KONNAKOL PAKKIRIA PILLAI - KONNAKOL OR KONUGOLU.............(1857-1937)
'I have heard of a Konnakol Venkatramier. But I know nothing of what he did. But I give expression to what Lord Muruga and Soottukol Swami put into my mind', Mannargudi Pakkiria Pillai, the renowned Konnakol vidwan is reported to have said. Konnakol is oral laya play instead of on any instrument. It is difficult art rarely practised at concerts since it calls for not only seasoned expertise in laya but also the extroadinary capability to reproduce the numerous phrases and rhythms, sound patterns and variations with all the bewildering speed that is shown on instruments with both the hands. It was the 'Laya Season' in Carnatic music with Manpoondia Pillai, Dakshinamurthy Pillai, Pakkiria Pillai, etc. functioning through vocalist maestros, Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Kanchipuram Naina Pillai and Chittoor Subramania Pillai.
Born at Rajamannargudi, of Chockalinga Nattuvanar and Parvathi Ammal in a family of Bharatanatya teachers, Pillai was named after Nagoor Andavar as 'Pakkiri'. Nagoor is a symbol of Hindu-Muslim amity, the durgah being a favourite haunt of all. He was in his ancestral profession of Bharatanatya and took to tavil at twenty, taking training under Mannargudi, he was popular as a tavil vidwan. It is stated that his mind reeled off intricate patterns so fast that the instrument could not produce it and so he turned to Konnakol! 'The tremendous velocity of his mind was always far in advance of his actual expression.' He was a devout person and a devotee of Muruga and Mahatma Gandhi. He died on November 2, 1937. His son, P.Vaidyalingam, who was for some time Lecturer in Music, Annamalai University, has authored the book 'Talamum Anubhavamum'.
R.V.PAKKIRISWAMY - MUHARSING VIDWAN.............(January 25, 1916 - July 15, 1989)
An old vidwan quipped,
'When Pakkiriswamy is with Morsing,
the vocalist can sing more!'
Pakkiriswamy had been giving support with his muharsing for sixty years - one of the oldest artistes thriving on a subsidiary instrument in spite of its cosntraints, limitations and potential by sheer will-power, mastery and ability to express his scintillating conceptions by the devilry of manipulations on the smallest of musical equipments.
Son of mridanga vidwan Venugopal Naidu and Bangaru Amma, Pakkiriswamy had his training under Peethambara Desai in mridangam and muharsing and made his debut in 1929 as accompanist to Tiger Varadachariar. He had been playing for all top musicians and was a standing accompanist to the late Seergazhi Govindarajan for about twenty-eight years. His professional life spanned six decades.
'Kalaimamani' from the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram
He was anxious to get an All India Award but was not destined to be so honoured while alive.
PAPA VENKATARAMIAH - RENOWNED VIOLINIST.............(September 12, 1901 - March 17, 1972)
Related to the famous Karur Quartet, Mathrubhutayya and Karur Chinnaswami Ayyah (1888-1967) - a galaxy of composers and violinists, Papa Venkataramiah was a renowned violinist in the field along with the giants like Dwaram, Chowdiah and Rajamanickam Pillai. Son of Karur Srikantiah, Venkatramiah was a polished accompanist and an occasional soloist. He had his musical training under his father, Karur Chinnaswami Ayyah and Malaikottai Govindaswamy Pillai. He had been accompanying the top artistes of the day and was known for his sweet and expressive play. He was very keen about sruti alignment and perfection.
His disciples included his son V.Tyagarajan, a performing artiste, T.Abhiramasundari, a grand daughter of Dhanammal and K.Jayalakshmi (Rosy). He was honoured with the title of Sangita Kalanidhi by the Music Academy, Madras in 1962. Had received the awards from the State and Central Sangeet Natak Academies in 1967.
S.V.PARTHASARATHY - VOCALIST.............(b. November 8, 1917)
In yester decades 'S.V.V.' denoted subtle and exuberant wit and humour. S.V.Vijayaraghavachariar was a prolific writer and an advocate. His sons, parhasarathy and S.V.Soundararajan were coached initially in music by their mother, Pankajammal. Later S.V.Parthasarathy had his full-fledged training at the Annamalai University which then enjoyed a galaxy of professors of eminence during 1934-38 and got the title Sangita Bhushanam. He made his debut in the year of graduation itself (1938) at Tiruvannamali and followed it up in 1939 at the Jagannatha Baktha Sabha, Egmore, where T.M.Krishnaswami Ayyar, the Tiruppugazh Mani, presented him with a tambur. Since then, he has been giving concerts - as duo with his brother till 1954 and later solo in sabhas, All India Radio and Doordarshan. He has occupied several posts as Lecturer & professor in various Universities. A good veena player, Parthasarathy has contributed many articles and was on the Experts Committee, Music Academy. As Producer, All India Radio, he brought out features like 'Kertananjali' and 'Raga Vilakkam' besides programmes for children. Has coached many in music. Had been in charge of the music section of the renowned tamil weekly 'Kalki'
Sangeetha Samrat by Sayee Matha Devi, Pudukottai in 1977
T.S.PARTHASARATHY - MUSICOLOGIST.............(b.1913)
Presntly Secretary, Madras Music Academy and editor of its prestigious journal, T.S.Parthasarathy is a musicologist of considerable merit. Passionately devoted to classical Carnatic music, he is the guiding spirit behind the activities of the august Academy. His second passion is research and publication. Besides numerous articles on Carnatic music, Bharatanatyam and allied subjects in English, Tamil and Telugu, he has published over a dozen books including :
a. Tamil transalation of seven Tagore plays
b. Definitive edition of 675 songs of Tyagaraja in Telugu and Sanskrit with a Tamil transalation
c. A compilation of the musical compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri in Telugu script
d. Tamil transalation of 'Prahalada Bhakti Vijayam' of Tyagaraja
e. Tamil transalation of 'Jayadeva' by Suniti Kumar Chatterji
f. Tamil transalation of 'Musical Instruments of India' by B.C.Deva
T.S.Parthasarathi had his academic studies at the Madras and Calcutta Universities and holds the degree of B.A.(Hons.) with four distinctions. Learnt music while young and studied the theory of Carnatic & Hindustani music systems and of Bharatanatyam.
Has served as a Member of the Music Audition Board of the All India Radio for six years. Correspondent, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, examiner in music for different universities for candidates seeking doctorates. He is a musicologist of vast parts and deep penetration in the twin fields of music & dance.
SANGITA KALANIDHI D.K. PATTAMMAL- VOCALIST.............(b.March 19, 1919)
Doyenne of Carnatic Classical Musicians, a musician with the largest repertoire of songs of eminent composers and a stauncch unswerving classicist true to tradition and faithful in redition. D.K.Pattammal is a highly respected figure - respected for her age, art, accomplishments and attainments. Consistency has been her strength. Perhaps she is the only musician who had given concerts continuously at the Music Academy, Madras. Her rendition is soft, smooth and appealing. Her control over rhythm is impeccable and she sings with feeling and understanding. Her phrasing is clear. 'She is premier among female performers to adopt Pallavi frequently as part of her concerts.' She had sung patriotic songs during the Freedom struggle. Scores of disciples have had the benefit of training under her. Iswara Ayyar, her husband is a devotee of true art and tradition. Her parents Damal Krishnaswamy Dikshitar and Rajammal brought in disciples of great musicians to train Pattammal and she passed the Government Technical Examination.
Born in a musical family, D.K.Pattammal was capble of rendering pallavis very early and she had musical training from stalwarts including Ambi Dikshitar and T.L.Venkatarama Ayyar. She has an immense and varied repertoire. A complete musician, her rendition mirrors firm faith in tradition, religion and poise without even a snap detour from the classical 'raja marga'. D.K.Jayaraman is her brother and disciple, who was singing with her for a long time.
Central Sangeet Natak Academy Award
Sangita Kalanidhi from Music Academy in 1970
Isai Perarignar from Tamil Isai Sangam
Sangita Kala Sikhamani from Indian Fine Arts Society, MAdras
Madhura Kala Pravina
Padma Bhushan from the President of India.