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Famous Carnatic Composers - AK


Arunaacala Kavi - He was born in TillaiyaDi close to Seerkazhi in 1711 A.D. to Shaivite parents Nallatambi PiLLai and Valliammai. According to family tradition, he began his education at 5 and at 12, when his father died went to the Dharmapuram Mutt to study Tamil and Sanskrit. At 18, he left but continued his study of Tamil for 12 years. He married at 30 in Paruppur and set up a jeweler's shop, while keeping up his studied. He discovered the beauty of Tirukkural and Kamban's RaamaaayaNa.

One day he wanted to buy some gold at a cheaper rate in PonDicerry. On his way, he stopped at Seerkazhi, where there was a branch of the Dharmapuram Mutt - its head Cidambaram PiLLai had been his colleague at Dharmapuram, and at his request, completed a prabandam here before leaving for PonDicerry. When he returned, Cidambaram PiLLai asked him to settle down with his family in Seerkazhi - from then he was called Seerkazhi Arunaacala Kaviraayar.

He composed many works. When 2 men (VenkaTaraamayyar and KOdanDaraamayyar) who knew music well asked him to teach them Kamban's RaamaayaNam, he composed an opera of this work at their suggestion, which is the famous "raama naaTaka keertanai." He wanted the first performance of this dance song at Shreerangam where Kamban had his first performance (arangETram), but the priest refused unless the Lord allowed permission himself. At this point, the poet sang "En paLLikonDeer ayya" (mOhanam, aadi), and the Lord Ranganaata of Shreerangam appeared to both the poet and the temple priests in their sleep, and the priests arranged for the arangETram. After this, the composer was patronized by kings and nobles all over. His opera gives us 40 raagams, including some rare ones. It starts with invocations to deities, declaration by an actor of the greatness of King Dasaratha, and the traditional story of the RaamaayaNa is closely followed. It includes 197 daarus (descriptive songs), 278 verses in virutam meter, and 56 dvipadis (songs of 2 lines).

Arunaacala Kavi's darus are famous - and AriyakuDi Raamaanuja Aiyyangaar sang one or two in every concert. Pieces like YaarO ivar yaarO and Shree raamacandranukku are popular. Modern scholars of music consider him along with MututaanDavar and Marimutta PiLLai to be the Early Music Trinity of Carnatic music.



  1. En paLLi koNDeerayyaa - mOhanam
  2. kaaNa vENum laksham kaNgaL - shuruTTi
  3. kaNDEn kaNDEn - vasantaa
  4. raamanukku mannan muDi - hindOLam
  5. sharaNam sharaNam enraanE - sowraashTram
  6. shree raamacandranukku - madyamaavati
  7. vandaan vandaan - madyamaavati
  8. yaarO ivar yaarO - bhairavi

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updated on 03/21/2009