The Artist

Kalaimamani Embar S Kannan hails from an illustrious family of musicians. Living up to the dreams of his father Sangeetha Bhooshanam Sri Embar Sadagopan, Kannan took to the violin at the tender age of 6. He had his initial training in Carnatic music under Sri Subbanna Bhagavatar and Sri Vittal Ramamurthy and in Western classical music under music director, Diwakar master. He then continued his formal training in violin under Sangita Kalanidhi Kum. Kanyakumari.

Kannan is an A - TOP Grade artist with the All India Radio, a recognition given only to top ranking artists. Universally acclaimed as a violinist with extraordinary bowing quality and remarkably sweet playing, his style is marked by clarity, soulfulness and energy. Subbudu, the doyen amongst critics recognized Kannan as a prized jewel of Carnatic music as early as 1991. He remarked that Kannan’s music has the grace and ease of a Russian Ballerina.


As an accompanist, Kannan is acknowledged as a violinist par excellence. Kannan’s uncanny flair has made him one of the most sought-after accompanists and he enthrals audiences, the world over with his music. He has accompanied almost all the leading artists and stalwarts in the carnatic music world. He has lent a supporting hand in innumerable number of concerts across the globe. Kannan is adventurous and has explored other genres of music too. He has also collaborated with Hindustani, Sufi and Western classical musicians. His adventures include the Full Bench concert an instrumental ensemble.


Kannan’s debut to cinema music was through the movie Puli Petra Pillai by Sri. Diwakar when Kannan was just 11 years old. This marked the entry of Kannan into the cinema world. Soon he started to play for Kannada movies under the music direction of Sri Vasu Rao son of the legendary composer Sri Rajeshwara Rao. It is a blessing for Kannan to be a part of Maestro Ilayaraja’s troupe since 1991.

Besides the Maestro, Kannan has worked with other leading south Indian music directors including Karthick Raja, Yuvan Shankar Raja, M Jayachandran, Vidyasagar, MM Keeravani, Sharath, A.R. Rehman, Deva and GV Prakash. Kannan’s creative and innovative musical verve has made many numbers major hit. In short, he has played for all the leading music directors in all the four South Indian languages. Noteworthy among the films Kannan has played for are Mogha Mull, Dum Dum Dum, Kandanaal Mudalai, Ivan, Parthiban Kanavu, Shivaji, Raja Rani.


The typical Carnatic violinist is perceived as one who provides accompaniment for recital. Kannan has ventured into innumerable collaborative works by pushing frontiers and breaking barriers, even as he strives to retain the fidelity and purity of his music. Kannan is constantly reinventing himself and his music.

Kannan brought a new dimension to his music when he used distortion pedals, typically used with the guitar on his violin. This new attempt received critical acclaim from the European connoisseurs in his performances with fusion artist, Susheela Raman in 2006. His collaborative works include Le rythme de la parole – Sudha Raghunathan, Listening to Life by Bombay Jayshri, Jugalbandi – Subha Mudgal and Bombay Jayshri, Common Wealth Games 2018.


Kannan started composing as early as when he was all of 18 by venturing for the Tele serial ‘Manidha Kadhal’ in 1993. Kannan has composed music for several classical and devotional albums including Azhwar Pasurangal, Nandanaar Charitram, Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Sevaamrutham etc. He has also composed music for several dance ballets. To mention a few Rangoli 25 for Ms Malathy Iyenger, Brahmasmi for Sridevi Nrithyalaya, Srinivasa Kalyanam for Sridevi Nrithyalaya, Azhagar Kuranji for Ms Smitha Madhav. Kannan has played a vital role in several classical, nonclassical,devotional albums, much more than being an accompanying artist.

Cross Roads
Cross Roads

Crossroads is an ensemble that portrays the myriad hues of different countries and cultures via music. This is a musical travelogue of an Indian traveller describing his trip to various parts of the world - namely, Hungary, Spain and the Middle East, ultimately culminating in India. The Hungarian Melody is reminiscent of a leisurely cruise on the River Danube, that eventually turns into a spritely one, with the traveller revelling in the vastness of nature. The African melody is a picturesque rendition of the endangered rainforests in Africa. This beautiful piece initially depicts the dangers of the rainforest, and then goes on to describe the breathtakingly beautiful flora and the fauna in a serene Madhyamavathi. After his trips to Spain and the Middle-East, the traveller is homesick and lovelorn. Reminded of his companion back home, the traveller paints a vivid description of the Monsoon in India through a poignant Miyan ki Malhaar in the classic "Bole re pappi". The traveller is jubilant when he finally reaches India, and this is signified by the popular bhajan "Vaishnava Janato".




The Hindu - CARNATIC MUSIC CONCERT Sunday Mar 11, 2017

Swaranjali: Top notch performances

Swaranjali featured a rich array of vocal and instrumental Carnatic music concerts
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P Surya Rao
The Times Group Friday Jan 06, 2015


Besides the example of Akkarai sisters Ranjani and Gayathri moving over to vocal performances, the article has also highlighted the solo performances of Embar Kannan.
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The HANS INDIA Saturday Mar 04, 2017

Sangeet Natak Akademy organises music festival

The festival commenced with the violin concert of Embar S. Kannan of Chennai. Kannan had his initial training from Subbanna Bhagavathar and Vittal Ramamurthy. Further he trained under the guidance of A Kanyakumari.
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The Hindu Music Thursday Jan 19, 2017

Dynamic till the last note

A. Kanyakumari and Kalaimamani Embar S Kannan indulged in a vibrant musical dialogue.
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G. Swaminathan
The Hindu - Friday Review Friday Aug 18, 2016

Conveying well the mood

Kannan, in fact, scored over the vocalists on a couple of occasions by evoking the beauty of the raga more significantly.
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G. Swaminathan
The Hindu - Friday Review Friday Oct 18, 2016

Malladi Brothers’ concert: Energetic and enjoyable

Veteran artiste Embar S. Kannan’s skill on the violin and ace mridangam artiste K.S. Prasad’s brilliance on the instrument elevated the effect of the concert to great heights.
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P. Surya Rao
The Hindu - METROPLUS Monday Jul 21, 2014

Tracking a single

Violinist Embar S. Kannan takes his string story forward through the tech route
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News Today Monday Dec 17, 2018

Isai Vizha begins at Parthasarathy Swami Sabha

On the occasion, Mridangam maestro V Kamalakar Rao was awarded the Palghat Mani Iyer Centenary award, Thavil vidwan Thanjavur T R Govindarajan was presented the Gottuvadyam Narayana Iyengar Award, Vilolinist Embar Kannan who is alos the disciple of Kanyakumari was awareded Dwaram Venkataswami Nayudu award.
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NT Bureau
The Hindu - Friday Review Friday Jul 12, 2013

Honour for artists

The SKGS Yagnaraman Living Legend Award
Chennai Chronicle Monday Feb 25, 2013

Dazzling Debut

Reminiscing the past
Deepika Ramesh
The Hindu - Friday Review Friday Nov 18, 2011

Playing along in style

Violin Embar Kannan on how he evolved as a musician.
Venkatesan Srikanth, Photo by V.V.Krishnan
Indian Express Madras - Art & Culture Sunday Oct 16, 1994

A violinist for all seasons

Violin is a blind instrument. One must exercise caution every time the finger glides over the strings. Even the slightest slip can result in a discordant note
K.Jayanthi, Photo by C.P.Sundhir Nath