This write up is a departure from the technical and general issues about classical dance that we have been doing during past few months. Today, I want to talk about my dear Guru, friend, mentor and guide Guru Shri Elangovan Govindarajan. Our association goes back many years, more than two decades, when I was starting out as a young performing artist. He was already an established Carnatic Vocalist of the country, much sought after by dancers and musicians alike. And yet, despite all the fame, he came across as one of the most humble human beings I have ever met. Over the years our relationship, professional as well as personal, has deepened. He has been closely associated with Kalyani Kala Mandir from its inception, has lent his beautiful vocals for almost all our programmes be it live or recorded, sung for Arangetrams of all my students and is the person to go to, for any issue be it related to classical dance and music or life in general. I am honoured to know and be associated with such a learned person and feel privileged that he took me under his tutelage in my yearning to continue my education in Carnatic music. Self less, kind, devoted, hard working and forever helpful, he has become a symbol of what every person or artist should strive to ultimately become. With my deepest gratitude and heartfelt devotion to him as my Guru, I dedicate this blog to one of the greatest Vocalists of my era… the incomparable G. Elangovan…
A widely acclaimed nattuvanar, singer and music composer, Guru Elangovan Govindarajan is the son and disciple of renowned Guru K.J. Govindarajan. Though he regularly collaborates and performs with leading musicians and dancers from various artistic traditions of the world, he is firmly rooted in tradition. Being equally well-versed in the art of nattuvangam, music composition and dance choreography, Guru Elangovan has contributed to the sphere of dance with many innovative compositions and choreographies. He has distinguished himself by being one of the few musicians in the country who can sing and recite jatis while playing the cymbals simultaneously. An empanelled artiste of ICCR, he has travelled extensively in over 52 countries enthralling audiences with his soulful rendering of classical, light classical and devotional music.
In spite of all his achievements he has not stopped learning new skills and innovating. He is a M.A. silver medalist in Indian Classical Vocal Music from Rabindra Bharati University. Blessed which imaginative skills, he has enriched the dance world by contributing with numerous compositions of Varnam, Jatiswaram, Kriti, Bhajan and Tillana for which he has won critical acclaim. He has been bestowed with several awards from World Tamil Association, Hayagriva and World Tamil Centre. He has also been conferred the title Isai Mamani which was presented to him by the Mauritius government. Elangovan is the Founder-Director of Parampara Centre for Indian Classical Music and Dance. Along with his talented wife Guru Marie Elangovan he continues to impart the knowledge of classical dance and music to numerous young children in the capital. We at Kalyani Kala Mandir consider ourselves fortunate to have him as our friend and guide.