Music Notes for a Composition in the Raga Keeravani

Mr. Retnam (b. 1918) was a prominent musician and a bul-bul-tara (Indian Banjo or Nagoya Harp) player. Born in Penang in 1918, he arrived in Singapore in 1929 and pursued his interest in Indian music. He popularized the use of the bul-bul-tara in Indian classical music in Singapore. Mr Retnam formed the Rama Bhajana Mandali at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, and performed alongside veterans of Indian music such as Pandit M Ramalingam and MV Gurusamy. He was also a member of the Ramakrishna Sangeetha Sabha, and Singapore Carnatic Orchestra until 1984. Throughout his musical career, he performed with Bhaskar’s Academy of Dance and Gemini Music Band, and for Radio Television Singapore. He was also a keen theatre practitioner who composed music for and acted in several Tamil stage dramas and productions staged during the Tamil’s Festival or Thamizhar Thirunal. Mr Retnam was also the first music director for Krishna Our Guide and composed their bhajans or prayer songs. He was recognised for his talent by various organisations such as Indian Youth League (1941) and Tamils Representative Council (1958), and was awarded the “Golden Robe” award by Guru Gopinath in 1980.These are notes/notations handwritten by Shri Retnam for a composition in the Raga Keeravani.

Date/Period
1968–1969
Region
Singapore
Dimension
Object size: 25.5 x 20.0 cm
Accession No.
2016-00161
Collection of
Indian Heritage Centre
Credit Line
Gift of Ghanavenothan Retnam
Category
Documents and Paper