KOLLENGODE VISWANTHA NARAYANASWAMY - VOCALIST.............(b.November 11, 1923)
K.V.Narayanaswamy comes of a family of traditional musicians of Palghat in Kerala. He had his early training under his grandfather, Narayana Bhagavathar, father Viswanatha Bhagavathar, Palghat Mani Ayyar, C.S.Krishna Iyer and Papa Venkatramiah. Later, he had rigorous training under the tutelage of the maestro, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyengar in the gurukula system of learning from 1942. His grandfather and great grandfather Viswam Bhagavathar and Nanu Bhagavathar were Krishna Attam artistes. Viswam had been honoured by Maharaja Ayilyam Tirunal.
K.V.Narayanaswamy is an outstanding vocalist. Word, melody and rhythm fuse smoothly and beautifully in the style of music he has evolved for himself, after assimilating the well-known and much admired style of his teacher, Ariyakudi. The genuine emotion with which he sings the compositions of the masters makes him one of their best interpreters. His excellence in raga alapana and technical decoration is studied and thoroughly satisfying. His intelligent usage of the voice heightens its sweetness, clarity and sruthi-unision. He has great respect to the mridangam maestro, Sangita Kalanidhi Palghat Mani Ayyar who shaped his career and to the Master of concerts, Sangita Kalanidhi Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar. Made his debut at the Tyagaraja Aradhana, Tiruvaiyaru in 1940 and sang in 1947 at the Madras Music Academy. Sang in 1956 at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Delhi.
K.V.Narayanaswamy is noted for his remarkable tonal and sruthi sensitivity and balancing his selections from among weighty and light ragas, compositions and even languages. He is able to generate a spiritual atmosphere in the concert hall while presenting devotional pieces emphasising and drawing out the emotional appeal of each. He is a genuine devotee of classicism born out of a long period of faithful apprenticeship under a great master. K.V.Narayanaswamy has had rich and varied practice and experience in India and abroad. His eminent standing has been utilised indifferent spheres. He has received praise and various honours from different directions :
Kerala State Sangita Natak Academy Award in 1970
Geetha Bushanam by Bharati Society of America in 1975
Padma Sri by the President of India in 1976
Sangita Natak Academy Award, New Delhi in 1977
Honoured by the Sangeetha Peeth, Bombay in 1978
Sangeetha Kala Nipuna by Mylapore Fine Arts Club in 1982
Gayaka Choodamani by Tulaseevana Sangeetha Parishad, Trivandrum in 1983
Sangita Ratnakara by Bairavi Indian Fine Arts Society, USA in 1985
Asthana Vidwan, Pittsburgh, Cleveland in 1985
Sangita Kalanidhi by Music Academy, Madras in 1986
Sangeetha Kala Sikhamani by Indian Fine Arts Society, Madras in 1989
K.V.Narayanaswamy carries on the Ariyakudi style and is a respected top vocalist.
SANGITA KALANIDHI K.S.NARAYANASWAMI AYYAR - VEENA MAESTRO.............(b. Sep 27, 1914)
Born at Koduvayur near Palghat of Koduvayur Sivarama Ayyar and Narayani Ammal he had his musical training under his brother K.S.Krishna Ayyar from his 7th year to 14th year. He joined the first batch of students of the Music College, Annamalai Univeristy and studied under the stalwarts T.S.Sabhesa Ayyar and Ponniah Pillai, Desamangalam Subramania Ayyar in veena and Ponniah Pillai in mridangam.
Titles & Honours
Kerala State Award in 1962
Tamil Nadu State Award in 1968
Sangeet Nataka Academy Award in 1968
Padma Bushan Award in 1977
Sangita Kalanidhi from the Music Academy, Madras 1979
Narayanaswamy Ayyar is a symbol of the confluence of the cultural traditions of Kerala, TamilNadu and Maharashtra. His disciples include Dr.V.K.Narayana Menon and Dr.(Prof.)M.S.Subbulakshmi.
TIRUVIZHIMALALAI S.SUBRAMANIA PILLAI & S.NATARAJASUNDARAM PILLAI - NAGASWARAM DUO
Subramania Pillai born on January 1, 1895 and his younger brother, Natarajasundaram born on March 21, 1900 were sons of A.R.Swaminatha Pillai and Sivabaghyam Ammal. The elder lived upto a ripe age (June 4, 1984). They had their training in music under Swaminatha Pillai and the illustrious vidwan, Vaidyanatha Ayyar of Konerirajapuram, which lies closeby. The brothers were the best accredited and most famous duo in nagaswaram for several decades, respected for their melodius and classical play. Were noted for their rich repertoire of songs and fascinating rendition of kritis and swara. It was a period of stalwarts like T.N.Rajarathnam, P.S.Veeruswamy Pillai and Tiruvenkadu Subramania Pillai. The duo of Tiruvizhimalai were responsible for raising the dignity of nagaswaram artistes and were the first secretaries of Tyaga Brahma Sabha, Tiruvaiyaru from 1933, a tribute to their eminent stature among musicians.
Subramania Pillai was the recipient of honours like :
Sangita Natak Academy Award in 1962
Sangita Kalanidi from Music Academy, Madras in 1957
Sangita Kala Sikhamani in 1972
Isai Perarignar in 1974
Tani Perum Kalaignar in 1980
TIRUMARUGAL NATESAN - NAGASWARAM WIZARD.............(circ.1900)
Marungapuri Gopalakrishna Ayyar has referred to an incident that took place in the house of the son of Sri.T.Muthuswamy Ayyar, the first Indian High Court Judge. Vidwan Sarabha Sastrigal had just given a captivating flute performance. The blind maestro was informed that Tirumarugal Natesan had been listening. Sarabha called and pressed him to play on nagaswaram and Natesan complied. He elaborated raga 'kedaragaula', earlier handled by Sarabha. The flute maestro was thrilled by the grandeur of conception, flights of imagination and heights of subtlety and said, "I wanted to go to Chidambaram, but through your Nada, I have now had a vision of Nataraja (or Natesa), the cosmic Dancer here itself". Natesan overwhelmed by the maestro's praise, prostrated before the master and got his blessings. Natesan was a super artiste known for his scintillating performances, sweetness of sound and arresting style.
Was born at Tirumarugal in a family of nagaswaram players. Natesan attained dizzy heights in the field of music with is matchless artistry, meticulous adherence to tradition, divine melody that flowed out of his nagaswaram and the superlative imaginative play. He touched the hearts of man and animal. Ragas like Kanada, Atana and Sahana found their aesthetic delineation and brilliant elaboration at his hands. At the festival of Chennakesava Perumal temple at Madras, Natesan and Ramaswamy of Semabanarkoil, another player of repute were presented with golden nagaswarams in appreciation.
Natesan was at the pinnacle of achievement, fame and glory and was under 25 when the world lost him. Sarabha Sastri, the divine flautist too died at the age of 32. Probably, celestial greats in each field like Sankara, Vivekananda, Alexander, Sarabha and Natesa are not to shed their radiance and fragrance more in a single planet. He respected age and great artistes. He admired Sarabha Sastri as his chosen God. What Sarabha elaborated in Kamboji in the evening, Natesan repeated it in extenso at night; Sarabha called him "Eka Santha Grahi" - one who masters on a single hearing.
NILAKANTA SIVAN - COMPOSER.....................................(1839-1900)
Sangita Kalanidhis Musiri Subramania Ayyar and Semmangudi Dr.R.Srinivasa Ayyar chose the best of the pieces of Nilakanta Sivan:
'Enraikku Siva Krupai Varumo' - Mukhari
'Ehaparam tharum perumal' - Khamas
'Navasiddhi petralum' - Karaharapriya
for their disc recordings decades back and they could not have chosen better songs for the excellence of composition, sublimity of the content and message, marvellous scope for raga elaboration and spiritual appeal to the intellectual and the lay public. The grandeur of conception, the inspired divine ecstacy revealed in them, the mastery in the art of composition and the felicity of expression have rendered the songs of Nilakanta Sivan highly popular. 'Ananda nadanamaduvar' - (Poorvikalyani), 'Sambo Mahadeva' - (Bhoopalam), etc. are the envy of composers. About 1500 verses in 150 padigams mainly in Khamas, Kambhoji, Mukhari and Surati are all to guide the people to spiritual revelation and Divine presence. He conveys the message of the seers of India that 'true knowledge, pure devotion, absolute surrender and strict adherence to the spiritual, religious, moral values make life richer.' His output and outpourings were colossal. he assumed the name of 'Nilakanta Dasan' after the name of the Deity of Padmanabhapuram.
Born at Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district, called 'Subramanya' in younger days, Nilakanta Sivan was a precocious child whose sharp intellect and composing talents were noticeable early. he led bhajan ghoshtis (parties) and for fifteen years was a village magistrate. he resigned when he was asked to cook up evidence in a case. His agonising reaction is reflected in the song 'Ennavidam Pizhaipom' - (Mukhari), wherin he laments:
'Days of fences guarding crops had gone,
Even days of fences eating the crops had vanished.
Now the fence has started eating even the earth.
What would happen henceforth?
Time has entered on evil days.
He had no practical training in music. Mysticism and erudition innate in him probably got released after his contacts with Kodaganallur Sundaraswamigal. He was giving musical discourses also.
The rulers of Travancore and Cochin and the Rajahs of Ramnad and Pudukottai honoured him. like Muthuswami Dikshitar, he is credited with bringing rains by invoking God. he anticipated his death and breathed his last at Trivandrum amidst bhajans. Sangita Kalanidhi Papanasam Sivan was his disciple and no wonder the two Sivans have been beacon-lights in Carnatic music with their immortal compositions in Tamil which have been the delight of the musician and the music-lover.