72 Melakarta compositions
of Koteeswara Iyer
Koteeswara Iyer was the inheritor of
a rich musical heritage. He was the grandson of Kavi Kunjara Bharati, a
contemporary of the Trinity and the author of many popular musical and devotional
lyrics. Koteeswara Iyer composed mainly in Tamil and used the mudra Kavi
Kunjara Dasan as a tribute to his grandfather. Koteeswara Iyer was the first
one to compose separate songs in Tamil in all the 72 Melakarta incorporating
the raga mudra in each one of them, which blended smoothly with the lyrics.
His contribution to the illustration of vivadhi ragas is invaluable. All
the songs are dedicated to his kuladeivam (family deity), Muruga and hence
titled Kanda Ganamudam. The songs are highly poetic and are adorned with
swarakshara sandhi-s, beautiful sangatis, replete with raga bhava and depth.
Vivadi ragas are difficult to handle. But Koteeswara Iyer, not only composed
his Melaraga kritis but also demonstrated and popularized them. Many ragas
have acquired a distinct structure through these compositions.
In the field of music, S. Rajam is an unparalleled authority on Vivadi ragas
and has done much to popularize Koteeswara Iyer's kritis. He has the distinction
of being the only musician to have sung all the 72 compositions of Kanda
Ganamutham, most of the kritis being accompanied by Raga, Niraval and Kalpana
swaras. This product is a ready encyclopedia for students of music to get
an in depth knowledge of the melodic structure of Melakartha Ragas. S.Rajam
is a multifaceted genius with creative talents in a variety of fields such
as music, musicology, classical painting and acting. It is a rare combination
of talents that has made S.Rajam the phenomenon that he is today. He has
immensely contributed to enrich our cultural heritage for over six decades.