Song of Surrender

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Devakottai Narayana Iyengar

Birthdays & Anniversaries


Veena is one of the most ancient among Indian musical instruments and is as old as Hinduism. Sanskrit texts on music of yore refer to  all stringed instruments as veena-s. Hence we have Rudra veena, Saraswati veena, sata-tantri veena (santoor), chitra veena (gottuvadyam) and so on. Even sarangi is classified under veena. The greatness of the South Indian or Saraswati veena lies not just in its ancientness.

It can bring out all the subtleties and nuances of a raga delineating the raga bhava. Therefore, those who give lectures on gamaka-s often prefer it for the purpose of demonstration. It is a hard taskmaster requiring constant practice for attaining proficiency. Not long ago one of the requirements in many Tamil households was for the daughter to learn to play it along with vocal music as a qualification for marriage! The number of vainika-s who have mastered it is limited and those who can command the loyalty of many rasika-s can be counted on one's fingers. Devakottai Narayana Iyengar was one of those rare vidwan-s who could establish their hold on the rasika-s without resorting to any gimmicks or publicity for themselves.

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