Saturday, November 28, 2009


Sri Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar born on May 19th 1890, in the village of Ariyakudi in Ramnad District, had his early training under the tutelage of Pudukottai Malayappa Ayer and later under Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar a pallavi exponent of the yesteryears. He underwent intense gurukulavasam under Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar, popularly referred to as Poochi Iyengar who shaped his musical thought process. Sri Ariyakudi belonged to the Sishya Parampara of the saint composer Thyagaraja, enabling him to popularize the compositions of the saint. He was considered to be the architect of the modern concert tradition which continues to hold good even today. His genius could be attributed to short crisp raga alapanas, phenomenal kalapramana, and nereval which had a lovely grace and charm about it in the sarvalaghu pattern. A legend by any count he left a profound impact in the minds of even a purist. His contribution to carnatic music is invaluable in terms of setting to tune the Tirupavais of Sri Andal( at the request of his highness Sri Late Chandrashekara Saraswathi Swamigal of kanchi),a few devarnamas of Purandaradasa, a few tharangams of Narayana Theertha and Ramanatakam of Arunachala Kavirayar. Also a composer of two thillanas in the ragas Kanada and Bilahari. Disciples of the Ariyakudi include Late Sri K.V Narayanaswami, Late Sri B.Rajam Iyer, and surving disciple Sri Alleppy Venkateshan.


G.N.Balasubramaniam was born on the 6th of January 1910 in the village of Gudulur belonging to the Thanjavur district. He was the only musician of the era who did not undergo formal training or gurukulavasam. Had a meteoric rise at a tender age of18 and went on to rule the platform till the age of 55. A multifaceted genius, he could be referred to as Neoclassicist. His style laid emphasis on raga music and according to him raga alapana was very essential. He possessed a voice which had clarity that could easily touch three octaves with ease. His briga oriented singing which is actually atiduritakala gamaka was used by him as a tool to enhance the ragas. He had tremendous grip over laya which enabled him to handle complicated pallavis with ease and could be referred to as bramha laya. He was one musician who could sing with ease, swaras in three tempos of speed and kalpramana shuddam that was unparelled. Composer par excellence he composed as many as 250 songs in praise of his Istha devatha Rajarajeshwari, Krishna and Shasta. Also has the credit of setting to tune a few songs of Subramania Bharathiar and N.S Chidambaram. He is one musician who could be referred to as a lakshya and lakshana vidwan.He drew inspiration from musicians namely like Sri Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and Sri Rajarathnam Pillai. He was well read upon on various aspects of the theory of music and its nuances and continues live in the hearts of both the old and young alike. He has left behind a long trail of disciples that include Late Smt M.L Vasanthakumari, Late Sri Thanjavur S.Kalyanaraman , Sri T.S Balasubramaniam and Sri Trichur V.Ramachandran.