This musical instrument belonged to the late Shri Retnam, a prominent musician who arrived in Singapore in 1929. He popularised its use in Indian classical music. Shri Retnam performed with Bhaskar's Academy of Dance and Radio Television Singapore during his career. The instrument was donated by his son Ghanavenothan Retnam (right), 53, a music director and music educator.
MRIDANGAM AND TAMBURA
Twin sisters Chandrakala Kunaseelan, holding a double-headed drum called mridangam, and Shashikala Samugan Nathan, holding a long-necked plucked string instrument called tambura. The former is a housewife and the latter, an administrator. The 43-year-old granddaughters of the late percussionist M.V. Gurusamy donated his instruments to the Indian Heritage Centre. Their grandfather had performed and taught in Malaya in the 1930s and early 40s. He arrived in Singapore in 1942 and participated actively in the Indian classical music scene. He was also a member of the cultural contingent led by then Minister for Culture S. Rajaratnam, which performed in Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah in 1965.
These were presented to theatre artist Madanavelu Pillai in recognition of his performances and productions in Malaya and Singapore from the 1920s to 1960s. They were donated by his granddaughter Gayathri Roy.