T Brinda is a golden link between the past and the present, who has handed the greatest treasures and values of Carnatic music. She carried the legacy of six generations of music with great care, clarity of thought, seriousness of purpose, but with the natural poise and assurance of a real queen.
Brinda (or Brindamma as she was respectfully addressed) was born in 1912 to Kamakshi, the daughter of the legendary Veena Dhanammal. She not only inherited the vast musical treasures that the family (including the previous generations of her ancestors) had collected through their interactions with some of the greatest composers of Carnatic music, but also the grace, fine tastes and musical instincts of Dhanammal herself. Brinda was additionally gifted with a voice that exuded class in every note or phrase that she sang.
The prodigiously talented Brinda received her initial training under her mother Kamakshi, and by age 9, was taken to another renowed musician of her times, Kanchipuram Nayana Pillai. Here she learnt a few hundreds of the compositions of Tyagaraja and other lovely musical forms such asTevaram and Tiruppugazh. Nayana Pillai's great contribution was in shaping her creative abilities, and this is what perhaps turned her into a conventional concert performer rather than a chamber performer. She was one of the earliest women performers to sing kalpanaswara.
Brinda's musical training back in her own home enabled her to acquire a huge repertoire of the works of many other top-class composers such as Muttuswami Dikshitar, Shyama Shastri, Subbaraya Shastri, Patnam Subramanya Iyer, Kshetragna, Dharmapuri Subbarayar, the Tanjavur Quartette, Anai-Ayya and others.
Brinda's greatest strengths were her highly refined and classy tastes and a voice that could showcase it. She went on to become one of the finest exponents of the works of all the greatest composers, and has remained unsurpassed especially in the rendition of Padams and Javalis.
Many of her own peers and juniors have sought Brindamma's exceptional style and greatly benefited from her vast repertoire. Some of them include Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Ramnad Krishnan and M S Subbulakshmi.