Carnatic Postage Stamp6

Besides the portrait of Ariyakudi, the commemorative stamp also depicts two famous shrines spiritually and professionally close to Ariyakudi. One is the Samadhi of the great composer Saint Thyagaraja at Thiruvaiyar, a center of great tradition where Ariyakudi contributed substantially in many ways. The second is the temple of Andal, an Alwar of Vaishnavite Philosophy who was worshipped as the mother-goddess. Ariyakudi set to music and unfailingly presented in his concerts Her Thiruppavai, the best known of her devotional songs.

Ariyakudi, as he was affectionately called, was a singer and teacher par excellence of our times, and also a composer – “a Titan in the World of Karnatic Music” as described by President R. Venkataraman. After his early training and later rigorous tutelage for 11 long years under Ramanathapuram (Poochi) Srinivasa Iyengar, Ariyakudi commenced his long and distinguished musical career when he was 24. He was essentially a traditionalist; where he innovated, he gave tradition a new dimension. He sang in a solid virile style mostly in madhyamakala, or middle tempo which was his forte although he was fully in command over the leisurely Vilambakala style. The creative aspect of his music was a tribute to his originality and genius, and it brought out the limitless potential inherent in the raga system of Karnatic music. He gave his own distinctive singing format and style to the compositions of, not only the great composers like Purandaradasa, the musical trinity etc. but also the later composers, and his style now pervades like fragrance inspiring successive musical generations. He pioneered and introduced the Kacheri paddhati or the concert tradition to the Karnatic style, bringing classical music nearer home to one and all.

Ariyakudi was the recipient of many honours. The Music Academy of Madras conferred on him the title of Sangitakalanidhi in 1938. The Maharajah of Mysore conferred on him the title of Gayakasikhamani in 1946. The first National (Presidential) Award for music was conferred on him in 1952.