Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Sankara Iyer CD released at Tirunelveli

By Sruti

Very rarely does a vaggeyakara give a concert of his own compositions.

Tanjavur Sankara Iyer--Sangita Kala Acharya (Music Academy), Sangita Ratnakara (Cleveland Aradhana), and Kalaimamani—a musician of excellence and the inventor of three ragas, Vishnupriya, Manoranjitham and Hamsakalyani, is also a vaggeyakara of exceptional merit. He has composed more than 100 songs, mostly in lucid Tamil.

On 30 March 2008, Sankara Iyer was persuaded to perform his own compositions at Raga Sudha Hall, Chennai, accompanied by Padma Sankar (violin) and B. Sivaraman (mridangam). Subsequently, a Compact Disc was made of this concert. The CD titled Sankarakrtam - the Musical Vision of a Vaggeyakara was released by Cleveland V. V. Sundaram at a function at the Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Sankarnagar, Tirunelveli, on 10 March 2012 in the presence of 88-year-old Sankara Iyer, now staying at his nephew’s residence there. Usha Raman, Principal of the School, in her welcome address, said she felt honoured that her school was chosen as the venue.

M. K. Jagannathan, the man behind the CD, expressed happiness that posterity would have the opportunity to know the mind and mood of the vaggeyakara in composing these songs.

While thanking his many friends who helped make the CD, Jagannathan recalled some lovers of the music of Sankara Iyer – K. J. Natarajan and Lakshmi Natarajan (a disciple of Sankara Iyer) of Mumbai, the late music critic N. M. Narayanan, T. T. Vasu, President of the Music Academy and S. V. Krishnan, founder of Nada Inbam – who  consistently projected the value-based music of Sankara Iyer.

In his presidential address, V. V. Sundaram said the assembled students were lucky to study in a school headed by a caring principal and staff. He exhorted the students to emulate Sankara Iyer in his hard work, thirst for knowledge that led him to eminent gurus, and focus on excellence in his chosen field.

After honouring Sankara Iyer, Sundaram presented copies of the CD to
A. Natesan, Secretary, Nellai Sangeetha Sabha, R. Rajagopal, Secretary, Muthuswamy Dikshitar Memorial Committee, Ettayapuram, Usha Raman, Principal of the school, William Winfield, Headmaster, Mill Hill School, London and a benefactor of the school, R. Srinivasan, Secretary, Nadopasana, Chennai, and M. Radhakrishnan, Asst Secretary, Hamsadhwani, Chennai.

In his brief remarks, Sankara Iyer made the point that the Kamba Ramayanam and Tirukkural, great as they are as poetry, cannot be set to music. Music has its own prosody and it is for the vaggeyakara to weave the words into the music in a spirit of homage to God.

The function concluded with two young students of the school, C. Aparna and Sriram Nair, and two disciples of Sankara Iyer, Sankar and Valivalam Venkatraman, rendering a few of his compositions.

The event was a success, thanks mainly to the commitment, enthusiasm and organizing skills of the school principal and her devoted staff.

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