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Famous Carnatic Composers - KI
KOTeeshwara Aiyyar - (January 1870-October 21, 1936) An eminent composer in Tamil, Kotiswara Ayyar was a grandson of the great scholar and composer, Kavi Kunjara Bharati (1810-1896), who authored the Skanda Purana kirthanas, Azhagar Kuravanji and several kirtanas. Bharati was a prolific composer and in Kotiswara Ayyar one sees a worthy and capable successor in the family. His father, Naganatha Ayyar of Nandanur near Elayangudi, the sacred place of Saint Maranar, was also a scholar and composer. Music is the life-line of the family and the popular singer of devotional songs, K.Veeramani is a grandson of Kotiswara Ayyar.
Kotiswara studied at Manamadurai, Tiruchirapalli and Madras. Initially, he was in the Criminal Intelligence Department and later transalator in the High Court, Madras. On the musical side, he studied under the stalwarts, Poochi (Ramnad) Srinivasa Ayyangar and Patnam Subramania Ayyar. There was thus a parallel line of activity throughout - as NMN writes - 'one for livelihood and the other for life's ruling passion'.
Kotiswara Ayyar has composed about two hundred pieces. His seventy-two melakarta kirtanas are a great contribution carving out for him a place among great composers. Has composed varnams in Tamil in the ragas Saveri, Danyasi, Bilahari, etc. His signature is 'Kavi Kunjara Dasan', probably as a tribute to his maternal grandfather. His compositions are philosophical and his 'Kanda Gnanamudham' is a valuable work. He has published the works of Kavi Kunjara Bharati also. For his mastery in Todi raga, he was called 'Todi Koti'. He has sung in praise of Sri Tyagaraja in his 'Ininamakkoru kavalaiyumillai' - meaning henceforth we have no need for any worry.'
A saintly soul and a great composer, his compositions are in popular use like 'Velava Va' (Kiravani).
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