Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar (1890–1967) or more popularly simply called as Ariyakudi was born in Ariyakudi a town in the Karaikudi district of Tamil Nadu, South India in the year 1890. Ariyakudi was a Carnatic Music vocalist and is known for his unique style. He made his debut at Tyagaraja Aradhana in 1918. His unique style of singing came to be known as The Ariyakudi Tradition and is followed by his students.

Ariyakudi learnt under Pudukottai Malayappa Iyer and Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar in his early years.Later he learnt for several years under Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar who was the senior most disciple of Patnam Subramania Iyer.

Elegance was the watchword in Ariyakkudi's style and manner of presentation. "Never known to be a vulgarian," said The Hindu, "Sri Ariyakkudi could never descend even in his selection of pieces in the last part of the concert." The music of Ariyakkudi was marked according to the tribute by "raga alapanas just right, kirtana renderings in excellent bhani, swara singing in two tempos to impeccable kalapramana, all these flowed with effortless ease and the middle of the road listener joined the connoisseur in identifying and enjoying the music." In the laya department also Ariyakkudi was known for his balance. "He had no use for arithmetical feats... but was blessed with an extraordinary sarvalaghu suddha which uniformly adorned his swara singing. His niraval and pallavi singing were full of grace, depth and life." Those who have heard recordings of Ariyakkudi render the famed four raga pallavi "Azhaithodi Vaadi... " have never ceased to marvel at the felicity with which he moved from raga to raga.

Given all these qualities and added to them a voice rich in timbre, it was no wonder that this musician ruled the roost right through life.

With Palghat Mani Iyer, the Mridangam maestro, he formed a formidable partnership on the concert platform and a remarkable friendship born out of mutual respect.Palghat Mani Iyer is to have said Anaa (Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar) and Iyengarval (Ariyakudi) are like my two eyes.

Ariyakudi's famous disciples include K V Narayanaswamy, B Rajam Iyer, Alappuzha Venkatesan and Madurai N Krishnan.

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