Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Carnatic composers (other than performing vidwans)
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mannari
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#226 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by mannari » 12 Jun 2011, 00:21

hamsa wrote "It is so hilarious that this statement is made by one of the emptiest vessels in this thread " . I totally accept your judgement and I am not ashamed of it. Contrats ! for the first time you are correct ! you said emptiest vessels which is in plural. Thanks for being my partner. Also it needs slightly broader mind to understand what it was all about when i said SOME ONE might have created in the name of sriOVK during 1940 on odd kruthis. Instead of watching a statue, it is better if it is learnt what triggered the debate at that time, on whom and why his kruthis or name is not on par with other greats if all those krithis were created before trinities or explore why trinities , say Sri Thyagaraja did not mention ovk's name, when he gracefully mentions, say Sri Purandaradasa. May be he inculded his name in his Endaro Mahanubavalu .
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uday_shankar
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#227 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by uday_shankar » 12 Jun 2011, 06:00

mannari wrote:SOME ONE might have created in the name of sriOVK during 1940 on odd kruthis.
Sir/Madam, I have some questions:
1) How did you come to this amazing, and in my opinion unlikely, conclusion ? Especially after all that has been discussed ?
2) What's special about the year 1940 ?
3) Also, why are the kritis any more "odd" than you...or me ?
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chitravina ravikiran
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#228 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 12 Jun 2011, 11:08

S R Iyer wrote:
Sri Rangaramanuja Iyengar also mentions that OVK compositions, preserved over centuries, were tuned in the early twentieth century.
RRI was wrong about this.

1. The compositions were very much tuned by OVK (although there could be a few exceptions where original tunes may not have been accessible). NKB has been categorical in maintaining that his family has preserved orally the songs over generations and also made copies of them periodically.

2. My book - OVK Life and Contributions lists more than 30 melodic and rhythmic features that not only show that OVK was a great vaggeyakara but also someone with original thinking. The kind of talas and the compatibility of dhaatu and maatu seen in his compositions as well as the 10 or more distinct ways he has handled madhyamakala alone would suffice to show us that it is his musicianship.

3. As RRI himself states, even a common form like krti took varied dimensions in OVK's hands and the tillana attained great heights in his hands. RRI has overlooked the obvious - how could they if they were not his tunes?!

4. These compositions were already handled by people like Raju Shastri and Krishna Shastri in mid 1800s - which means that they were not tuned in early 20th cent.

5. I have recently made an Excel spreadsheet (not yet completed) which lists Raga population and clusters seen in OVK's compositions and he has at least used 100 plus ragas - obviously some have more than one composition in them.
SSI rendering OVK...?
Good question. I had lots of opportunity to ask him about this and he confessed that by the time he got to realise the composer's worth, it was too difficult for him to learn new songs and render them to his satisfaction. In fact, his quote was made sometime in the 1990s. Others who did render them include Musiri, Madurai Mani Iyer and perhaps GNB (though I have not heard audios of this). Dancers Kamala Laxman and Dr Vyjayantimala Bali and others in the Kuchipidi tradition like Dr Vempatti Chinnasatyam took up more songs fairly early on...
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cmlover
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#229 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by cmlover » 12 Jun 2011, 21:21

Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai's son claimed in a recent TV program that it was his father who first chreographed some of OVK' s songs for stage performances. Perhaps RK can contact him at chennai for more info...
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sr_iyer
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#230 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by sr_iyer » 13 Jun 2011, 10:02

Sri Ravikiran, sincere thanks for your responses.

Uday, reference your ask for the exact words as quoted from the book, RRI mentions, while writing about OVK. "At the dawn of this century, there were two boys. With extraordinary pluck, they clothed the words with appropriate music culled from other classical compositions." -- pp 215/216, Chapter 18, from "History of South Indian (Carnatic) Music. From Vedic Times to present. 1972"
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Ponbhairavi
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#231 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by Ponbhairavi » 13 Jun 2011, 11:34

others who did render them include Musiri, Madurai Mani Iyer and perhaps GNB (though I have not heard audios of this). Dancers Kamala Laxman and Dr Vyjayantimala Bali and others in the Kuchipidi tradition like Dr Vempatti Chinnasatyam took up more songs fairly early on...
chitravina ravikiran

Not only SSI ,surprizingly even MSS who had the astounding felicity to learn quickly new compositions from various sources and languages had ( to the best of my knowledge) not rendered any composition of O V K. I have used the word even because she was one of the pillars of the Tamil Isai movement and has sung thirupugazh and excerpts from silappadikaram and Alwars
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cmlover
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#232 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by cmlover » 13 Jun 2011, 19:33

..or even VVS who helped tune Ambujam krishna, P Thooran etc., or DKJ too who brought life into P Sivan's compositions.. Too bad DKP didn't get to know of OVK or even Alatthoor who introduced Tiruppugazh to CM and the redoubtable ARI who certainly would have given OVK an elevated status :(
It is indeed a mystery that none of the stalwarts did not get to know him.
Was NKB very possessive?
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rshankar
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#233 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by rshankar » 13 Jun 2011, 23:48

cmlover wrote:Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai's son claimed in a recent TV program that it was his father who first chreographed some of OVK' s songs for stage performances. Perhaps RK can contact him at chennai for more info...
He did choreograph the rAgamAlika version of tAyE yaSOda for his student, (as she was then) Kumari Kamala - it may have been the first recorded instance of this.
Ponbhairavi wrote:Not only SSI ,surprizingly even MSS who had the astounding felicity to learn quickly new compositions from various sources and languages had ( to the best of my knowledge) not rendered any composition of O V K.
May not be entirely true. In a program announcement for one of the dance performances of Kumari Radha and Kumari Anandi, with a statement that Smt. MSS would be singing for the abhinaya pieces, the list includes tAyE yaSOdA. Again, the choreographer would have been vazhuvUr Sri rAmaiyyA piLLai. Cienu may be able to check with his mother about which version came first chronologically, her's for the stage, or Smt. Kamala's for a movie.
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cienu
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#234 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by cienu » 14 Jun 2011, 08:55

Dear CML and Ravi,
Checked with Amma.

Thaye Yashoda was choregraphed by Sri Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai for Amma and she first danced to this in 1944/45 or whereabouts with Smt MSS singing the same. It was Sri Musiri who taught MS and Radha the song .

At this particular stanza,

"bAlanenru tAvi aNaittEn aNaitta ennai mAlaiyiTTavan pOl vAyil muttamiTTaaNDi
bAlanallaDi un maghan jAlam migha seyyum kriSNan nAlu pErgal kETka colla nANamigha lAgudaDi"

Roughly translated meaning (courtesy Karnatik.com)

Quote:

"Seeing such a beautiful young boy (or child? - baalan) I leapt (taavi) to embrace him (aNaittEn). But to the one who embraced him, me (yennai), like a husband (maalai iTTavan - one who garlanded) he planted a kiss (muttam) on my lips (vaayil)! Yashoda, your son (un magan) is no boy - who plays all these tricks. I feel ashamed in front of others for this kind of embarrassment he gave me. I feel very bad, when many people hear this, what they will think about me, for what he did without my consent. "

Unquote:

the audience would burst into laughter seeing Amma's portrayal of embarrassment :) Rasikamani T.K.Chidambaranatha Mudaliar in particular was a great fan of Amma's dancing and would say repeatedly how wonderfully she was able to bring this stanza to life.

Unfortunately there exists no recording of this song sung so many times by Smt MSS. :(
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rshankar
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#235 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by rshankar » 14 Jun 2011, 09:14

Cienu - thank you! Lovely description. Sad that these (both the dance and the music) were not recorded for posterity.
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Ponbhairavi
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#236 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by Ponbhairavi » 14 Jun 2011, 11:56

To be honest, in the last century bhajanai sampradaya bhagavathars and their music were considered infra dig by the kutcheri bhagavathars(who after the generation of Chembai and Muthiah bhagavathar etc. preferred to be called vidwans).So also dance singers and accompanists and even harikatha accompanists were considered lower level. Reputed kutcheri violinists and mridangists would not play for bhajans and dances as they considered it below dignity. A little of male chauvinism was also a component. But the upsurge of atheism and anti brahmin mentality were the main factors for the ostracism to bhajanai.In common parlance the word bhajanai had even acquired a pejorative connotation( yenneda office le bhajanai pannriya !!)
the fact that OVK has composed songs in praize of Jeyadevar and Radha shows that he is essentially a bhajanai bhagavathar ( hence his propensity to dance and jathis as distinct from other composers ) and therefore his compositions were considered "untouchables ' by the kutcheri vidwans . This trend started relenting after the advent of swami Haridos giri and now with the resurgence of Bhakthi, growing popularity of swamijis,Gurujis, Yoga etc. we find sampradaya bhajans even in the programme schedules of reputed sabhas with the changed nomenclature of Nama Sangirthanam. Good. Let OVK be resurrected fully though belatedly.
rajagopalan
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anoopnm007
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#237 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by anoopnm007 » 14 Jun 2011, 13:20

Hi,

A small digression. On a lighter note, I think this is the right place to post.
The so called Backfire Effect was the output of a research... Please read, those who are interested.
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/ ... #more-1218

Regards
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cmlover
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#238 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by cmlover » 14 Jun 2011, 19:50

Thx cienu!
Next time on a big get-together you should ask Gayatri to sing Thaye yaSoda and request mom to do the abhinayam. We will have yet another historic video clip at your efforts!

I do remember how much TKC was a fervant admirer of MS who was also a strong force in directing her towards Tamizh Isai.. It is unfortunate that OVK was almost unknown in the 40's and 50's...
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cmlover
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#239 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by cmlover » 14 Jun 2011, 20:05

Ponbhairavi
You are on the dot in your assessments. Folks tend to forget that T himself was only a bhajana brahmin. No doubt OVK was ignored because of his compositions connected with Bhajana and Harikatha and the lack of the powerful shishya parampara..

I think the time is ripe for making a movie on OVK with the available info on his life and a good rendering of some of his kritis by a talented musician ( RK :D
If I were in India and much younger I would have loved to launch that project which will be the crowning glory for CM (Tamizh Isai). Somebody should spark the idea to JJ which will persuade a capable enterpreuneur to undertake the project...
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rshankar
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#240 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by rshankar » 14 Jun 2011, 22:02

Sri Ravikiran, do you have any idea when his compositions like SrI vighnarAjam bhajEham, and svAgatam kRshNA were adopted into the kucipuDi repertoire?
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hamsaa
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#241 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by hamsaa » 15 Jun 2011, 16:40

cml,

Here is a link to the rendition by D K J Sir, of a brilliant masterpiece of OVK in Anandabhairavi

http://www.musicindiaonline.com/#/album ... _DK_Vol_1/
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cmlover
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#242 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by cmlover » 15 Jun 2011, 18:59

Thx. Brilliant indeed!
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Ponbhairavi
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#243 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by Ponbhairavi » 16 Jun 2011, 09:13

the name is mentioned as Oothukadu Subrmanya iyer--V and K are missing. I am afraid that someone might claim that this is another person !!
rajagopalan
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chitravina ravikiran
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#244 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 16 Jun 2011, 21:54

Shankar:
Sri Ravikiran, do you have any idea when his compositions like SrI vighnarAjam bhajEham, and svAgatam kRshNA were adopted into the kucipuDi repertoire?
I don't know exactly but would imagine that Dr Vempatti Chinnasatyam would have been one of the pioneers. There have been many Kuchipidi and BN dancers who have taken lesser known songs of OVK in recent times from me and presented them.

I must also share you my experience with about 30-40 (Indian and Sri Lankan origin) students and their gurus in Sydney the last weekend where they took up 6 pieces of OVK for a special presentation in the Sydney Music Festival. They did a commendable job considering that they learnt all the songs from our recordings on the net from sites like www.acharyanet.com or youTube. This included two Saptaratnas - Jatadhara (Todi) and Alavadennalo (Paras), Sundara Natarajam (Kharaharapriya), Gowrinatham (Vakulabharanam) etc.

PB:
he is essentially a bhajanai bhagavathar
Actually, that was considered a commendable thing since even those like Tyagaraja were similar. And OVK was never only into bhajana. He has displayed full vidwath in absolute musical terms. Some of his compositions would challenge artistes of the highest calibre - in fact, improve them enourmously, as Shri T N Seshagopalan sir mentioned in a recent video interview with me. And he has shown a great mastery in dance and operas too. These were much more closely intertwined at that time, than a few decades later, IMHO. The problem, I feel was that these remained outside the purview of 'mainstream' for quite sometime which is why a few top people wondered about its authenticity (also because they only heard a handful of relatively simpler songs initially). However, deeper study and analysis have helped us get a much clearer account of the composer's true genius.

CML:
Movie on OVK...
Great idea and I have been contemplating at least a docu-feature for sometime. It would enable dissemination of a lot of information on him.
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rshankar
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#245 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by rshankar » 17 Jun 2011, 03:00

chitravina ravikiran wrote:I don't know exactly but would imagine that Dr Vempatti Chinnasatyam would have been one of the pioneers.
If kucupiDi dancers and kalAvantulu danced to these compositions even before Sri Vempati, it will be another point in dating the compositions.

Again, the point that Venkata Kavi came from a time when music, dance, and dramaturgy were not distinct should also help date him.
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chitravina ravikiran
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#246 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 17 Jun 2011, 06:20

Again, the point that Venkata Kavi came from a time when music, dance, and dramaturgy were not distinct should also help date him.
Precisely. Those are some of the things I have used in cross-referencing the date. But based on hard core information, there is no doubt that he was a contemporary of Serfoji, Bhaskara Raya etc. The other surmises merely strengthen and verify this.
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Ponbhairavi
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#247 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by Ponbhairavi » 17 Jun 2011, 12:43

Again, the point that Venkata Kavi came from a time when music, dance, and dramaturgy were not distinct should also help date him.
The fusion of dance, music,and drama ( in telegu) for the propagation of bhakthi was in practice in full force and vigor during the Nrisimha jayanthi week-long celebrations known as bhagavatha melas and which were held in public in front of the temple regularly at Melatur and Saliamangalam hardly ten miles from Oothukadu.These melas which are being held for several centuries ( and which are continued annually even now) might have also been a source of inspiration to O V K and may perhaps be useful to fix his period
RK wrote: ......
even those like Thyagaraja were similar
May be there is some slight nuance in the category overall called as bhagavathars. Neither T nor the other two of the Trinity nor OVK called themselves as bhagavathars. T, a pious person, practiced unchavrithi did his daily pooja privately in his house for his idol[/i] and did even dolotsavam
. Of course some of his relatives or sishyas might have been present for those pujas. He did not perform any Radha kalyanam (Krishna jayanthi) or Sita kalyanam (sri Rama navami ) in public nor composed anything about Radha or Jeyadevar author of ashtapathis.It is very likely that he would not have even mentioned about Gita Govindam(because it is a Shringara maha Kavyam)
There is another category of devouts ( in which lineage have come kumbakonam Balu bhagavathar, Tiruvidaimarudhur venkataramana bhagavathar etc. of the last century). Besides their personal worship and pujas, they performed in public the bhajanai paddadi evolved and codified( by including compositions of Jeyadevar marathi sanths, Mira etc.) by the bhajanai Trinity ( Govindapuram Bhodendral, thiruvisanallur Sridhara Ayyaval and Marudanallur Sadguru swamigal) popularly known as marudanallur sampradaya bhajanai. The presence of bhajanai matam in almost all villages of TN let alone big places like Tiruvarur or Thiruvaiyaru attest to the widespread prevalence of this group worship.They perform Radha kalyanam and Sitakalyanam in public and in which jeyadavar’s Gita govindam and Narayana Thirthar’s tharangam form an integral part and in which dance and abhinayam find a place during Divya namam (Deepa pradakshinam). I think that OVK might have belonged to this category.
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chitravina ravikiran
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#248 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 19 Jun 2011, 08:11

The fusion of dance, music,and drama ( in telegu) for the propagation of bhakthi was in practice in full force and vigor during the Nrisimha jayanthi week-long celebrations known as bhagavatha melas and which were held in public in front of the temple regularly at Melatur and Saliamangalam hardly ten miles from Oottukkadu
You are right. But Oottukkadu was itself one of the five centers of BM tradition at that time. The other two being Soolamangalam, Vaidyanathapuram. Sadly, today only Melattur is surviving.
Neither T nor the other two of the Trinity nor OVK called themselves as bhagavathars
Actually, T has shown a great reverence for bhagavata and bhajana sampradaya, which probably led to him creating a specific repertoire in that direction (utsava sampradaya and divyanama sankeertanas). MD, though scholarly - was liberal enough to have artistic exchanges with dancers and SS hailed from priest-clan. Probably each of these was considered a plus in its own way at that time. (Or in the least, none was considered a minus.)
There is another category of devouts - besides their personal worship and pujas, they performed in public the bhajanai paddadi I think that OVK might have belonged to this category.
OVK was very much into bhajana sampradaya and revered bhagavatas. And he was also probably into daily worship at home. Each of the charanams in his Sundara nandakumara - (Madhyamavati Saptaratna) offers arghyam, achamanam, dhoopam, deepam tamboolam etc, which are part of the 16 offerings.

But so far we don't have references/evidence from his songs which suggests that he was into public pooja/even Radha Kalyanam. Even though he composed numerous operas, he is not known to have been into musical discourses like Gopalakrishna Bharati... He was a brahmachari who shunned family bondage and reserved his communication skills only with God.
It is very likely that T would not have even mentioned about Gita Govindam(because it is a Shringara maha Kavyam)
Actually, no CM composer has mentioned Radha much and Jayadeva not at all. OVK has composed several pieces on Radha and a set of songs on Radha-Kalyanam. But he has also composed a set of songs on Rukmini Kalyanam. Both are brilliant and contrasting pieces of work.
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Ponbhairavi
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#249 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by Ponbhairavi » 19 Jun 2011, 11:48

R.K.
Thanks for all your authoritative confirmations.
But so far we don't have references/evidence from his songs which suggests that he was into public pooja/even Radha Kalyanam.
I think that the very fact he has composed songs on Radha and jeyadeva and on radha kalyanam and rukmini kalyanam( which as you have said no C M composer has done) can be considered as enough internal evidence to show that he was participating in Radha kalyanam ,Sita kalyanam ,Rukmini kalyanam , which is a form of mass worship usually held in bhajanai matams or temples or in public places.
....
.He is not known to have been into musical discourse like Gopalakrishna Bharathi...
Morethan 90 % of the bhajanai sampradaya bhagavathars were not in the musical discourse, so also O.V K. Discourse is a different art form altogether. Those who are well versed in scriptures ,puranas and dharmasastras and endowed with communication skills become upanyasakars or pravachana karthas and among them those who have also godd knowledge of music distinguish themselves in musical discourse.
Quite interesting to see how many nuances!!
rajagopalan.
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chitravina ravikiran
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#250 Re: Oothukkadu Venkata kavi - a pre trinity composer?

Post by chitravina ravikiran » 07 Jul 2011, 14:09

I came across a oartial recording of one of NKB's performances for Raga Tarangini, held at Avvai Home, Besant Nagar. It also contains a short speech by Smt Rukmini Arundale, founder of Kalakshetra.

There is an interesting segment where NKB explains the confusion in some circles between OVK and Svarnakkadu Venkatasubbiah (which was of course resolved soon after by him). I have requested Uday Shankar to upload it somewhere and share the link with rasikas at his early convenience. This also throws light on a few other things, as we will observe.
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