S. VISWANATHAN
U.V. Swaminatha Iyer's singular effort over five decades brought to light major literary works in Tamil and contributed to the enrichment of its literary heritage. Attribute, on his 150th birth anniversary.
Another significant contribution made by Swaminatha Iyer is in the realm of Tamil music, wrote Dr. Arimalam S. Padmanabhan, a researcher and academic, in a paper on the Tamil scholar. Until Swaminatha Iyer came out with his publications of Silappaathikaram, Paththuppaattu and Ettuththogai, music was a grey area in Tamil research.
During the previous four centuries, Telugu and Sanskrit dominated the music scene in Tamil Nadu in the absence of any valuable information on Tamil music. Swaminatha Iyer's publications threw light on the glorious presence of Tamil music in the earlier centuries and paved the way for serious research on the subject.
Abraham Pandithar's Karunamirda Sagaram was the first major research work and it was followed by Vibulaanda Adigal's Yaazh Nool. Both these authors acknowledged the fact that it was Swaminatha Iyer's publications that inspired them to do further research.
"Silappathikaram is the best among the ancient Tamil literary works that provide vast information on Tamil music," observes Prof. V.P.K. Sundaram, another noted Tamil music researcher. "Without Swaminatha Iyer's publication there could have been no Karunamirda Sagaram," he observes. As the son of a famous musician of his time, Swaminatha Iyer learnt music from Gopalakrishna Bharathi, an outstanding musical exponent and the author of Nandan Sarithiram, an immortal work on a Dalit saint.
For his invaluable service to Tamil literature, Swaminatha Iyer was honoured with several awards and titles. The government honoured him in 1906 with the title "Mahamahopadhyaya" (Great Teacher). While the Bharatha Dharma Mandal awarded him the title of "Dravida Vidya Bhooshan", Sri Sankaracharya of Kamakoti Peetam honoured him with the title "Dakshinadya Kalanidhi". A doctorate was awarded to him by the University of Madras in 1932.
Tamil poet and nationalist Subramania Bharati, who inspired the freedom movement with his powerful songs, was a distinguished contemporary of Swaminatha Iyer. Paying glowing tributes to Swaminatha Iyer in one of his poems, Bharati called him "Kumbamuni" (the saint from Kumbakonam) and said: "So long as Tamil lives, poets will venerate you and pay obeisance to you. You will ever shine as an immortal."
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Friday, Jun 11, 2010
CHENNAI: 該ukkural Isaithamizh,' a musical compilation of 330 couplets from Tirukkural, featuring voices of nearly 60 singers will be launched a few days ahead of the World Tamil Classical conference.
The compilation is being brought out by Tamil Maiyam. Announcing this to mediapersons here on Wednesday, Tamil Maiyam founder Jegath Gaspar Raj said the 330 couplets selected by the Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) have been made into 50 songs.
The songs will be set to tune in different genres of music, including folk, classical, Carnatic, Western, light melody and Hindustani. Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, violinist Embar Kannan, singers Srinivas, O.S.Arun, Arimalam Padmanabhan, T.L.Maharajan and Kanniks Kannikeswaran have composed music.
Nellai Jesuraj, who scored music for ﺡrt Meets India,' an album brought out some time ago by Tamil Maiyam, will handle the orchestra. Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi's interpretations of the couplets will be presented in the form of a booklet along with the CDs.
Singers, including Sudha Ragunathan, Nithyasree Mahadevan, Aruna Sairam, Bombay Jayashri, O.S.Arun, Sowmya, Sikkil Gurucharan, Harish Ragavendra, Karthik, Srinivas, Unni Menon, Tippu, Harini and Anuradha Sriram have sung along with many others.
Prof.Arimalam Padmanabhan and a few singers including Sikkil Gurucharan, Tippu, Harini and Harish Raghavendra were present.
Published: January 9, 2009 00:00 IST | Updated: September 15, 2010 13:03 IST January 9, 2009
On drama music from three states
Thematic presentation: (From left) Meegada Ramalinga Sastry, Balakrishna Bhatt, and Arimalam Padmanabhan.
DR PAPPU VENUGOPALA RAO
Meegada Ramalinga Sastry, Arimalam Padmanabhan and Balakrishna Bhatt were the speakers who took the Music Academy࣯nference sessions to conclusion.
Sankar Das Swamigal
Arimalam Padmanabhan spoke on music in the plays of Sankaradas Swamigal (1867-1923), the man who pioneered the concept of the Boys Companies in Madras. He began by singing ṡda Kanagathe,?the song for Valli Tirumanam which was composed by Swamigal over 110 years ago and which is still sung in theatres all over Tamil Nadu. Swamigal was the first man to write scripts for Tamil plays. Till then it was all an oral tradition. He used the Rama Natakam of Arunachala Kavi and the Nandan Charittiram of Gopalakrishna Bharati as his models.
The most famous star from Swamigalലoupe was S.G. Kittappa and he wrote several songs exclusively for Kittappa. One among these, which was demonstrated, was ennai ezhuppalanal?in Bhimplas, which is a dialogue between Satyavan and Savitri. The speaker then sang snatches of a tillana in Todi composed by Sankaradas Swamigal, which is not in any written script of the playwright but is remembered by old theatre artistes. This one, ﭬ pom periya purattukara muniye?is part of an argument between Valli and Narada when she questions his right to suggest a suitable match for her.
Articles on Chennai, its heritage, history and culture
Music Academy Lec Dem on 29th December 2008
By sriramv
This morning we were taken out of the claustrophobic confines of the city to the broad expanse of fields, streets and squares of villages. Three speakers Meegada Ramalinga Sastry, Arimalam Padmanabhan and Balakrishna Bhatt spoke and demonstrated the music of the theatre styles of Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Arimalam Padmanabhan spoke on music in the plays of Sankar Das Swamigal (1867-1923), the man who pioneered the concept of the Boys Companies in Madras. He began by singing Kayada Kanagathe, the song for Valli Tirumanam which was composed by Swamigal over a 110 years ago and which is still sung in theatres all over Tamil Nadu. Swamigal was trained by his father and by Vannasarabham Dandapani Swamigal who made him a master of the chandam. In fact after Arunagirinatha, it is Sankaradas Swamigal who is considered the next master in that field and Chandam Sankaradas is a frequently used expression. Several of the Boys Company greats made it big in films and most of them could sing well (The TKS Bros, Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, TS Baliah and others could sing really well). The speaker mentioned that among the last few of the Boys Companies were MN Nambiar who died recently and SS Rajendran is perhaps the sole survivor. He said that SSR knew of several of the drama songs by heart.
Swamigal used songs in place of dialogues and composed them in the styles of kritis, javali, tillana, Parsi mettu and ghazal. He used Tamil verse models such as venba, kalippa, kalitturai, chandam and vannam as well. Swamigal was the first man to write scripts for Tamil plays. Till then it was all an oral tradition. He used the Rama Natakam of Arunachala Kavi and the Nandan Charittiram of Gopalakrishna Bharati as his models and subsequently, while he wrote plays on a number of themes, he never touched these two subjects, such was his respect for the two authors. Swamigalೣripts brought about standardisation in Tamil drama which enabled two actors from different theatre groups to come together and act in a play at short notice without any prior rehearsal. The speaker compared it the Carnatic tradition where a singer, a violinist and percussionists from different schools come together and successfully perform a concert.
The most famous star from Swamigalലoupe was SG Kittappa and he wrote several songs exclusively for Kittappa. One among these which was demonstrated was Eno ennai ezhuppalanal in Bhimplas which is a dialogue between Satyavan and Savitri. It was originally notated in Malkauns. The speaker said Swamigal was familiar with the songs of Tyagaraja and Syama Sastry and demonstrated how the tune of Birana varalicchi brovumu (Kalyani) was used for Enna Vidi Vandadu in Pavalakkodi. There were similarly entrance songs for stars and while Kittappa frequently appeared singing the lines Shivudano Madhavudano from Evarani (Devamrtavarshini, Tyagaraja), Jayajayagokulabala of Narayana Teertha was also popular. He said that less than ten years ago he heard a theatre artiste in a village make her entry singing Bhaja Re Gopalam (Hindolam, Sadasiva Brahmendra). It was this kind of music said the speaker that drew artistes such as Ariyakkudi and Maharajapuram to witness theatrical performances. (I am not so sure about Ariyakkudi for he was derisive about theatre. However, Malaikottai Govindasami Pillai and Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar were both mad about theatre).
The speaker then sang snatches of a tillana in Todi composed by Sankaradas Swamigal which is not in any written script of the playwright but is remembered by 0ld theatre artistes. This one, ﭬ pom purattukara muniye?is part of an argument between Valli and Narada when she questions his right to suggest a suitable match for her. An early instance of women಩ghts.
Then followed a song, 嬡 Samayamide?structured on Bala Kanakamaya Chela (Athana, Tyagaraja). Finally a song in Dhanyasi from Alli Arjuna, 䴡nai Neramaga?was presented. It was amazing how music, which purists today consider the exclusive property of a chosen few, was practised by theatre artistes and therefore made popular. Padmanabhan sang very well.
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