Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar

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Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar (1878-1921) was a Carnatic vocalist from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Early life[edit]

Vaidyanatha Ayyar was born in 1878 to Narayana Ayyar and Sitalakshmi in the Vathima village of Konerirajapuram in a Vadama Iyer family. Vaidyanatha Ayyar has his early training under Nagaswaram Palanivelu, Marudhanallur Kulandaisami, Chinna Kulandaisami, Melattur Sundara Bhagavathar and Venkatarama Bhagavathar.

Vaidyanatha Ayyar was married at the age of twelve.

At the age of seven, Vaidyanatha Ayyar was put on the practice of Vedas. He had an innate passion for music and so, was placed under the Nagaswara Vidwan for training. He would not miss the performances of great artistes. He played as 'second' to Marudhanallur Kulandaisami and established contacts with Pandanallur Meenakshisundaram Pillai. His anxiety to learn, practise and become a great artiste was intense leading to his spreading the net for acquisition of expertise far and wide. He attracted the attention of Manpoondia Pillai, the illustrious percussionist from Pudukottai and went with him to Tirunelveli where he was given special orientation in 'laya'. The training gave his rendition a lop-sided slant to laya to the detriment of sweet, balanced music. The lure of laya leads the musicians to over-indulgence and exhibitionist acrobatics to the detriment of melody and depth. As a friend, Tirukodikaval Krishna Ayyar is credited with bringing Vaidyanatha Ayyar back to the glorious path of balanced rendition. Sathanur Panchanadam Ayyar and Talaignayar Somu Ayyar imparted to him the techniques of tanam and swara prastaram.

- - Rich raga bhava, delectable ragamalikas, vivid and soulful delineation of raga and marvellous tanam, tillanas and javalis 'maintained to the very end of the concert the high seriousness emotional uplift and subtle, spiritual elan that kept the audience spellbound during the five-hour Gitanjali. Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer mentions that the great vocalist would sing in the lower octave - mandra sthayi - with a closed mouth when loud-speakers were not there. Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar was a COLOSSUS who reached the pinnacle of glory by sheer will-power and unparalleled dedication.

Musical prowess[edit]

Rahmat Khan, a North Indian maestro, once said of Vaidyanatha Ayyar:

He had his music in his throat;
We have it in our thighs


  • N. Rajagopalan (1992). Another Garland: Biographical Dictionary of Carnatic Composers & Musicians, Bopok II. Carnatic Classicals. pp. 319–320.