Thodur Madabusi Krishna’s three-initialled renown as ‘TMK’ comes from his widely acknowledged stature as a vocalist in the Karnatik tradition. His musicality eludes standard analyses. Uncommon in his rendition of music and original in his interpretation of it, Krishna is at once strong and subtle, manifestly traditional and stunningly innovative.
He studied at the Krishnamurti Foundation’s The School in Chennai, and Jiddu Krishnmurti’s philosophy of ‘pathlessness’ has unmistakably influenced Krishna’s un-preconditioned journeys over the Karnatik continent. Krishna’s musical grounding was honed into mastery under the tutelage of Vidvans Seetharama Sarma, Chingleput Ranganathan and the legendary Semmangudi Srinivasier.
Krishna’s pen is sharp, his words blunt. He thinks upon and writes about issues affecting the human condition and about matters musical. He has started and is involved in many organisations whose work is spread across the whole spectrum of Karnatik music, including research, archiving and documentation, taking Karnatik music to smaller towns and villages and supporting artists from rural south India. He has co-authored Voices Within: Carnatic Music – Passing on an Inheritance, a book dedicated to the greats of Karnatik music. His most recent book, A Southern Music, published by Harper Collins in December 2013, is a first-of-its-kind work on the Carnatic tradition.