Sunday, January 3, 2010

Valayappatti - Sangeethakalanidhi

I have mentioned many times that my interest in Carnatic music started with Nadaswaram.
Naturally I have a liking towards the sounds of Tavil or Dolu as we call it in Telugu.
There is one artist who deals with the Tavil as if it is his child. He is Valayappatti.

Valayappatti A R Subramnyam is a percissionist par excellence.
I heard him live plenty of times.
I cannot forget the concert with Kunnakkudi at Raja Annamali Manram and the recent one with Jayashankar at Narada Gana Sabha Hall. Recent is in 80s here.
I particularly remember the concert of Tiruvizha Jayashankar at Ravindra Bharati, Hyderabad also in eighties.
I was on my way to the venue when I saw a Doctor relative of mine.
He later married my sister of course.
I asked him if he would come to the concert.
Reluctantly he said, he may sit for sometime.
The gentlean stayed on till the Mangalam and thanked me profusely for calling him to the concert.
The then CM of AP at that time Sri Anjaiah walked in unannounced into the venue much after the start.
He sat through and paid highest encomiums to the artists and particularly to Valyappatti.
I am more than happy that Vlayappati is the latest Sangeethakalanidhi.

To celebrate the occassion I present here two sets of recordings of valayappatti as accompanist.
In both of them there is an enjoyable Tani.

First Seven items are with Sri Kunnakkudi Vaidyanathan on Violin.
The latter or with Sri Tiruvizha R Jayashankar on Nadaswaram.

Kunnakkudi Items


Jayashankar Items:

01 Saraseehusana
02a Abheri Ragam
02b Bhajare re manasa
02c Tani Valayappatti
03 Eppo Varuvaro
04 Bajore Bhayya
05 Kavadichindu


Following are the feelings of Veterans about Sri Valayappatti (Courtesy: The Hindu).
Veterans express their appreciation for the Music Academy's choice of Valayapatti Subramaniam for Sangita Kalanidhi, to be conferred at the Sadas on January 1, 2010.

Valayapatti A.R. Subramaniam, the Sangita Kalanidhi for 2009 at The Music Academy is the first thavil vidwan to be honoured with the much coveted title. A cross-section of vidwans, including Sangita Kalanidhis, have appreciated the Music Academy's gesture in choosing a renowned Thavil vidwan to preside over this year's conference. Excerpts:

Sangita Kalanidhi T.N. Krishnan: He is an outstanding maestro of thavil with hands that play melodiously too. I still remember those days when I went to listen to him with Palghat Mani Iyer and Alathur Brothers. His style is a combination of soft and heavy sollus.

Sangita Kalanidhi M. Balamuralikrishna: Well, Valayapatti and the Thavil can be likened to the epic pairs - Lord Muruga and his Vel (spear) and Lord Rama and his Vil (bow).

Violin maestro Lalgudi G. Jayaraman: Thavil is indispensable for a nagaswaram concert. Valayapatti Subramaniam represents the renaissance of the Thavil with his innovations. He has given it a special status.

Nagaswara Vidwans Sembonar Kovil Brothers S.R.G.Sambandam-S.R.G.Rajanna:
It is God's grace that he has been blessed with a good nadam in both the hands. His sounding on both the topi and valanthalai side is something unique. He has given the Thavil a universal recognition.

Sangita Kalanidhi T.K. Govinda Rao: I have known Valayapatti since his early days and been keenly observing his playing since then. Of the top ranking vidwans playing the Thavil, he has earned a reputation for his varied styles.

Sangita Kalanidhi T.V. Sankaranarayanan: Valayapatti has carved a niche for himself in the musical firmament. His perfect poise on stage, the erect posture, the supreme self-assurance born out of hard practice all through the years, the brilliant and effortless execution of ‘Nadai Bedhams,' astounding sound clarity have all made him a Thavil vidwan par excellence.

Sangita Kalanidhi Vellore G. Ramabhadran: I was first introduced to Valayapatti when he was a young man by (flute) T. Viswanathan. After listening to him I knew he would one day become a star in the field and it is now proved.

Sangita Kalanidhi A.K.C. Natarajan: There have been many Jambavans in the thavil field prior to Valayapatti such as Needamangalam Meenakshisundaram Pillai, Nachiar Koil Raghava Pillai and Valangaiman Shanmugasundaram Pillai to name a few. Following in their footsteps Valayapatti has innovated many modern sollus. It was he who gave the Thavil a special status by playing thani for more than an hour. His music pleased both learned and uninitiated.

Mridangam maestro Guru Karaikkudi Mani: Valayapatti made the public turn to him with his electrifying style. Many youngsters started following him. I still remember Valangaiman's compliment: “His art is entirely different with its unique nadam.” There were days when we wouldn't miss any of his concerts, mainly to analyse his innovations.

Let us enjoy good music!

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