A gifted artiste, Chitti Babu coaxes out of veena 'the esoteric secrets of sound that it treasures in the depths of its soul'. He is noted for sweet, pleasing rendering rich with intricate and subtle turns, graces and embodiments. He is highly popular and his concerts are noted for dignified play on the celestial instrument.
Chitti Babu was giving a veena concert at the Palace before the Royal Connoisseur, Jeya Chamaraja Wodeyar of Mysore in 1967. The virtuosity and excellence of his play was so enthralling that the reaction of the Maharajah was spontaneous. His hands imperceptibly removed the Golden Pendant from his neck, while he proclaimed 'We have been waiting to give this pendant, and the title 'Vainika Sikhamani' which was given to Sri Veena Seshanna a hundred years back to some renowned Vainika who reminds us of the Great Vainika and that Day has come now'.
Honours & Titles :
' Vainika Saarvabhouma - H.H. Sri Sankaracharya in 1964
Vainika Sikhamani - Maharajah of Mysore in 1967
Veena Gana Praveena - Cultural Associations in 1967
Asthana Vidwan - Tirumalai Tirupathi Devasthanams in 1972
Kalaimamani - Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1972-73
Vainika Kula Alankara - Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar in 1974
Gandharva Kala Nidhi - Vijaya Sankara Kala Bharathi in 1975
Gana Kala Bharathi - Visakapattinam Gana Sabha in 1976
Vaineeka Samrat - Poughbeepsie, USA & Indian Cultural Association in 1976
Tantri Vilas - Sangeet Peeth, Mumbai in 1979
State Artiste - Appointed by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu in 1981
Veenai Isai Vendan - Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar.
The only child of Challapally Ranga Rao and Sundaramma of Kakinada, born in 1936, he was a child prodigy. Made his debut at the age of twelve. He had his initial training under Appalachariar for three years and then under the distinguished Emani Sankara Sastri. He had been giving hundreds of concerts on the All India Radio including National programmes, Television, Sabhas and elsewhere in India and abroad.
Chitti Babu was one the most pre-eminent Veena artist from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s. A disciple of Emani Shakara Shastry, Chitti Babu brought a new verve to the oldest musical intrument. Though there were classical Veena players like Mysore Doraiswamy Iyengar and S. Balachander, Chtti Babu’s success spawned a generation of excellent Veena artists like R.K. Suryanarayana, E. Gayatri and R. Sundar.
His 'koel' song is a remarkable piece. A film called 'Kalai Koil' has come out based on his veena play.
His renditions of Sudhamayi, Raghuvamsa, Chinnachiru Kiliye are milestones.The ever popular Pancharanjani and Bahudari (Musings of a Musician) too are unforgettable.
Chitti Babu brought in Blues-like quality to Veena playing, eschewing the then prevalent style of plucking audibly so that the music was kind of discrete. His playing had a slide quality to it. Though his popularity declined in the later years, it will not be an overstatement to say that Chitti Babu almost single handed the carried the burden of his generation of Veena players. His decline marked the decline of the popularity of Veena too. Rajesh Vaidhya is doing his best to revive the popularity, but, despite his undeniable talent, there is always the problem him being considered the Kunnakkudi of Veena. We miss Chitti Babu who passed away at an untimely age!http://www.indian-heritage.org/music/garlandc.htmhttp://www.last.fm/music/Chitti+Babu
the compostion kommalo koyila composed by Chittibabu is worth a listen , where plays the koel (cuckoo's ) koo ever so beautifully on the veena