An All India Radio Recording

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar

About this album

A clossus in fact the one word "Iyengar" in Music Parlance came to denote Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar alone. The doyen born of musicians for more than 3 decades, Ramanuja Iyengar was born on May 19, 1890 at Ariyakkudi near Karaikudi, as the 3rd son of Tiruvengadu Iyengar and Nachiar alias Chellammal. Iyengar had learnt Tamil and Sanskrit. He learnt Music under Pudukkottai Malayappayyar, Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar and Poochi (Ramnad) Srinivasa Iyengar for 5 years. In 1918 he made his debut at the Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival and in 1920 he started his long line of concerts at Chennai.

Total excellence, rich volume, purity of sruti, well balanced program and variety were the special features of his style, which came to be called as the "Ariyakkudi" Bani or style. Middle tempo was his specialty. Grasp, Grip, Grit and Grandeur were the salient features of his concerts. Shri Rajam Iyer underwent Gurukulavasam under him for a decade. He received many awards and laurels to his credit. To name a few Sangitha Ratnakara, Sangita Kalanidhi etc.

A great musician, a good teacher, an amiable friend and a traditionalist, Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar was admired and adored. He was the undisputed doyen of musicians to the last.


1. The album gets a brisk start with the Varnam, "Inta Chalamu" (Begada- Adi), a composition of Veena Tiruvotriyur Kuppayyar.

2. The following number is a Dikshitar krithi namely, "Sarasijanabasodhari" (Nagagandhari - Rupakam), in which Dikshitar pleads Goddess Shankari to design to protect him. He says that, Her head is adorned with serpents (Nagabharana) and Her lotus feet are extolled through the Raga Nagagandhari; She is the destroyer of the Demon, Mahishasura and the bestower of auspicious boons.

3. In the next krithi, "Koti Nadulu" (Thodi - Adi), Thyagaraja tells his mind to listen to his counsel that, for those fortunate souls who constantly and directly see the beautiful form of Lord Rama at Danushkoti, sanctified by the confluence of crores of holy rivers.

4. The first krithi in the latter side of this album "Gnanamosaga Rada" (Poorvikalyani - Rupakam), in which Thyagaraja pleads to the Lord, to grant him wisdom and redeem him. He also requests him to initiate him into the ultimate Advaitic Doctorine.

5. The album concludes with the famous krithi of Shyama Sastri, "Palinchu Kamakshi" (Madhyamavathi - Adi), wherein he surrenders at the altar of Goddess Kamakshi, the eternal purifier and the annihilator of sins, enshrined in the city of Kanchipura. He requests Her to dispel his miseries and swiftly save him. Besides, he also proudly confides that, may be due to the penance and good deeds of his previous birth, he has been blessed with the vision of Her lotus feet many times.


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