T.K. Govinda Rao, who hails from a family of musicians, is a leading vocalist of Indian classical Karnatak Music. In 1949 he joined the then Central College of Karnatak Music at Madras where, under the care of great musicians like Tiuppampuram Swaminatha Pillai and Smt. T.Brinda, he completed the course of ‘Sangita Vidvan,’
Govinda Rao was fortunate to have, as his Guru, the founder Principal Padma vibhushan, Sangita Kalanidhi, Sri Musiri Subrahmanya ayyar, the doyon of Karnatak Music. A rigorous GURU KULAVASA- training spread over for fifteen years followed by years of close association with his GURU marks him as a faithful representative of the MUSIRI style of Bhava- laden rendering of Krits.
A career that spanned over five decades brought him assignments such as Lecture, Tamizh Nadu Govt. Music College, Madras; Producer- Music- All India Radio, Madras and finally Chief Producer – Music in the Directorate- General, All India Radio, New Delhi, In addition, he has been associated with the Music Academy Madras, as a member of the Advisory Committee; Central Sangit Natak Academy and ICCR as also with the Universities of Benaras, Delhi, Madras, Annamalai, Bangalore and Telugu University in various capacities.
All these assignments, however, did not deter him from his prime vocation as a Vocalist and teacher that took him over the years all over India and abroad- Sri-lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, USA, Canada and Muscat where he taught hundreds of students. Titles like Sangita cudamani, Sangita Sastra Ratnakara, Ganakalatilaka, Nadakkanal, Svara Samrat and Sangita Acarya, besides the Akademi Award from the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, The National Academi of Music, Dance and Drama has been conferred on him for his contribution to the field of Karnatak Music.
As the renowned senior music-critic, Sri P.N. Krishnamurthy, quoted by the well- known music Magazine Sruti, says ”TKG is a veteran of the old school who has played a prominent role in the preservation of all that is precious in the truly classical rendition of Karnatak Music”.
A major facet of his activity over the years is connected with composing tunes and editing works of distinction. These include compositions of Purandara Dasa, Tamizh songs of Periyasamy Thooran, “Varnamanjari” of 42 Tana varnas and 8 Pdavarnas of famous composers with notation in diacritical Roman script, selected volumes of Tyagaraja also Tamizh transliteration of semmangudi Srinivasa iyer’s Sri Tyagaraja’s Ghanaraga Pancaratna krtis from Malayalam.
To promote the time tested oral traditions of classical Karnatak music, he has founded a body named “GANA MANDIR TRUST” that enrolls members with the object of publishing works on music, producing audio cassettes, organizing seminars and workshops on Music in India and elsewhere and provide them free to the donor- members.
TKG’s earlier book ‘Compositions of Tyagaraja’ is the first of its kind to the world of music. By bringing out the books now on Dikshitar and Syama Sastri, he fulfills a widely expressed need of many music livers, disciples and students of Music in India and abroad. Presented in comprehensive volumes on a common script that would help to bridge, not only the language barrier but also the generation gap, while preserving the essence and identity of the original that remain characteristically and traditionally Indian.
The Trinity viz. Syama Sastri, Tyagaraja and Muddusvami Dikshitar are great saints. The heights that Karnatak Music has scaled today is certainly due to their compositions and it is our responsibility to preserve these precious works for the generations to come.
I have great pleasure In writing this foreword for many reasons. Importantly, through these publications, Tyagaraja, Muddusviimi Dikshitar and Syama Sastri are made accessible to all round the world.
The author Vidwan T.K Govinda Rao is known to me from the time he was under the tutelage of my revered and intimate friend, Sangita Kalanidhi, Padmabhushan Shri Musiri Subrahmanya Iyer. I have no doubt in his virtuosity as, a well-integrated musician and able teacher. I can see the marathon effort behind these publications of Sri Tyagaraja, Sri Muddusvami Dikshitar, and Sri Syama Sastri; of all their available compositions in three different volumes published in both Devanagari and Diacritical Roman scripts with SRGM notations in Roman script which is, thus, readable by all throughout the world In all the three volumes, the mood of each composition is well portrayed in the commentaries. I am sure that these books will be a precious collection for each and every individual who respects traditional South Indian Classical Music.
It is gratifying to note that the funding for this project is donated mostly by a handful of music lovers and students of TKG who are the members of Ganamandir Trust, mainly from outside India (a majority of which are from Pittsburgh, USA) as well as from India.
May the Trinity shower their bountiful blessings on TKG for this commendable contribution to the world of music, useful now and forever in the field of Karnatak Music.
"Our law and politics, our arts and sciences, our manners and morals are derived from our fundamental faith, which makes for the spiritual unify of any community... There Is a moral lam which governs the rise and fall of nations. Adherence to the moral law of Dharma elevates a nation: non-adherence 10 If degrades It. If we are to progress we must adopt the path of virtue ... we have bad in our country from time to time of the RGVEDA down to our own days a long line of torch bearers who stress the primacy of spiritual values" ... Dr. S. Radhakrishna.
This fabric of spiritual unity, from time to time, is reinforced by the presence and influence of poets, philosophers and saint-singers whose contributions have upheld this faith. Among the great composers of South Indian classical music the Trinity of Karnatak-music viz: TYAGARAJA, MUDDUSVAMl DIKSHIT A and SYAMA SASTRI rank supreme over all other composers of all times. This is because they were not only great masters of the art of music but were great saints leading a virtuous life of pure devotion and renunciation.
With infinite poeitic imagination as well as sheer simplicity of expression, TYAGARAJA has composed his music. His work reflect the ardent outpouring of an intense urge of his own to merge with RAMA,his personal deity. His compositions are steep in BHAKTI RASA.
The compositions of MUDDUSVAMI DIKSHITA shows structural magnificence, tightness in the alignment of SAHITY A and rhythm. The unique feature is that, he has composed songs in praise of various deities with full details of the STHALAPURANA. Above all, he has composed Krtis in all the 72 Melakarta scales by converting them into RAGA by suitable combinations of Arohana and Avarohana in accordance to its Vadi Semvadi bhava.
Whereas, in the compositions of SYAMA SASTRI, the major theme is the affection and love of a child in a simple direct language to the mother - AMBA . Further, he has been able to widen the scope of exposition of the RAGAs by creating a zooming effect; which can be discerned in his SVARAJATls. The ingenious way in which he entwines Ragabhava with Sahitya into a grip of intricate patterns of Laya is a class by itself; which, in turn, exposes a new dimension of the same Raga to the listener s and at the same time rejuvenates the experienced musicians.
In the compositions of SUBRAYA SASTRI and ANNASVAMI SASTRI, we experience the quintessence of the musical values of the TRINITY.
As the Sangita Pitamaha Padmavibhushan ,Sanglta Kalanidhi Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer mentioned in his blessings to this book in the form of a Foreword that," The heights that Karnatak Music has scaled to day Is certainly due to the compositions of the Trinity ... through these publications Trinity of Karnatak music viz: TYAGARAJA - DIKSHITA and SYAMA SASTRI are made accessible to all round the world”.
We have imbibed this great oral traditions through GURUKULA VASA from our great masters. There are but a few amongst us who have had the privilege of GURUKULA VASA under our great masters of Karnatak music.
My Guru, Padmabhushan Sangita kalanidhi Sri Musiri Subrahmanya Iyer, had he been alive would have turned a centenarian now. My close association of about 27 years from 1948 to 1975 with him had had a great impact and influence in me not only in music but also in all walks of my life. It is that powerful spirit within me, which inspires and influences all my activities. The result is, that I have been able to bring out all the, so -far -available compositions of Trinity viz: Tyagaraja, Muddusvami Dikshitar and this book' Compositions of Syama Sastri(and his son & grandson viz: Subraya Sastri & Annasvami Sastri respectively) in three seperate volumes, in the scripts Devanagan' and diacritical Roman script, there by readable by all over India and abroad ,to propagate the great heritage of our time -tested oral traditions of south Indian classical music to have a world wide acceptence.
I believe, it is the bounden duty of learned musicians to nurture and propagate Karnatak music in it's traditional, prestine form. They must derive the courage of conviction from within to avoid diluting influences.
North Indian Music (285)
Original Texts (60)
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