Hers Has Been A Grievous Loss To The Music World

P Ramabhadran

When Sri C.E. Krishnan, one of our trustees called me and informed me that Smt. Ranjani Hebbar had passed away the previous evening, I felt as though a ton of bricks were falling on my head. It took a while to come out of the shock. I was so fond of her and her music when my daughter Sow. Shanthi passed away in December 1978, I could withstand the shock. She was born with a congenital heart defect and was a given up child. We were expecting this to happen anytime and it did, 22 years later. In this case it was most unexpected.

I have the recording of four of her SAFE concerts. Her magic is her voice. She could traverse all the three octaves with felicity and ease and without contortions on her face and without any distortion. Her voice reminds me of someone I had heard before. It matches with the matchless voice of Smt. N.C.Vasanthakokilam and Smt. Srirangam

Gopalaratnam. Well, then, they had crossed 40 years when they left us. But this young lady was yet to see her thirtieth year.

It is not just the voice. She had a good command on the grammar and her manodharma was exemplary. Her repertoire was exhaustive. As a matter of fact in all her recordings, I find that she has not repeated any krithis or ragas. Her magnum opus ‘Vachaspthi’ with Pahi Jaga Janani runs over 50 minutes. Her elaboration of

Brindavana Saranga penetrates your heart. Her RTP in ‘Sallapam’ (close on the notes of Hindolam) which she had learnt from Sri Chingleput Ranganathan is very nice indeed. Bhavapriya is yet another masterpiece. Her passing away at this young age is a grievous loss to the music world.

May her soul rest in peace.


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