Mani Krishnaswami, christened Mani Perundevi by her parents Lakshminarasimhachari and Marakathavalli, was born on February 3, 1930 at Kangeyanallur in the North Arcot district of Tamilnadu.
She had the unique distinction of acquiring and enriching her musical knowledge from several stalwarts. Not many have the good fortune of having a strong foundation laid, but Mani Krishnaswami was lucky to receive her initial training from musical giants like Jalatarangam Venkataramanayya Chetti and Tirupparkadal Srinivasa Iyengar.
Her decision to join Kalakshetra to do the Sangeeta Sironmani course was perhaps a major one that shaped her future.
Kalakshetra was then run by stalwarts like Tiger Varadachari, Budalur Krishnamurthi and others.Tiger Varadachari at Kalakshetra took a parental interest in Mani's musical education and she profited considerably under his influence. Other stalwarts at Kalakshetra included veteran Budalur Krishnamoorthi Sastrigal whose vocal prowess was no less than as a Gottuvadyam exponent and he taught her number of Kritis of the Trinity in the authentic style. Sri.T.K.Ramaswami Iyengar was another teacher of hers at Adyar.
Her training further continued under Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer (from whom she acquired proficiency in the Laya aspects), Mysore Vasudevacharya (special compositions, including his own), T K Jayarama Iyer and Musiri Subramanya Iyer.
She eventually was branded as an authentic representative of the Musiri style, with the special emphasis she laid on bhava. Her huge repertoire, and especially her expertise in the compositions of Mysore Vas udevachar was a matter of common knowledge..
Her rendition of kritis like Koluvaiyunnade (Devagandhari), Sivakamasundari (Jaganmohini) etc will remain evergreen in the hearts of rasikas. Her voice retained its sheen and malleability throughout her concert career. It is perhaps a little-known fact that Mani Krishnaswami was also proficient on playing the violin….
A well-known music critic Subbudu commended her voice as golden and mellifluous..
- Sangeetha Choodamani, 1979 by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha
- Kalaimamani, 1991 by Tamil Nadu State Government
- Sangeetha Kalanidhi, 1992 by Madras Music Academy
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 1987 by Sangeet Natak Akademi
- Padma Shri, (2002)
Carnatic music is poorer with the demise of one of the senior women vocalists, Sangeeta Kalanidhi Mani Krishnaswami, on July 12, 2002.
. Will the vacuum ever be filled? - is the oft-asked question …
Suguna Purushottaman said "Mani, Suguna Varadachari and I were extremely thick friends, all of us having learnt from Musiri. A couple of years ago, we celebrated his centenary year in a grand manner all over India, beginning at the Music Academy, Chennai….Unlike today, we never had the luxury of writing down the notations or recording our classes in those days. We had to totally cultivate and rely upon our memory. Mani also didn't like to refer to notes while she sang. Her rendition of compositions and other musical aspects were excellent…
Senior vocalist T R Subramaniam: "Mani Krishnaswami and hard work go hand in hand. Nowadays many artistes lack the kind of dedication that she had…
Some of her songs are here:
Some of her songs are here: