Galaxy of Composers

Musical Background: As a boy, Viswanathan devoted more time to music than to his studies. He imbibed the taste for music from his mother. He had a high-pitched voice and sang with lakshya gnana. The burning desire in him to become a full-fledged musician made him approach Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar. He also had training under Kasavadyam Venkatarama Iyengar of Devakottai and afterward under Simizhi Sundaram Iyer. From an early age, Viswanathan had a gift for composing songs.

Region: Viswanatha Sastri was born in Terezhundur near Mayuram in 1893.

Contribution: In 1926, Kadalangudi Natesa Sastri published Viswanatha Sastri's first book 'Valli Parinaya Manipravala Satakam'. In 1993, Swami Balananda Saraswati of Kadirgamam, highly impressed with the devotional character of his songs, helped him in publishing the book, 'Murugan Pugazhmalai'. He also gave him the title of 'Kantam', the catchword of the song 'Kantamam Kadirgamantannilor'. In 1940, he published the book 'Murugan Madura Keertanai' consisting of 60 songs on Lord Muruga with swara-notation. The first group of 22 songs 'Gana Nadaippattugal' is in ghana ragas like Todi and Bhairavi with lot of sangatis in each.

He was the first person to set the Tirukkural verses to music and published the first volume of 41 songs with swara-notation and notes in 'Arathuppal' calling it 'Tirukkural Madhura Keertanai'.

Theme: Devotional, in praise of Lord Muruga (Subramanya).

Language used: Tamil.

Signature: Many of his songs bear the mudra Viswam and a few Vedapuri, after the name of the deity of his birthplace.

Popular composition: Jayati Jayati Bharata mata in Khamas.


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