Profiles of Artistes, Composers, Musicologists
Unless otherwise specified, the profiles in this section are
The Garland, Another Garland, Yet Another Garland and The
Fragrant Garland by Mr.N.Rajagopalan
R.ARAVAMUDAN - MUSICAL DISCOURSER...............(b. 1936)
of Ranganatha Ayyangar & Sengammal, Aravamudan had his training with
Embar Vijayaraghavachariar, the celebrated Kalakshepa maestro. He left
his employment, entered the field of musical discourse and has been giving
musical discourses for Doordarshan, All India Radio, etc. A linguist, he
has been honoured with the titles of :
Pravachana Peroli, Sangita Upanayasa Tilakam
KAVIRAYAR - EMINENT COMPOSER...................(1711 - 1778)
with the erudition and proficiency of Arunachala in Tamil and Sanskrit
and his deep insight into agamas, Sri Ambalavana Desikar, the powerful
Head of the Dharmapuram Mutt, was happy that he had found in him a worthy
successor. Desirous of taking the lad of eighteen years into confidence,
the Mutt Head mentioned that Arunachala could well look forward to become
his successor anticipating nothing but a nod of gratitude and pleasure.
Prompt was the reply of the disciple to his principal. He said that
great works like Tirukkural and Ramayana extol the role of married
life and that it was his desire to follow the path indicated. The
mutt-head was a great-hearted soul. He accepted the reply and appreciated
the honest response. Studies over, Arunachala delayed his marraige
as he probably had faith in the parable 'Vivaham Vidyanasam', meaning
marraige is fatal to acquisition of further knowledge. He married
at the age of thirty only.
at Tillaiyadi in Thanjavur District in 1711 (or 1712), of Nallathambi Pillai
and Valliammal, he had his initial education locally and then joined the
Mutt Institution at twelve on the demise of his father. On completion
of his course and after the incident alluded to above, he set up a small
jeweller's shop. Business took him to nearby Sirkazhi, where he met
his old colleague and then branch-head of the said mutt, Chidambaram Pillai.
Responding to his wishes, Arunachala settled at Sirkazhi and established
contacts with two musicians, Sattanadhapuram Venkatarama Ayyar and Kodandarama
Ayyar, who found in Arunachala the genius and sparks of an eminent composer.
They encouraged him to compose an opera agreeing to choreograph it.
In a quid pro quo, tamil-teaching and music-tuition were exchanged
was one of the most furitful collaboration in a noble task. 'Rama
Nataka' upto 'Yuddha kanda' was composed and was composed and
was taken by the two musicians to Madras. They came back pleased
with the favourable response and recption to it. 'Rama nataka Kirthanas'
were completed by Arunachala Kavirayar and taken to Srirangam for ceremonial
release even as the great Kambar did. To establish his credentials,
he composed the immortal piece 'En Palli Kondeerayya?' in Mohana
raga. There have been few bharatanatya dancers who have not included
this piece for their recitals. Grand in conception, exquisite in
composition, the song brings out the artistic talents of the dancer to
a high degree
the main opera 'Rama Nataka Kirthanas' was approved at the temple
of the Lord Sri Ranganatha, to whom the dance-piece was addressed seeking
reason for his reclining pose. This was in 1771 A.D. It ranks
with the operas of Tyagaraja in Telugu and Tirtha Narayana in Sanskrit
as well as Gopala Krishna Bharathi's Nandanar Charitram, which however
was a daring brain-child of its author. The darus of Arunachala brought
Kavirayar was a prolific composer and is one of the greatest among Tamil
poets. His works include
rick kirtanas etc which are the favourite pieces of dancers like -
Evar Yaro - Bairavi
Rama - Kedara gowla
Irupadham - Ragamalika
Manam - Kukhari
Saranam - Sahana
Konda Kolam - Kapi
Endrane - Sourashtram
Raghurama - Asaveri
- Yadhukula Kambhoji, etc.
songs include -
Vandale - Mohanam
- Kalyani and
Kannara Kandane - Mohanam.
disciple of Kalakad Ramanarayana Bhagavatar, a senior vidwan, Arunachalam
had further training in nagaswaram under the wizard T.N.Rajarathinam Pillai.
Known for his melodius rendition, he was highly popular and was one of
the most sought-after nagaswara artistes. He imbibed the vocal and instrumental
styles and genius of his gurus. His nagaswaram play was captivating and
exhilarating. As a boy he was making garlands of flowers for livelihood.
At the height of his popularity, he expired, eight years after his perceptor
of Balavesam and Chellammal at Karukurichi in Tirunelvelli district, he
had initial training under his father and made his debut in his eleventh
year and enjoyed a meteoric rise. His rendition in the disc of the film
song 'Singara Velane Deva' is a masterpiece. It is said the the cine field
colossus Sivaji Ganesan requisitioned this gramaphone record to the Bombay
Airport to satisfy his craving to hear it again before his departure to
the West. The song set a new trend of voco-nagaswara ensemble.
was honoured posthumously by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram. He
died prematurely at the prime of his professional career - a great loss
to the Art. His rendition laid emphasis on soothing melody, public appeal
and captivating delivery.
ARUNAGIRINATHAR - SAINT - COMPOSER..............................(c. 1450
Kandaranubhoothi, Kandar Alankaram, Kandarandadhi, Tiruvarutpa, etc., are
all in praise of the bewitching child of Lord Parameswar, Kandan known
by various names like Kartikeya, Muruga, etc. This Lord of
the hills like Palani, Tiruchendur, Tiruttani, Tiruparankundram and Swami
Mali is widely worshipped.
Arunagirinathar is one of the finest flowers of Tamil composers, most devout
and dedicated. His immortal songs and verses on his favourite God
in Tamil are the delight of the devotee, the hymnodist and the musician.
He enjoyed the most proper title of 'Chanda pavalapperuman' meaning 'unrivalled
Master of Verse'. He is an incomparable master of rhythm. Tiruppugazh
is a 'vast ocean of intricate time measure'. It is an eternal song
on the attributes and glory of the Lord and is widely sung at temples,
religious discourses, etc. The chandam type of composition reached
its pinnacle of glory under Arunagirinathar.
Kripananda Variar says that the emergence of saints at defferet periods
has led people to uphold moral law and tread true spiritual path.
iruvalluvar prescribed a personal code two thousand years back. Sixty-three
saints (Nayanmars) like Sundaramurthy Nayanar (9th century), Pattinathar
(10th century), Sekkizhar (11th century), Kambar 912th century), Meikandar
(13th century), Arunagirinathar (15th century) Thayumanavar (17th century),
Ramalinga Adigal (19th century), etc., have sustained morality and spiritualism.
life in the early part led to poverty and disgrace. His attempted
suicide was thwarted by divine grace and Lord Subramanya inscribed the
Shadakshara (Sa-Ra-Va-Na-Ba-Va) on his tongue, gave him deeksha, liberated
him from karmas and initiated him in musical compositions and opened the
flood-gates of bhakti revealed through poetry of supreme beauty and excellence
of yoga. He was never tired of recalling his worthless life and the
infinite mercy of the Lord. His magnum opus 'Tiruppugazh' is an eternal
song, a matchless compilation which contains torrential outpouring of divine
love and is incomparable for its rhythmic excellence and spiritual appeal.
He is credited with composing 16,029 songs in Tiruppugazh, but only 1,311
Sankaran of the York University, Toronto says that rhythm is the backbone
of Indian music and is embodied and manifested in its most elaborate system
of talas. Tiruppugazh talas form a special category. For instance,
it contains many hymns in the difficult 'Simhanandana' tala with 128 aksharas
like "Baktiyaal yan Unai Paarkalaam". 'Arungari was an unrivalled
master of chandams which he linked with intricate tales known and unkown.