Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Carnatic Musicians
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CRama
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#476 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by CRama » 10 Oct 2012, 21:02

As requested by Rajesh in another thread, I am uploading three varnams sung by Chembai.

Reethigowla varnam
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ckst58

Sankarabharana varnam
http://www.sendspace.com/file/v4q0ky

Kambodi varnam
http://www.sendspace.com/file/3p96gk

As I had already mentioned, the swaram and sahithyam of Chittaswaram and ettugada swarams parallely sung by the Guru and the sishyas in the Kambodi and Sankarabharana varnams.
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mohan
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#477 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by mohan » 11 Oct 2012, 16:46

CRama thanks for the links. The kambhoji link is giving me the ritigaula varnam again. In the sankarabharana varnam I can here the sahitya for the citta swara section but couldn't make out that they were sung in parallel by sishyas singing the swaras.
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Aditto
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#478 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by Aditto » 24 Oct 2012, 12:13

Hello,

Can someone post any recording of Chembai in Hindolam?

Regards,
Aditya.
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srkris
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#479 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by srkris » 15 Nov 2012, 06:39

A documentary by DD Malayalam - containing a clipping from an interview given by Chembai to AIR
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJk8deAeyXQ
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#480 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by srkris » 20 Nov 2012, 08:25

An old "Kalyana Kacheri" probably in Kottakkal, Malappuram, Kerala (thanks to a friend Mr. P.S.Gnanaprakash)

Update: This is likely in Poomulli mana (Peringode), between Shoranur and Gurvayur

Image
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#481 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by Aditto » 21 Nov 2012, 20:51

Thank you. I am looking for any elaborate rendition?

Regards,
Aditya.
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srkris
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#482 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by srkris » 24 Jun 2013, 21:39

Image
A photo I found last year.
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arasi
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#483 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by arasi » 26 Jun 2013, 00:53

srkris,
What a picture! Did at least one of the girls become a vidushi?

As for the kalyANa kachEri, we do not see the audience but for a partially seen head. Still, a rich picture it is, with young audience in the wings, an elder rasikA savoring the concert in the most comfortable seat and the crisscrossing youngsters!

The violinist looks like Lalgudi. CAn't see the mrudangam at all!
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#484 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by srkris » 26 Jun 2013, 19:44

I don't know who the girls are or what they are doing. But the boy standing at the back, I think, is Babu Parameswaran, one of Chembai's disciples who lives in California and has his music school there. I may be wrong though.

The so called kalyana kacheri photo may probably be at some Nambudiri "illam" (like Poomuli mana), a kind of aristocratic heriditary manor house that they used to call 'illam' or 'mana' which could either be a naalu kettu, ettu kettu or pathinaaru kettu depending on the affluence of the clan owning it, see http://www.namboothiri.com/articles/illam-photos.htm & http://www.namboothiri.com/articles/som ... m#illam-31, but it is not very clear at all who the accompanists are. The violinist looks like a youngster, maybe Lalgudi, or Chalakudi Narayanaswamy or Kandadevi Alagiriswami?
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arasi
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#485 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by arasi » 28 Jun 2013, 07:44

srkris,
Fascinating stuff to read, with so many photos and sketches!
Thanks.
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annamalai
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#486 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by annamalai » 28 Jun 2013, 08:12

What a voice for Chembai in the movie with Chowdiah and Mani Iyer; gives a glimpse of the musician that would have been in the 1930s - 1940s.

Ennil Kanindha - Sankarbaranam recording should have been from the 1940s - 1950s.
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#487 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by rajeshnat » 09 Sep 2013, 08:17

Yesterday-Sept 08,2013, I did see a lovely program of vidwan TV Gopalakrishnan talking about Chembai vaidhyanatha bhagavathar in podhigai. I was really touched by few anecdotes by TVG on chembai and the entire program was lovely.

Sangeethapriya TVG sir or any one else
If you upload please share the url.
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advaitin
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#488 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by advaitin » 16 Nov 2013, 11:23

A small clip of Chembai , starting with tanam

http://www.mediafire.com/download/aqstw ... 04-RTP.mp3
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Aditto
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#489 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by Aditto » 16 Nov 2013, 20:32

I guess the alapana is truncated.
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#490 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by Aditto » 09 Jan 2014, 21:49

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a--SjoVRTMI

Amba Nadu in Todi (RPM) - Fantastic Kathiri Swarams.

Regards,
Aditya.
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VRV
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#491 Interesting anecdotes on Chembai

Post by VRV » 31 Jan 2014, 19:34

Dear Friends,

I received this via email this morning from my brother in Mumbai. Thought it would be interesting to share. A recollection by PP Ramachandran who lives in Kalina, Bombay on the life and times o the great Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. Hope you all enjoy as much as I did.

Vinod Venkataraman


CHEMBAI VAIDYANATHA BHAGAVATHAR

"Once, while demonstrating the raga Puraneer in a concert, Chembai mentioned that it was a Malayala raga, and it was not to be found even in the Sangeeta Ratnakara or in the Sangeeta Shastras. One of his disciples mentioned that it is a 'Pann Raga'. Chembai says "Panno manno, adhellam enakku theriyadu" (Pann or mann (mud), all that I don't know).
In another concert, Chembai wanted the organizers to keep the microphone nearer. Finding that the microphone cable (wire) was too short, he said "Namma Vayaru than perisa irukku" (Only my vayaru (belly) is big).

Chembai was singing a Thyagaraja Kriti in Useni which went "Rama Ninne Nammi Nanu Nijamuka Sita..... Rama Ninne...". His accompanists for the day were Lalgudi Jayaraman on the violin and Umayalapuram Sivaraman on the mridangam. In a flash Chembai substituted the word "Sita" with "Jaya" and repeated the line again with "Siva", thus Jayaraman and Sivaraman had their names mentioned. The predominantly Malayali audience were highly amused when they realized the import of the whole sentence ("Jayarama and Sivarama, I depend on you").

No one could have had a greater sense of humour than Chembai. His concerts were lively with his interjections, "Vasidaa Vilvaadri" etc. Once, when he sang a Tamil viruttam "Orumaiyodu Ninadu Thiruvadi" in Hamsanandi, he pointed to Chowdiah, who was accompanying him, as he sang "Unnai maravaadirukka Vendum".

His rendering of Tamil songs had traces of a Malayalam accent. There was a Tamil number in Mohanam he used to sing often. It went "Idhiname Shuba dinam" and Chembai sang it as "Ee diname Shuba dinam". Once, one of his disciples, keen on the right pronunciation, sang "Idhiname..." almost chewing and spitting out the first few letters, hoping his guru would notice and render the song with the right pronunciation. Chembai must have noticed, for he decided to have some fun. The more the sishya emphasised the first few letters, the more Chembai drew out his "Eee diname". The Malayalam versus Tamil match continued for almost three minutes much to the delight of the audience. 

At a concert at Shanmukhananda Hall in Bombay, a member of the audience asked Chembai if he could sing a song on Bombay. Chembai, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, said he could. He went on to sing "Aadu paambae, vilayadu paambae".

Once Chembai sang in Kanchipuram after the Paramacharya, then the pontiff of the Math, had performed the long Chandramouleeswara pooja. The sage asked him whether he was not tired. Chembai replied: "No, not at all. How can anyone be fatigued watching your Holiness performing the pooja?" The Pontiff presented him with a bracelet, a Rudraksha necklace, a Ponnadai and Prasadam.
Recounted by Chembai--
We were speeding towards Kollam when our car got held up at a railway crossing. A young boy who was tending cattle nearby came up to the car and asked Chembai who he was. Always playful, Chembai asked him:
"What do I look like?" The boy replied smartly: "Like a bhagavatar." When Chembai conceded he was one, the boy asked: "Are you going to sing at Vadayattu Kottai? The concert will be a roaring one, eh?" Chembai had a hearty laugh and said that possibly Guruvayurappan himself had come to bless him.
**************************************
A story from a friend.

I was present at the concert given by Chembai at the wedding of the daughter of Postmaster Viswanatha lyer of Kalpathy which took place in Sekharipuram, Palakkad. This was around the time S.G.Kittappa, K.B.Sundarambal and their drama troupe was giving performances in Palakkad and the song Evarani rendered by Kittappa with terrific impact was on everybody's lips. Some of the listeners at the wedding concert requested Chembai to sing this song which is in the Devamritavarshini raga. Chembai replied that although it was summer and it was as dry as it could be, it would rain if he sang any song in that raga. Probably no one believed it because the listeners persisted with the request. Chembai then rendered the song and, miracle of miracles, when he concluded, dark clouds appeared in the sky and there was a downpour.

Question Of Seniority

Chembai and I were travelling by the Mangalore Mail in a posh old-time second class compartment, from Madras to Palakkad. It was very late at night when the train stopped at Erode. I heard someone knocking on the door and since there was an upper berth vacant, I opened it and there was Ariyakudi Ramanuja lyengar. We invited him in gladly. He was also going to Palakkad, to sing at the marriage of one of my relatives. Chembai began talking to Ariyakudi and, after a while, asked: "I know you are older than me, but which of us is senior in terms of performing experience?" lyengar admitted Chembai was, for he too remembered that even when he was giving only vocal support to his guru Poochi Srinivasa lyengar, Chembai was accompanying the latter on the violin. The exact words he spoke to Chembai, in broken English, which I remember vividly were: "You were fiddling then." All of us laughed.

Footrule
It was a time when the Railways used to issue "Travel As You Like" tickets costing seven and half rupees which could be used for three months throughout the entire railway network in the South.
On or about June 1940, Chembai and I were at the Shoranur railway station platform, waiting to board the Mangalore-Madras Mail. Desamangalam Namboodiripad, an advocate of Madras and a Member of the then Madras Legislative Council, hove into view with members of his family. Desamangalam is close to Shoranur.

Namboodiripad spoke to Chembai:
"Bhagavatar, why are you sitting here? Only the third class compartments will be coming to where you are sitting. The first class and second class compartments will not come here. You will have to go still further up." Bhagavatar replied that he was travelling by third class only and he showed him the special season ticket. The advocate-admirer was greatly surprised and asked: "My dear Bhagavatar, you are a very popular musician with several engagements all over the country and in the sphere of music you are an uncrowned king. Is it not below your stature to travel in third class?"

Chembai replied: "My father and my grandfather used to travel by foot and give concerts but I have given up the usual family practice and travel by train. I really feel, though, that I too should go walking to the places where I give concerts."
Desamangalam Nambudiripad had a hearty laugh at the insouciant reply of the great musician.

Deference To Elder
When the Bharatiya Music and Arts Society was founded in Bombay in 1953, I requested Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar to give the inaugural concert. But Chembai replied that it would be more appropriate to give the honour to Palakkad Rama Bhagavatar, who was senior to him. We took his advice; but were glad Chembai also gave a concert later.

Saareeram Sareeram
Parveen Sultana's first concert in Madras was another occasion for a quip. Chembai, who was asked to preside on the occasion and "speak a few words", made just this observation: "I don't know much about Hindustani music. But this I know: I have a good saareeram and the lady here has both good saareeram and sareeram." The second was a reference to Parveen's attractive appearance.
He would tell a joke at the expense of his dear wife too, in the presence of others even. Meenakshi Ammal was her name but everyone at home called her Ammalu. One day he told me, as we were all chatting: "Rama lyer, she is the only daughter of Vasudeva Sastrigal, a rich man of my village. My father fixed our marriage without telling me. When I came to know of it, I resisted a little but my father gave me a slap on my face and made me agree. Anyway, she is beautiful and dutiful! [Turning to his wife] Aren't you, Ammalu?"

At The Academy
'This happened during a Chembai concert at the Music Academy of Madras many years ago. The programme look place in a pandal in the compound of the P.S. High School in Mylapore. As Bhagavatar was belting out a piece, he saw four other leading vidwans of the day entering and taking their seats. Stopping in mid-song momentarily, he recited a Sanskrit sloka of which the substance of which was that it is rare for four musicians to come together as it is for four dogs, and then added he considered himself most fortunate that four great vidwans had come together to attend his concert. 


MORE ANECDOTES
When Chembai was 11, he and his brother first sang at the Sree Krishna temple in Guruvayur on Ekadasi day (on the 11th day of the lunar cycle). When, shortly afterwards, the father and the sons were coming out of the temple, a couple of policemen met them and said they were wanted by the inspector. Chembai asked what wrong they had committed and why they should accompany the policemen. The latter replied they did not know why. At that point, Ananta Bhagavatar said there should be no harm in going with the policemen and finding out what it was all about. In the event, the Inspector welcomed them with respect and speaking with affection, told the father: "On Sunday, your boy must sing here!" The concert took place and Chembai received 115 rupees for it" the highest yet. At his father's suggestion, he earmarked the money received for conducting worship at the temple every year.

A Bitter Experience
Chembai Vaitha and his brother Subrahmaniam, still in their twenties, were glad to have the opportunity of listening to this musician of maturity. Captivated by a particular kriti they heard him sing, Chembai memorised the pallavi and anupallavi even as he listened but the lyric of the charanam did not register well. This was frustrating but he had no chance to ask the performer.
Some days later, when the Vidwan was due to perform again in that area, Chembai called on him before the concert and, after a while, asked him for the text of the charanam. The Vidwan pretended not to know which song the youngster was talking about. Chembai thought this was a genuine case of puzzlement. So he sang the pallavi and anupallavi of the song but now, while congratulating him, the Vidwan said he could not remember the charanam. He then excused himself.
A surprise was in store for Chembai when, later during the performance, the Vidwan started singing the song he had said he could not remember fully. Innocent yet, Chembai was worried that the Vidwan was going to stumble when he reached the charanam. But Chembai need not have worried. The Vidwan sang the charanam all right and this time Chembai quickly grasped the words. But, he realised too that Vidwan had not levelled with him earlier. Then and there he took a vow he would never refuse to teach anyone what he knew.

The place - Kottaiyur in Chettinad. The occasion - a wedding. Chembai was giving a performance with Mysore T. Chowdiah (violin), Palakkad Mani lyer (mridangam) and Pudukkotai Dakshinamurthy Pillai (kanjeera) as his sidemen. When there was a pause in the proceedings, a prominent person stood up and said the guests assembled desired to hear Chowdiah play solo. The violinist could not find any reaction on Chembai's face. He continued to sing and the sidemen performed with him.
There was another interruption soon. Now there was a chorus demanding a solo performance from the Mysorean. Chembai and his cohorts continued to ignore the clamour. In the event, there was confusion and many of the guests began leaving, while some came near the platform and shouted.
Chembai now stopped singing and, with an air of insouciance, asked: "What is it you want, please?" The common response was: "We want Chowdiah to play the English Note!"
Whereupon, Chembai said: "That's all! Okay, I will conclude my concert in a few minutes and after that you can ask him to play for you what you want".

The chorus sang: "No! we want him to play now!"
Chembai spoke again now, quietly but firmly. He explained the tradition followed in music concerts and said that it was not the done thing for an accompanist to play a piece which the main musician had not taken up.

The angry audience was not mollified; if anything, the lecture seemed to have irritated them further. Some said other musicians had heeded similar requests made by them.
Chembai said that he could not oblige simply because others had done so. "I will now conclude the concert by singing the mangalam. You can then do what you want."
An angry man shouted Chembai would not ever again be invited to perform in the town. Chembai replied that he was not born to sing only for the people of Kottaiyur and that he was not very earnest to perform there.
The news spread Chembai had antagonised the people of Chettinad.
But, when tempers cooled, good sense prevailed. Members of the community soon decided to invite Chembai to sing at another function in the town. Bhagavatar again performed with the same set. It had ended well; and all was well.

A Matter Of Priorities
It was the tradition of the Mysore court to honour prominent artists by inviting them to give performances in the royal presence and to accept the title of Asthana vidwan. In 1937 Maharaja Krishnarajendra Wodeyar extended an invitation to Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar to perform. Chembai accepted the invitation and gave a performance which was hailed as excellent by the King as well as by his courtiers. Next day Wodeyar presented the vidwan with a ponnadai (shawl) and other tokens of appreciation. Leading court musician Muthiah Bhagavatar also honoured Chembai and a photograph showing the two bhagavatars together is still on display at the Mysore palace.
The Maharaja then expressed his wish to have Chembai enlisted as an Asthana vidwan. Chembai was pleased to learn this but responded by saying that he would not be able to discharge the obligations of a court musician which would require his attendance at the court frequently and especially during Dussera. The Vidwan was already committed, since many years before, to perform Navaratri pooja privately at home and therefore he was not available for any public engagements during that holiday period. His sense of priorities was such that he did not wish to break this commitment. Accordingly he explained his inability to accept the royal invitation to serve as the Asthana Vidwan of the Mysore court.

Far from being upset, the Maharaja appreciated Chembai's sense of priorities. The courtiers too were struck by the character of Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar. In subsequent years, Chembai gave performances at the court several times at the invitation of the maharaja.

Power of Faith

Chembai was about to start a performance at the palace in Kallikotai. Suddenly he discovered that his voice was 'frozen'. He was puzzled since he had no problem of any kind earlier that day. The sound of the tambura sruti seemed to gain in volume as Chembai pondered the reason. Suddenly, a question arose in his mind. He asked someone seated nearby whether it was 'Sukla Paksham', after the new moon. This was the month of Kartika and it was Chembai's practice to offer musical prayers at the Sree Krishna temple in Guruvayur on the Ekadasi day of the 'Sukla Paksham' in the month of Kartika every year.

When a reference to an almanac confirmed that it was 'Sukla Paksham' Ekadasi, Chembai explained the matter to the host and requested permission and help to go to Guruvayur and fulfill his commitment. The host obliged. Chembai speeded to Guruvayur in a car, offered his apologies and prayers to Sree Krishna.

He had no problem singing; he had recovered his voice fully. He sang many songs and long until he was satisfied that the Lord had forgiven his lapse.
He sang at Kallikkotai the next evening, without any problem.

A Blow For Equality
Chembai was due to give a performance at the Singaravelan temple in Nagapattinam, as part of the Kanda Shashti festivities. It was past the time when the concert was to start and still none had come from the office of the temple's trustees to fetch him. Unwilling to wait any longer, he proceeded to the temple, accompanied by his sidemen. As he reached the temple, he realised there was some galatta or noisy disturbance going on. When he inquired about it, he was told that common people had occupied seats reserved for VIPs in the mandapa where the concert was to take place; that a representative of the trustees had more than once asked them to clear out of the space but in vain; that the representative had said the trustees would rather shift the venue of the concert to some place else than allow their stipulations to be transgressed; and that this had precipitated the galatta.
Chembai arrived at the mandapam, pacified the crowd and said that, as far as he was concerned, all were equal before God and music. He also explained he attached more importance to performing in the temple's precincts than to pleasing the organisers by singing elsewhere. "I was invited to perform at the Sannidhi of the deity and that is what I propose to do, even if I am not paid" he added.
Then he proceeded to give the performance without waiting for the trustees and other VIPs.

A Tribute In Diamond
Chembai was returning by train to Madras from Karaikudi where he had given a concert. During the journey, he got acquainted with a fellow passenger, a wealthy, middle-aged businessman named Valliappa Chettiar. Noticing that Chettiar was undergoing some kind of stress, he openly asked the latter what was bothering him. Chettiar was taken aback by the directness of the query but responded nonetheless by disclosing the source of his worry. Chembai then told him that the deity of the Parthasarathy temple in Chembai would help solve the problem if Chettiar would pray to him and, if the problem were solved, Chettiar could show his gratitude to the Lord in some way.
Chettiar agreed to abide by the suggestion and then saw a smile playing on the lips of Bhagavatar. "What are you smiling about?", he asked and Chembai said that the act of gratitude should not be like fulfilment of a trade transaction and that he should in advance decide what offering he would make, in line with his capacity. In the conversation that followed, he explained he had already provided the temple with a gold kavacham for the deity and it would be nice if Chettiar could take a vow to present a Namam made of diamonds. Chettiar agreed to do so.
Subsequently, Chettiar came to the village of Chembai, his problem solved, and made his offering to Lord Parthasarathy. None could have been more pleased than Chembai.


On The Razor's Edge
One morning when Chembai was standing in the verandah of his house in Santhome, Madras, lost in thought, a barber carrying his equipment made his appearance and saluted him. Chembai had never seen him before nor had he the need for a shave. Yet, using sign language, he invited him to sit down and himself sat down to have a shave.
The barber, an elderly fellow, spoke volubly as he passed the razor back and forth on Chembai's face. He let it be known that he was not fond of barbering and that his real vocation was healing the sick, like it had been the vocation of his forefathers.
Bhagavatar did not respond in any manner to any of this talk. The barber thereupon sought to provoke him by asking questions.
Chembai finally blurted out that he was unable to speak. It was obvious he had a very bad throat, the way he croaked out the words.
The barber said he was very sorry to notice the difficulty Chembai was experiencing, especially since he had heard his golden voice many a time while passing his house. And he asked how long the Vidwan had been suffering this.
Chembai stuck out a single finger to indicate 'one month'.
The barber asked: "Haven't you been receiving any treatment?"
Chembai conveyed by signs that the treatment had been in vain.
The barber finished his job and received payment. Then he said he would bring a herbal medicine if Chembai would trust him to treat his ailment.
Speaking with difficulty, Chembai said he had been offered a concert engagement a week hence and asked if he could rely on the barber's treatment and accept it.
"Praise the Lord and accept it," replied the man with the razor. And then he left.
Next evening, the barber brought the medicine and gave instructions to Bhagavatar on how he should take it. Chembai paid him two rupees and promised to pay a total of 20 if the treatment proved to be successful.
The treatment worked, Chembai regained his voice and the concert he had accepted was a grand success.
What had cured him? The medicine? Faith? A combination of both? Whatever, Chembai, try as he might to find the barber and repay his debt, never saw the barber-physician again."

Chembai was one of the top vocalists of the last century. He had a brilliant career throughout. The Chembai, Chowdiah, Palghat Mani Iyer trio has given nearly 3000 concerts. I came to know Chembai extremely well during my training with guru Chowdiah. Whenever Chembai came to Mysore to sing at the Bidaram Krishnappa’s Rama Mandiram during the Ramotsavam he invariably stayed in my Guru Chowdiah’s house.
Chembai had a vigorous, strong, vibrant, ringing and resonant voice that had a rich metallic timbre. Chembai’s singing always seemed effortless. He was very disciplined and was an ardent follower of tradition. He was very religious, good hearted and friendly. He had a wonderful sense of accurate kala pramana (time measure). His voice blended perfectly with sruti and worked wonders. I had the good fortune to listen to many of his concerts with my master on the violin and Palghat Mani Iyer on the mridangam.

In his concerts he never failed to sing Vatapiganapatim (Hamsadhwani), Raghuvara nannu (Pantuvarali) and Sri BalaSubramanya (Bilahari). When someone asked him why he repeated these compositions he replied—‘‘It is because each one of these compositions has fetched me lakhs of rupees.’’

I learnt from Chembai many of his favorite kritis such as Sri MahaGanapthim, Sri Balasubramanya, Raghuvara Nannu, Pallavi Gopala Iyer’s composition Amba naadu, Vinnapamu in the raga Todi, Varnams such as SarasijaNabha in Kamboji set to atta tala, etc.

..‘‘Whichever composition you learn, you must practice it intensely to bring about the beauty of the raga. Unless this is done, it will be of no use’’ ... was his advice based on his long experience. By encouraging his disciples to listen to his concerts, he encouraged them to progress in their learning. My co-disciple C. R. Mani was also his disciple and a relative of Palghat Subba Iyer. The Bhagavatar used to provide opportunity to C.R. Mani to accompany him on the violin in his concerts.
Chembai was also a fine violinist. He learnt violin in his youth when there was a passing apprehension about his voice. Once he played the violin in Chowdiah’s house and we were all in awe. His violin play was similar to his vocal style. He was also a fine mridangist. Whenever he was in Mysore, he never failed to teach us different teermanams.

Whenever the famous mridangist Dakshinamurthy Pillai was his mridangam accompaniment in his concerts, he used to allow him to play solo (tani) 3-4 times. He had great affection and regard for Chowdiah. He would praise Chowdiah’s performance in his concerts in order to bring out his best.
Chembai also loved the mridangam play of Tanjavur Ramadasa Rao. I heard Tanjavur Ramadasa Rao with Chembai and my master on the violin in a concert at the Pudukote temple. Ramadasa Rao’s playing was soft. His use of the right hand was more than ordinary. He had the innate artistic capacity to bring forth the creative talent of the main artist and the violinist as well.

Chembai was a very versatile person. During a gathering of musicians in Alangudi in 1938, Kaliakudi Vaidyanatha Iyer was requested to sing. Chembai came forward to play violin and another stalwart vocal maestro Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer came forward and took up the mridangam and these two made the concert a roaring success. In 1953, under the auspicious of the Thyagaraja Sangita Vidwat Samaj, Chembai, played the violin and Maharajapuram, the mridangam to the concert of the renowned flautist T. R. Mahalingam.

His accurate grasp of tala and laya was simply grand. Dakshinamurthy Pillai called him—Laya Brahma. ‘‘You should count the time measure and I should play’’ he said. I remember this even today. Though he sang an ordinary pallavi, he would sing it by demonstrating the variety of time measures. Usually, his concerts would last not less than 5 hours.

Chembai had another record as the person who could give three concerts in a day. After his concert at Bidaram Krishnappa’s Rama Mandiram in Mysore from 6 to 9 p.m., he sang his second concert from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Kunchitiga’s Rama Mandiram, Mysore and proceeded to Shankara Narayana temple in Chamundipuram, Mysore for his third concert from 2 am to 5 a.m. Myself, the late GNB and my friend Dr. V. S. S.Acharya are eye witnesses. I remember GNB’s statement the next day —‘‘These are not ordinary men. These are the asuras of the music field. If I sing one concert, I need to rest the whole of next day.’’

Even Ariyakudi has never sung three concerts in one day like Chembai.

Chembai spent all his earnings to build a temple in his native place. He was an ardent devotee of Sri Krishna of Guruvayur and instituted several services there. Like Mahatma Gandhi, he traveled in the third class by train. He used to walk 6-7 miles to Valvacode and board the train to travel to his concerts.

Chembai always enjoyed his food and for him pickles with curd rice was a must. Whenever he visited Tiruchirappalli, he stayed in Saravanabhava Lodge and when in Tanjore stayed in an Iyer’s hotel. The hotel owners had great regard for musicians in those days and never accepted payments from the artists. Chembai had admirers everywhere. He has given many concerts, without any remuneration. He always used to sing for the sake of art. In those times, the Bidaram Krishnappa’s Rama Mandiram used to give him an honorarium of Rs.100/- or 110/-. Chembai had his vocal concerts till his last days. He also undertook a concert tour of Sri Lanka. One of Chembai’s last concerts took place at the town hall in Mysore with T.Rukmini on the violin and T. V. Gopalakrishnan on the mridangam. Chembai sang enthusiastically for more than three hours. He was about 76 then. He sang vigorously as always with rich brikas, effortless neravals and swarams. Once during his concert his concert in Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore he spotted me sitting in the back rows of the auditorium. He called me by name and asked me to come and sit in front of him. During the concert he told the audience in his thick voice “you are all truly blessed, you do not have to go out of town looking for a music vidwan. You have Ramarathnam right here in Mysore”. I can never forget the affection he showered on me till his final days. It will be with me for ever.

PPR (Culled from several sources)
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rajeshnat
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#492 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by rajeshnat » 02 Feb 2014, 08:27

VRV
Thanks for that long post for so many anecdotes about Shri Chembai.

In Sept 2013 podigai program , I wish some body uploads in youtube . Chembai's disciple TV Gopalakrishnan mentioned that even nandanar charithram of GKB was sung very early in 1920's by chembai which was news to me. Certainly Chembai - had the greatest heart.
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kaumaaram
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#493 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by kaumaaram » 13 Feb 2014, 14:19

Srkris has done me a great favour by marking this thread in my name. I just asked for some songs of CVB in some other thread. He pulled out my request and started a new thread. It appears that this has the highest number of page hits. If you see the first page of the thread, you will find it.

I am glad that there are so many facts and instances about CVB. I am sure that all of you would have also listened to some of his AIR concerts relayed by AIR Trivandrum, which have been uploaded by Shri TVG in Sangeethapriya.org. The "manasunilpa"piece is superb indeed. He has rendered it with ease and conviction.
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venkatakailasam
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#494 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by venkatakailasam » 02 Aug 2014, 09:10

Image
courtesy Jayan...

Concert 243-Chembai With MSG-TVG

Listen at:
http://myblogkumara.blogspot.in/2014/07 ... rt-ix.html
01-vAtApi_gaNapatim_bhajEham-hamsadhvani
02-Rakshamam-Gambeeranattai
03-raghu_vamsa_sudhAmbudhi-kadanakutUhalam
04-Ela_nI_dayarAdu-aThANA
05-EtAvunarA_nilakaDa_nIku-kalyANi
06-entarAni_tanakenta_pOni-harikAmbhOji
07-sAmagAna_vinOdini-hamsAnandi
08-saraguna_pAlimpa-kEdAragauLa
09-Sankaracharyam-Sankarabaranam
10-rAgam_tAnam_pallavi-shaNmukhapriyA
11-Karuna-Yadukulakambodhi
12-Bhuvanathraya-Ragamalika
13-Mohanakalyani-Ragamalika
14-Slokam
15-nAdupai_balikEru_narulu-madhyamAvati
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rajeshnat
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#495 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by rajeshnat » 02 Aug 2014, 10:39

What a lovely photograph- any photograph with chembai has so much positivity. I always think the "golden era for microphones" is this one , two kondai mikes one for vocalist with atleast 1 to 1 1/2 feet seperation , the mike has to be at that distance so that mrudangam sound is also picked up, that distance also ensures that the vocalist has to really sing not murmur. The violin has a mike at a distance . Mrudangam has no mikes ,nowadays with an extra mike even for left it just creates too much of imbalance . These kondai mikes have an arc of receptivitiy.

Instead of one sound engineer having 100 knobs and musicians making all kinds of cacophonical adjustment like reduce sharpness - increase bass etc- all of that is taken care with this simple setup of just only two kondai mikes. We only need commonsense with minimalism of two mikes and no sophistication with extra miks

There are photos of MMI-LGJ with a nearly similiar setup which is permenantly etched in my memory- now with Chembai-MSG the mike is nearly the same distance- it is just WOW . Hope some forward looking sabhas who read this forum like mudhra, nadasurabhi and few others take a cue from this and arrange this ideal "2 kondai golden era mike concerts" again.
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venkatakailasam
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#496 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by venkatakailasam » 01 Sep 2014, 20:15

Concert 256-Chembai Vaithiyanatha Bahavathar with LGJ and PMI
His birth day on 01-09-2014
Listen at:

http://myblogkumara.blogspot.in/2014/07 ... rt-ix.html

Concert Details:
01_Endaro_Mahanubhavulu_Sri_Adi_Tyagaraja
02_Sri_Shankaracharyam_Shankarabharana_Adi_Subbarama_Dixitar
03_GiriPai_Sahana_Adi_Thyagaraja
04_Chetulara_shringaramu_jesi_chutunu_shri_rama_Bhairavi_Chapu_Tyagaraj
05_NidhichalaSukhama-Kalyani-MChapu-Tyagaraja
06_AgrePashyami-Narayaneeyam
07-nInAma_rUpamulaku-mangaLa-sourAshtra-Adhi-thyAgarAja
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venkatakailasam
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#497 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by venkatakailasam » 16 Oct 2014, 09:50

To day ...16-10-2014 is his Mukthi day...

Image

01-Jagam_Pugazhum_Chembai...

http://mfi.re/listen/s0aje69d36409eb/01 ... hembai.mp3

Chembai--78rpm--bunch....

http://mfi.re/listen/9jvj9ry6671wgp3/05 ... -bunch.mp3
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bombal
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#498 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by bombal » 16 Oct 2014, 14:16

would like to add a couple of images of Chembai here but don't know how to do the same...can someone please guide...if I click on Img, it does not permit any further action.

thanks

:namaste:
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bombal
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#499 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by bombal » 16 Oct 2014, 14:33

Image

Image


Both these pictures were taken at Bharatiya Music and Arts Society, Bombay...

my father along with the other members of Bharatiya had arranged for a function to felicitate PMI with a silver mridangam, for which Chembai and TNK were present followed by a concert by these maha vidwans.

Chembai bhagavathar was very close to our family and he used to stay in our house whenever on concert to Bombay.
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randomhari
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#500 Re: Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar

Post by randomhari » 22 Oct 2014, 01:03

Chembai: Saayankaale 78 rpm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slNqvrp32zw
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