Accordionist Devanathan shares his 70 years of musical journey

“My mother always used to say that I was a born singer and that vocal talent runs in my blood. I have a strong musical background, and this is my life,” says septuagenarian Devanathan, a resident of Madanandapuram, Chennai, as he sets himself to talk about his path of passion.

This enthusiast who is a professional piano accordionist, speaking to News Today, says that he used to rock the floor at a time when stage music and orchestra troop shows were popular. “My mother was a veena player and my father, a harmonium player. I grew up listening to them and got to learn all genres of music, such as Carnatic, light and western. After I completed my engineering, my passion for music drove me to buy a piano accordion. Thus, began my professional journey,” recalls Devanathan.

“There were certain orchestras that were popular among the audiences during 1970s. Some of them were Kamesh & Rajamani, Shankar Ganesh and MSV orchestra. I took part as a leading singer in these groups,” explains the musician.

Apart from playing for light music groups, Devanathan also took part in stage dramas for popular troupes like Kathadi Ramamurthy, Y G Parthasarathy, V Gopalakrishnan’s Gopi theatres and Suruli Rajan. He has also done a number of solo performances in India and abroad. Another important part of his musical journey, he points, is the participation in Cleaveland Aradhana through Neyveli Sri Santhanagopalan’s choir.

Devanathan says, “I was always fond of divinity, yoga and spiritual discourses. I got the opportunity to compose the title music for a programme in a private channel. It was a 15-minutes programme called ‘Dinam Oru Divya Namam.’ The idea was to use the ‘namas’ of Sri Maha Vishnu from the 4,000 verses of Divya Prabhandham. We wrote the lyrics accordingly and I also sang the song along with three others. People still refer to me as ‘Dinam Oru Divyanaamam Devanathan’.

Although people still come to watch my shows and performances, it is not like older times. With the domination of DJs and other musical advancements, opportunities have drastically reduced for orchestra troupes, he sighs.

“Only proper training will give a strong foundation. At present, there are various advancements through digital music and computer techniques, but one should not be totally dependent on them.”

Devanathan can be reached at 93580 36291.

P T Usha