Neelakanta Sivan (1839–1900) was a composer of Carnatic music. Although he did not receive any formal musical training, his compositions exhibit deep technical brilliance. Neelakanta Sivan was born in 1839 at Vadiveeswaram, a part of Nagercoil, he stayed at Padmanabhapuram, the capital of the old Travancore.
Neelakanta Sivan showed great promise as a composer even in his childhood. He did not have any practical training in music, but it is believed that his meeting with Kodaganallur Sundaraswamigal changed his life and brought to fore all his musical talents. A village magistrate by profession, which he quit after 15 years, he pursued his passion, music in his spare time by participating in Bhajans and musical concerts.
With over 2,000 compositions to his credit, Neelakanta Dasar (as he called himself) or Neelakanta Sivan (as he came to be known by people who saw the divinity in him), was a prolific composer. His compositions are a lovely confluence of music and lyrics. Neelakanta Sivan visited various temples all over south India and composed songs on the respective deities. His devotion was so renowned that he is even considered to be the 64th Nayanmar of the Saivite tradition. He died at Thruvananthapuram in 1900 . Papanasam Sivan , his principle disciple popularized his compositions.
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