1st January, 2011:

The Gina Forever Foundation is proud to announce the first two recipients of a monthly support stipend: Balakrishna V, 77, a singer and stalwart of the Carnatic School of Music, and Mr Dominic Saldanha, 75, a jazz saxophonist. Both have been lifelong professionals, bringing great pleasure to their audiences all over the country; both are now retired and in need of financial support to help live respectably in their twilight years. In its own small way, the Gina Forever Foundation is humbled and proud to recognise these two musicians and come to their aid.


Beneficiary from January 1st 2011

At the age of 63, with over 40 years of performances, teaching, concerts, inspiration and plain sweat and blood, V Balakrishna, Carnatic musician extraordinaire, is a fourth generation musician who has performed solo concerts, taught in schools and given private lessons. He has accompanied singers, dancers and other musicians both with his violin and using his extensive Carnatic classical training as a vocalist. But despite his virtuosity, he still has to take the bus from gig to student. Once, getting off a bus, he was hit by a passing two-wheeler and his bow-playing arm was shattered. It took a year of surgery, rods, pins, physiotherapy and more to get him back to close to normal. Even today, when it’s chilly, he cramps up and can’t really play to his fullest extent.

"V.Balakrishna" is more than deserving of a pension, some kind of recognition for his years of service in the entertainment industry, as a performer of Carnatic music, a style which is complex, difficult and takes more than a passing talent to master.