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Ace violinist Narayan Parthasarathy passes away
- Vijay Shanker

October 29, 2021

violinist Narayan Parthasarathy
Mumbai based ace violinist Narayan Parthasarathy, left for his heavenly abode, after a massive cardiac arrest on the morning of 17th October 2021. He was 53 and leaves behind his family of music lovers and musicians. For more than three decades, Narayan was a professional musician, rendering musical support for several music and dance performances in Mumbai and around the globe.

Narayan was the son of Lakshmi and Narayan Rao and was born on January 18, 1968 in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. A Mumbai lad, he did his post graduation in Commerce, completed a diploma in Mass Communication and EXIM from St.Xaviers, Mumbai. Music has been an integral part of the family; his mother Lakshmi and elder brother Sridar are both accomplished and popular musicians. True to the tradition of the family, Narayan showed keen interest in music, so much that during his childhood, whenever the family went out to attend a function or a temple visit, one would always see Narayan sitting right in front of the Nadaswaram players, happily enjoying the music. Narayan's parents spotted his flair for music at a young age.

Young Narayan was fascinated seeing his elder brother playing the mridangam and soon started learning to play the mridangam. Around 1976, Narayan started learning to play the violin under the tutelage of SRR Sharma, at the Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha and further under Ramchandra Sharma. Narayan wanted to embellish his style of playing the violin, hence sought guidance from the noted Carnatic music vocalist T.R. Balamani. It was under her that he developed his accompaniment skills and made his mark as an efficient, melodic performer. He had the unique ability to imbibe and perfect a musical phrase played by a master performer and mentor, analyzing it through the master's perspective. Narayan regularly played for Carnatic concerts as an able violin accompanist and also performed solo concerts. His ability to adapt to various forms of music gave him an opportunity to perform with renowned musicians like Shankar Mahadevan, Rattan Mohan Sharma, etc.

Narayan also provided musical support for various albums, ensembles, jingles and music compositions produced and led by Ustad Taufiq Qureshi, Ustad Fazal Qureshi, Ranjit Barot, Ajay-Atul, Rajat Dholakia, Indrajit Sharma, Gulraj Singh, etc. He regularly was part of numerous dance performances, supporting the artistes with his soulful violin rendering. Most gurus of Bharatanatyam and Odissi have always wanted Narayan to embellish their performances with his melodious violin support.

Renowned violinists, duo Kumaresh and Ganesh, Mysore Manjunath, were very close to Narayan and he often used to discuss and learn the finer nuances of music and violin playing with keen interest and open mind. A gentle giant in his own right, never over-playing his role in a performance, yet making a distinct mark of his music, was the highlight of Narayan's personality. The Mumbai music world will not only miss a soulful musician but also a great human being and supportive friend.

Vijay Shanker
Vijay Shanker is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.

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