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 is a public speaker and writer on human choices, dilemmas, concerns and matters musical. He has started and is involved in organisations whose work is spread across the whole spectrum of art and culture including research, documentation, education, activism and supports artists from economically and socially marginalised communities. 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 and was awarded the Tata Literature award for the best debut non-fiction book for the year 2014. He has received the Ramon Magsayay Award (2016) for his forceful commitment as artist and advocate to art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions, breaking barriers of caste and class.

24 thoughts on “About

  1. Shri Krishna,

    All the time I use to think of writing to you and I found time today.

    I am not knowledgeable in grammer of Carnatic music but listens many many hours.
    I have attended Madurai Mani Iyer’s concert in Arya samaj (I think I remember the name correctly)
    in west-mambalam taken there by my eldest brother.

    What I wanted you, is to sing Carnatic music full nine yards using English words. This will attract westerners who are not aware of Indian music. The initial attraction is English words, but later on they will be hooked to variation and freedom of singer to manipulate a particular tune (ragam). I think this will take Carnatic music to a greater height.

    With a suitable marketing and sales people, such music of yours can also uploaded in IMusic and apple will pay you depending on its down load from them.

    I will appreciate, if you can, a line of reply.

    Raman Sundaram (S.S.Raman in India)


  2. Your interviews are not here…there are some brilliant ones; Yes there is a link to youtube, but a chronological list would be great.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rupcB9wpVCU – NewsX – July 05 2015

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5Gua5FCzu4 – Thanthi TV – 26 Apr 2015

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MKVYZlS2h8 – The Hindu 24 Feb 2015

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx0JW13yoic – NDTV – 24 Oct 2014

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIqo3rjM-b4 – Sun TV 09 – Oct – 2014

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Worii58xiJo – The Hindu 27 Jan 2014

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ofXIm1c7ZA – Headlines Today – 02 Jan 2014

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAGC9aee3DU – Headlines Today – 26 Jan 2013


  3. Krishna, at the onset let me wish u all the best. My sister Bhuaneswari sethuraman who used to attend all the concerts be it bangalore or chennai music festival is now bed ridden and would be very very happy if she is able to meet u in person please. Even thoush ur kutcheri at Unnati bangalore for gokulashtami is hardly 2 to 3 kms from her residence she is not still lucky enough to listen to ur music since she is bed ridden since 1 and half years. Now this is my since request to you … She is quite depressed nowadays and if sees u it might act to cheer up her moods. So, Can u please make it to visit her during ur visit to bangalore just for a short while. I know that u are v busy but still…My sincere request for my sis… If u can inform me ur convenience we will make the necessary arrangements to pick u and drop u. Please let me know…I hope this will not be dealt like any other mail from rasikas. Please help.


  4. Please refer to my letter reg my bed ridden sister. I was expecting a reply all these days. But o have my tecd any reply so far.at least a reply can be given


  5. Dear Krishna, This is Ejji. I do not have your mail id or contact number and so am using this medium to get across to you. (Sorry if this mail can be viewed by others.) The last time I had a mail from you was when I was doing the Highwaytoswades Drive in May 2014. I distinctly remember I received your mail when I was in the remotest part of Meghalaya in a “sacred grove”, surprised both by your mail and the ability to receive mobile phone signals at so remote a place.
    Recently, I had shared your letter to Modi on my FB page. It drew quite a wide response. Not one dissenting voice at all! I would like you to see this link for some of the comments I received: https://www.facebook.com/ejji.k.umamahesh/posts/10207092484766875?notif_t=like
    I also make it a point to read your columns and appreciate your command of English, tongue in cheek humor and Frankness beyond compare! I do enquire about you to Sivakumar or Narayanan whenever I meet them.
    Would love to be in touch with you. Regards to you, Sangeetha and family. Are you in touch with Rasika? Do let me have your mail id.
    These are my coordinates:
    ​Ejji K. Umamahesh
    Web site: http://www.ejji.4t.com
    Blog: ejji6t.wordpress.com
    Momadrives: http://www.momadrives.com
    Highwaytoswades: http://www.highwaytoswades.in
    Photo gallery: picasaweb.google.com/ejjiumamahesh
    Hand phone: + 91 99406 35547


  6. Haven’t browsed through the website much. Love the singing of T.M. Krishna and the way he improvises. I had been a part of a fusion music band and we had performed songs like ‘Manavyalakim’ and ‘Chinnanjiru Kiliye’, like the way TMK sings. Feels heavenly to listen to such improvisation of yours. Loads of respect for him as a human being and what he stands for. Thanks a lot everything. I am sure I will be partnering in carrying forward this genre of music and standing for art as a whole. :)


  7. Sir, am hard core fan of your voice and also up writings. Yesterday, I happened to attend Sringeri Mutt concert. To be honest from my heart, it’s the first time am listening to a average performance from a legend like you. Is it because of audience not upto your mark? Regards, Nagojee Rao.


  8. And we began to listen carnatic music..i appreciate Krishnas effort to uphold the beautiful music from reserved section.which is full of sambradaya , tredition ,superstition, everything..Let music come to all
    for that one need great thought.it is Tm krishna who is extremely talented and wide area of knowledge
    can make some deference .It is my view that we have to see things through scientifically,,historically and aesthetically.After all we are all human being .we are all connected..we need help time to time.


  9. About your article in DNA regarding “inclusion”. I’ll admit to not having it read all the way through :)
    I have a couple of questions:
    1) Entirely relating to the personal, how would you have navigated your life without an opportunity to “master” carnatic music in the manner you have, including receiving the right opportunities at the right time, given your talent?
    2) In a public capacity, what role could you conceive for yourself, particularly in the vein of what you are doing without first having becoming an accomplished, acknowledged, successful and respected musician?

    On a personal note, I have had the privilege of attending your concerts, more than a decade ago, something which I thoroughly relished as a fan, as young people are wont to be :) I am sure your mastery has only grown and I look forward someday to hearing you perform as an audience member or “lay public”.


  10. sir i am a small documentary film maker. planning on a documentary on thyagaraja as a searcher. searcher of truth or soul, finding rama in his own soul. searching “parivrajakanam rama”, not the king, not the lord but someone detached. i think this rama is not what the brahmin hierarchy projects, nor the carnatic music world as it is. and i wish you can anchor it. may u kindly give me some time to talk in detail. my mail id is sarath2003@gmail.com. awaiting a favorable reply…with love and appreciation


  11. Namaskaram vidwan tm krishna sir,

    I absolutely love your voice and style of singing.
    I am learning both carnatic and hindustani vocal here in the US.
    I have been fortunate enough to take workshops from great vidwans in carnatic classical vocal such as the late vidwan rk shrikantan of bangalore, the late rajam iyer of chennai, and r. Suryaprakash of chennai. I have a thirst for learning more and more in music.
    Since I grew up in US, I have also learnt western classical vocal.

    I would love to get some tips on voice culture from you.

    What is your opinion on all this?


    Your fan,

    Smt. Pallavisree Vasanth Tambraparni


  12. Dear sir
    Your characterization of indian classical music as an “art music” completely shows a lack of understanding of traditional classical music. Your inability to answer the very basic question of what makes karnatic music “classical” shows how you have lack of education about ancient musical art form of Hindus. It is sad to know that you do not experience any bhakti or spiritual upliftment while parroting the kritis of great composers pn their deities. Shame on you in trying to confuse people with your ignorant rants that go as lectures.


  13. Congratulations TM Krishna for Ramon Magsaysay award! We are so proud of you!
    Looking forward to more greatness and goodness from you!


  14. Dear Krishna Iknow you as a boy when I was working in All India RAdio Madras in the early nineties.Your Guru Sri Sitha Rama Sarma and I are good friends .To day I felt very happy to see the news item about your Magassay award.Hearty congratulations.You have grown So tall in the profession.Just now I went through your biography in Wikipedia. As an artist as a teacher as a motivator and as a crusader you have doe remarkable work .It paid you rich dividends.Congrats


  15. APROPOS the good news that Sri TMK is awarded the Magasagay Award and I offer my KUDOS to Sri TMK and now reproduce my writing way back in 2015 when TMK took the flashy decision of NOT singing in Margazhi Season!We are elated that TMK gets a very BIG title and wan t him to sing more and more in future!Sri.T M Krishna one of our middle aged Carnatic singer is known for his talents both as a musician and otherwise.TMK manages to be in the NEWS even during the off-season and the latest one is his advance and prior statement of NOT singing during the forth comiing Dec 15
    Margazhi Music Festival.One feels for the thousands of TMK rasikas who will be deeply disappointed by his SUDDEN decision so early now feeling that TMK is trying to be flashy and tries to be the centre of attraction to the media in general.In the yester years of the golden era of Carnatic Music Messers Ariyakudi,Semmangudi GNB and the evergreen Madurai Mnai Iyer used to sing in ALL the available forums of Temples to Music Academy!But today the scenario is changed one and we now appeal to TMK to reconsider his move and sing in the festival!Once again KUDOS TO TMK the singer!


  16. T.m.krishna’s eloquence in his rendition needs no mention as it is not only unique but also traditional. But I wonder at times if he sings for himself going into some kind of trance forgetting the audience in front. He looks wayward, coarse and sleepish and even accompaniments go into slow motion leaving the audience wondering as to what is happening. Suddenly he will come back to life and everything goes on like a well oiled machine. His experimentation like Danam not followed by pallavi, asking violinist to go solo on raga renditions may be discomforting to puritans but perhaps worth looking into. In any field you need some one thinks out of the box and t.m k is one such.


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