Mysore Vasudevachar

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Mysore Vasudevachar
Born (1865-05-28)May 28, 1865
Karnataka, South India, India
Died May 17, 1961(1961-05-17) (aged 95)
Genres Carnatic
Occupation(s) Composer, lyricist, instrumentalist
Instruments Vocals

Mysore Vasudevachar (Kannada: ಮೈಸೂರು ವಾಸುದೇವಾಚಾರ್) (May 28, 1865 – May 17, 1961) was an Indian musician and composer of Carnatic music compositions who belonged to the direct line of Thyagaraja's disciples. Vasudevachar's compositions (numbering over 200) were mostly in Telugu and Sanskrit. Some of his most popular kritis include Broche varevaru ra in Kamas raga, Devadideva in Sunadavinodini, Mamavatu Sri Saraswati in Hindolam, Bhajare Re Manasa in Abheri and Ra Ra Rajeevalochana Rama in Mohanam. [1]

He is credited with two writings in Kannada, one of them an autobiography called Nenapugalu (memories) and Na Kanda Kalavidaru (the musicians I have met) in which he wrote the biographies of many well known musicians. Mysore Vasudevachar also taught in Rukmini Devi's Kalakshetra, (founded in 1936). He was already quite old by then, but thanks to Rukmini Devi he agreed to shift to Kalakshetra. He became the chief musician in Kalakshetra and helped in setting the Ramayana to music. He died in 1961 at the age of 96. He lived a simple and austere life devoted to the study of Sanskrit and music.

S. Rajaram, his grandson worked at Kalakshetra eventually taking charge of the institution at Rukmini Devi's request. Vasudevachar had composed the music for only the first four kandas and it was left to Rajaram to finish the work. An accomplished musician and Sanskrit scholar, he was amongst the few musicians, the sole repository of Vasudevachar's compositions. S. Krishnamoorthy, his other grandson worked at All India Radio (A.I.R) and has translated his grandfather's memoirs into English. He has also published a memoir of his own.

Early Life[edit]

Vasudevachar was born in an orthodox Madhva Brahmin family in Mysore and started learning music from Veena Padmanabhiah, the chief musician of the Mysore court. He also mastered Sanskrit and allied fields such as Kavya, Vyakarana, Nataka, Alankaram, Tarka, Itihasa, Purana having studied at the Maharaja Sanskrit college in Mysore while learning music privately. [2]

He then went on to learn from the famous composer-musician Patnam Subramania Iyer supported by the Maharaja's generous stipend and imbibed the music of not only his Guru but also other great maestros of the Thanjavur-Cauvery delta. Vasudevachar eventually became the chief court musician(Asthana Vidwan) at the Mysore court. He was known for his madhyama-kala tanam singing which he learnt from his Guru. Patnam Subramania Iyer often requested his sishya "Vasu" to help him with the sahitya (lyric) aspects of his compositions. This aspect of his training undoubtedly helped Vasudevachar as a composer. He was adept in all the aspects of Carnatic music especially Raga Alapana,Thanam,Pallavi, Niraval, and Kalpana swaram.[3]

Career[edit]

He published a large number of his compositions in the book Vasudeva Kirtana Manjari. His compositions in Telugu have such sweetness and lilt, and beautifully blend with the tune of the raga as do the Sanskrit compositions, which are mellifluous. His songs reflect his mastery of Sanskrit and show his erudition and scholarship in Sanskrit literature. He considered his insight into Telugu as a gift from Thyagaraja (Thyagaraja's bhiksha). Unlike the Dasa kuta songs, his compositions don't have any Dvaita undertones but many have the words "Paramapurusha Vasudeva" or "Vasudeva" which means the supreme Vasudeva/Lord Vishnu which incidentally is also his mudra or signature. [4]

True to his Vaishnava heritage and the Thyagaraja shishya parampara to which he belonged, most of his compositions are in praise of Lord Rama. In addition to Kritis and Keertanas, he also composed Varnams, Thillanas, Javalis and slokas. His admiration for the trinity of Carnatic music specially Thyagaraja resulted in Srimadadi Thyagaraja Guruvaram in Kalyani, Shri Ramachandra (a ragamalika) and two other ragamalikas in praise of Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri. Vasudevachar's compositions are thus like sugar candy which gives one instant pleasure and yet lingers on in the mind and heart long after. [5]

Compositions[edit]

Composition Raga Tala Type Language Audio Links
Bhajana Seyarada Sriramuni Dharmavati Rupaka Telugu

Vairamangalam Lakshminarayanan (Part 1) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WNYzUXbe4
Vairamangalam Lakshminarayanan (Part 2) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcS0nExnwHk

Broche Varevaru Ra Kamas Adi Telugu

MS Subbulakshmi - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqd9Pmksx8s
Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2QkYh9Eesc
Bombay Sisters - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHwqrpXxHms

Girija Ramana Natajana Sharana Gambhiranata Adi Sanskrit

Vani Sateesh - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TpEJtzi-aw

Gokula Nilaya Abheri Adi Sanskrit

TM Krishna - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fHEVqhre7o

Mamavatu Sri Saraswati Hindolam Adi Sanskrit

Priya Sisters - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnvGV7GtKlM
Sudha Raghunathan - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_-UV1mLZug

Mari Mari Vaccuna Manava Janma Kambhoji Adi Telugu
Nikela Daya Radu Ramachandra Kadana Kutuhalam Adi Telugu
Nimishamaina Shri Ramayana Rada Sama Adi Telugu
Ninne Nammitinayya Shri RAma Simhendramadhyamam Misra chapu Telugu
Ra Ra Rajeeva Lochana Mohanam Adi Telugu
vara lakshmI Namostuthey Gowrimanohari Rupaka Sanskrit
Sri Chamundeshwari Bilahari Adi Sanskrit
Devi Kamalalaye Garudadhwani Adi Sanskrit

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pranesh, Meera Rajaram (2003), Musical Composers during Wodeyar Dynasty (1638-1947 A.D.), Vee Emm Publications, Bangalore
  2. ^ "musicalnirvana.com". 
  3. ^ "A slice of musical history". The Hindu. 
  4. ^ "The Hindu : Magic of the Mysore musician". 
  5. ^ "Rare composer". The Hindu. 

See also[edit]