HomeMusicNagaswaram legend Karukurichi Arunachalam’s trailblazing journey

Nagaswaram legend Karukurichi Arunachalam’s trailblazing journey

N.A.S. Sivakumar’s guide unravels fascinating sides of his persona and music

N.A.S. Sivakumar’s guide unravels fascinating sides of his persona and music

Fifty-eight years have handed since he died, and there will not be many at present who would have listened to him in individual. He was not a politician with a crowd following. Nor was he born right into a group that has a legacy of music. He died when he was solely 44. But the pure magic of nagaswaram maestro Karukurichi P. Arunachalam’s music has survived and captivated folks for over half a century and made his beginning centenary a memorable occasion within the historical past of Carnatic music.

The guide,  Nindrolirum Minnal (A lightning that continues to glitter; Atcharam Pathippagam), by N.A.S. Sivakumar explains what made his music particular and his stature within the Carnatic and movie music world. The guide, a compilation of articles revealed throughout his lifetime and after, provides glimpses into the musical journey of a nagaswaram participant from a small city, who conquered the music world by means of sheer expertise. Within the Nineteen Fifties, he charged Rs. 1,000 for a live performance, and going by the letters he wrote to his mates informing them about his live performance schedule, he appeared to have carried out on nearly all days besides when he was travelling.

Writing a couple of live performance held in Gopalapuram Sangeetha Sabha in 1954, late E. Krishna Iyer had mentioned that “he drowned the rasikas within the flood of music for 4 and half hours.” Arunachalam was accompanied by M. Arunachalam on the nagaswaram and Nachiyarkoil Raghava Pillai on the thavil.

 Karukurichi Arunachalam; with Nachiyarkoil Raghavapillai (particular thavil), Okay.M. Arunachalam (nagaswaram), Ambasamudram Kuzhandhaivel, and Perumpallam Venkatesapillai (thavil)
| Picture Credit score: From the guide ‘Nindrolirum Minnal’

“They painted the fantastic thing about ragas corresponding to Bhairavam, Husseini, Pantuvarali, and Kalyani. Every phrase and fantastic thing about Kalyani raga kriti, ‘Ethavunara’ deserves one lakh rupee,” wrote Krishna Iyer.

Karukurichi Arunachalam appeared to have achieved what the nagaswaram gamers of the composite Thanjavur district couldn’t. He was fortunate to have Thiruvavaduthurai Rajarathinam Pillai as his instructor and accompanied him for a few years. “Some fifty Arunachalams got here to me as college students. Solely this Arunachalam has change into my inheritor,” clarinet participant A.Okay.C. Natarajan has recalled Rajarathinam Pillai as saying.

Imbibed his guru’s type

Whereas he imbibed the type of rendering raga elaborately from his instructor, his type of taking part in keerthanas had the contact of each nice vocalist, significantly G.N. Balasubramaniam. The keerthana, ‘Kandan karunai puriyum vadivel’, popularised by Mani Iyer assumed a brand new dimension when he performed it on the nagaswaram. ‘Thamarai pootha thadakamadi’ is one other tune. Sri Lankan Tamil author A. Muthulingam has narrated an incident, how he and his good friend went from one live performance to a different to report the tune. His good friend favored the tune, as a result of the face of his girlfriend, who would at all times be morose, would mild up when he rendered the tune.

An necessary side of the guide is the images collected by Sivakumar. The personalities seen with Karukurichi Arunachalam clarify his shut relationship with politicians, movie actors, industrialists and different personalities. There’s a {photograph} of Kamaraj sitting on the dais with him on the Congress convention in Chennai. He performed in Delhi and acquired a memento from Jawaharlal Nehru. President S. Radhakrishnan attended his live performance throughout his go to to the Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai. Puttaparthi Sai Baba had visited Kovilpatti on his request.

Arunachalam shared a particular bond with N.S. Krishnan, Sivaji Ganesan, and Gemini Ganesan, who alongside together with his spouse, sponsored and unveiled the nagaswaram vidwan’s statue in Kovilpatti.

Gemini Ganesan and Sivaji Ganesan with Arunachalam

Gemini Ganesan and Sivaji Ganesan with Arunachalam
| Picture Credit score: From the guide ‘Nindrolirum Minnal’

Actor T.S. Balaiah was additionally near him. His daughter Ambujam recollects that her father, overwhelmed by his taking part in at her sister’s marriage, eliminated the ring, studded with 13 treasured stones, from his finger and offered it to Arunachalam.

Whereas the Gemini Ganesan-starrer  Konjum Salangai, that includes the tune ‘Singaravelane deva’ turned a sensation, he couldn’t play within the movie  Thillana Mohanambal, with Sivaji Ganesan within the lead position, as a result of he was not alive when the movie was made. There’s a image of each Sivaji and Gemini holding nagaswarams and posing for {a photograph} with Arunachalam. The guide additionally carries an interview of singer S. Janaki, during which she reveals that she and Arunachalam recorded individually for ‘Singaravelane deva’. “They recorded his portion first. Later I listened to it sporting an earphone and rendered my portion in tune with the lilting and mellifluous sruthi.”

Two articles by writers Ki. Rajanarayanan, and Ku. Alagirisami, the childhood mates of Arunachalam, make the guide a collector’s merchandise.

Nevertheless it was DMK founder and late Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai’s obituary that sums up Karukurichi Arunachalam’s greatness. “Right now I don’t really feel like studying something. I used to be discussing with mates his nice qualities,” he wrote on the maestro’s premature demise, leaving a sense of what might need been if he had lived longer.

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