Sasidharan Muniyandi, the veteran bass guitarist and music composer Ilaiyaraaja’s brother-in-law, died at Madurai on his birthday on January 31 due to age-related illness. He had gone to Madurai to play in a concert.
The late musician was 60. He had recently undergone a heart surgery.
Sasidharan, brother of Jeeva (Ilaiyaraaja’s wife), had worked with the music composer as a bass guitarist for over three decades. After completing schooling in 1969, Sasidharan was enrolled at the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College in Chennai. After he completed a course in typewriting and shorthand, he worked as an accountant.
In an interview, Sasidharan had said that he realised his inclination towards the guitar when he babysat Ilaiyaraaja’s eldest son and music composer Karthik Raja to soothe him. He was tutored by classical guitarist Thangadurai Samuel as he began learning how to play the guitar. Soon, he began to perform in concerts.
He also performed for Ilaiyaraaja in various songs, including Kodiyile Malloigai Poo (Kadalora Kavithaigal), Vaanile Thenila (Kakki Sattai), Chinna Chinna Vannakuyil (Mouna Ragam).
Singer KS Chitra condoled the death of the musician and wrote on social media, “Heartfelt condolences on the sudden demise of Sasidharan Muniyandi (Bass guitarist) yesterday on his birthday. May his soul rest in peace and may God strengthen his family to over come this loss.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, music composer Nivas K Prasanna said, “I came to know about bass guitars through him (Sasidharan) and for musicians like us, who have come from live musical scenes (performing live music), we have studied and observed Ilaiyaraaja sir’s bass notes. Sasidharan sir has contributed to his songs and if not the whole team, we could not have heard Raja sir’s music as a whole composition. His demise is unexpected and may his soul rest in peace. He is a great musician. I really hope upcoming musicians look up to his work. He has done many musical nuances that would help them to get better.”
Calling Sasidharan a “dear friend”, musician Drums Sivamani told Silverscreen India, “He is a very good musician and is also a percussionist. His musical harmonies in Ilaiyaraaja sir’s compositions are very powerful and unique. It is a big loss for the industry and pray for his soul.”
Sasidharan’s last rites took place at his residence in Besant Nagar in Chennai on Monday.