Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Purandara dasa aaradhana

Today it is something on the valour of Chozha dynasty which ruled Tamilnadu and extended its kingdom in a big way.  It has great marine connection as the adventuristic dynasty had a well organised naval unit which helped them conquer far off islands.

If you are a Carnatic music aficionado – you sure would have heard “Gaja vadana  bēḍuve gauri tanaya’ a kannada composition hailing Vinayaka as the elephant faced Lord.  

Today commemorates the Aradhana (Sanskrit word meaning an act of glorification) of its composer who lived in 15th century.  One of the most prominent composers, he is widely regarded as ‘father of carnatic music.  He signed his compositions with mudra (pen name), "Purandara Vittala" - about 1000 of his songs are extant.  He is hailed as first to include comments on ordinary daily life in song compositions. He used elements of colloquial language for his lyrics. He introduced folk ragas into the mainstream, setting his lyrics to tunes/ragas of his day so that even a common man could learn and sing them

If you still have not guessed it is “Purandara dhasa” who by some accounts was born in Shivamogga district of Karnataka to Varadappa Nayaka and Leelavathi and was named after the Lord of Seven hills.    He was rich but realised the futility of material wealth and wandered.  He travelled extensively in Vijayanagara empire rendering soul stirring songs praising God.  He spent his last years in Hampi.  He is credited to have systematized the method of teaching carnatic music and of having introduced ‘mayamalavagowla’ raaga as the basic scale for music instruction.   He introduced folk ragas into the main stream.  He enormously influenced carnatic music as also hindustani music.  Tansen’s teacher Swami Haridas was Purandara’s disciple. 

Somehow, the telegu compositions of Thiagaraja are more popular than kannada renderings.

Regards – S Sampathkumar.

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