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Born on January 18, 1927, in Madras, Dr. S. Balachander was a key figure in Carnatic classical music. His vina playing was exquisite but he also played a range of other instruments to various degrees of mastery including tabla, harmonium, mridangam, shehnai, dilruba and sitar. He started out, like many instrumentalists, as a vocalist and by the age of six he was on the concert stage. Between the age of 12 and 16 he gave concert recitals on a Hindustani instrument, the sitar. During the 1960s his work was put before the public by Richard Bock's World Pacific label. Through albums such as Magic Music of India (World Pacific 1426) and Sounds of the Veena (WPS 21436) — the latter with the flautist N. Ramani — and later The Music of India (Nonesuch Explorer H-72003) he became one of the best-known Carnatic instrumentalists in the U.S.A. His work has also appeared on labels such as Bharat Records, EMI India, Oriental and Polydor. His death in Bhilai on April 15, 1990, was a great loss to Carnatic music. Often controversial, sometimes confrontational, he enriched the field immeasurably.