As the name reveals Budalur Krishnamurthy Sastrigal (1894-1978) was born near a town of that name in what is now Tamilnadu.  Budalur was a great musician and a tall, handsome person with refined, gentle manners commanding respect from other musicians.  His students often affectionately addressed him as Budalur Sir.  From a very young age he was drawn to music and until the end of his life he was deeply immersed in it.  He was endowed with a good voice and sangatis flowed like a string of pearls.   He was a disciple pf the legendary musician of the 19th century Koneri  Rajapuram  Vaidyanatha  Iyer.  After hearing Sangita Kalanidhi Muttaya Bhagavater play on the gottuvadyam to the accompaniment of a violin played one octave below the pitch of the gottuvadyam,  Sastrigal was taken with the beauty of the instrument.  Budalur took up the gottuvadyam, with great resistance from his family who believed that his singing voice would be affected, and he built a gottuvadyam and practiced on it.  Eventually he acquired an instrument constructed similar to the vina but with no frets.   He was constantly experimenting with different sizes of gottu (wooden piece used to press on the strings) with different weights to give desired pressure on the strings to produce the sound of vina.  Sastrigal devoted all his lifetime to discover the desired “nadam”(desired tone) he had in his mind and to produce this on the gottuvadyam.  He aspired to play on the gottuvadyam as one would sing. When he was invited to give a concert at Kalakshetra, the music and dance institution founded by Rukmini Devi, she was very impressed with Sastrigal’s musicianship.  She invited him to be one of the resident musicians of Kalakshetra of Madras.  Sastrigal accepted.  He taught voice and gottuvadyam.  Later he served as principal of Kalakshetra, another legendary musician, Musiri Subrahmanya Iyer, then principal of the newly established conservatory named Central College of Karnatic Music, invited Sastrigal to teach gottuvadyam at that institution.  Musiri and Budalur were close friends and they often spent musical evenings at Musuri’s house.

My luck of knowing great musicians started with when I was one of the five-year students of Central College of Karnatic Music Madras where I had a privilege learn gottuvadyam from Budalur Sir and as well as voice from other great musicians who were teaching there.  I had the great fortune of being Budalur’s sisya and I consider my luck to have had an opportunity to stay in his house and learn gottuvadyam and be surrounded with great musicians of that era.  I will always remember Budalur Sir always believed that music making is a soul-searching occupation.  In one word he use to say “atmarthakkha pattu”

Budalur Krishnamurthy Sastrigal - Swarajathi- Bhairavi