his concerts in person it is easy to know the reason for his outstanding success and popularity. When he and his fellow musicians and singers begin to play the audience is swept away in a beautiful balance of harmony, force and rhythm. Sri Murugadas sings and plays the harmonium and places great emphasis on the efforts of the team of artists with him. By his side as lead female singer is his wife, Devi Saroja Murugadas, an accomplished dancer, singer and poetess. Singing by her side is his sister-in-law, Devi Nelliar Pornamal. Two highly talented drummers complete the ensemble - Thiru Sundaram, a mridangam player for 25 years and Thiru Vasudevarau, who plays the tabla, also with 25 years of experience.
When not busy with performances, Sri Murugadas occupies his time in writing - poetry, letters to devotees, and articles for souvenirs, all in his beloved Tamil language of course. We are sure that the Hindus of the world join us in wishing Murugadas a very happy 64th birthday and a long and healthy, happy life, and humbly thank him for his priceless contributions to our lives through his music.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.