The heritage house in Devakottai (Tamil Nadu) used to resonate with classical music and dance frequently. Young Narayanan listened to those great musicians and watched the stunning dance performances of the stalwarts.
The interest in music did not fade away as he grew up and joined the banking services.
Narayanan wanted to preserve the music, his father Al. Ar.Chockiah Chettiar, Zamindar of Devakottai patronised and recorded at his home.
"As a child, I had even played with all these stalwarts", says Narayanan, a Mylaporean.
"Ariyakudi, Maharajapuram, Semmangudi, Palghat Mani Iyer, Chowdiah are among the great masters of music and dancer Balasaraswathi too had performed at our place," he proudly recalls.
"Apart from my father, many other connoisseurs of music like K.V. Ramakrishna Iyer, C.R. Gopinath, V.V. Sundaram, N.V. Subramaniam, Bangalore Gopinath, S.V. Krishnan of Nada Inbam are my sources for recordings. The list of people who contributed to the collections is really long," he says.
But what does he do with the collections of recordings?
He is converting all the spools, cassettes, records he gets into digital form and donates to music libraries.
The Music Academy, Madras has recorded his contributions in the annual souvenir released during the December season.
"Now I have given part of my collections to Madras Music Academy (8000 hours), to Kalakshetra (around 18,000 hours) and to Annamalai university Music department."
He has also given the rare recording of their own concerts to vidwans like Lalgudi Jayaraman, T.N. Krishnan, Vellore Ramabadran and many young musicians to listen to and improve their music.
Narayanan is a philanthropist too. He quietly supports a few tambura artistes by giving them a small honorarium every month!
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