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Individual Issues

Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai
Issue : 26
Published on : November, 1986


Profile :Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai

Ramiah Pillai was born to Parthiban and Bhagyamma on 24 December 1910 in Vazhuvoor. He lost his father when he was quite young and was groomed by his maternal uncle, known as Manicka Nattuvanar, with whom he stayed in Mayavaram (now known as Myladuturai) for some years. He
moved to Madras in 1938, mainly to train actresses to dance in films but he started training Bharatanatyam dancers for the dance theatre also.

Two years from now he will be completing 50 years of service as guru, nattuvanar and choreographer in Madras where his son Vazhuvoor R. Saniraj now presides over the Vazhuvoorar Classical Bharatanatya Art Centre established by the maestro. Ramiah Pillai has travelled all over India conducting recitals of his disciples who include many who have been prominent in the field for many years.

The Bharathi Sangam recognized Ramiah Pillai's patriotism in choreographing and presenting on the dance stage such freedom songs of Subrahmania Bharati as Aaduvome pallu paduvome, when the poet's work had been proscribed by the British. It presented him with a merit certificate and a silver shield..

Music Appreciation Notes by S.Rajam

Varga : Septatonic (Sampuma)
Arohana : Sa-ri-gi-ma-pa-da-ni-sa
Avarohana : Sa-ni-da-pa-ma-gi-ri-sa
Rakti prayoga-s : pa-da-ni-da ; gi-ma-pa-da-ni-da ; ma-gi-gi-ri-ri

Natabhairavi is a suddha madhyama mela raga, the twentieth in Venkatamakhi's scheme. It uses chatusruti rishaba, sadharana gandhara, suddha daivata and kaisiki nishada.

It is not a raga often heard; rather it is a proud parent of more famous progenies.

There are only a few compositions in Natabhairavi in vogue. Among them: Tyagaraja's Chetulara (Telugu); Ramanathapuram Sri- nivasa Iyengar's Parulaseva (Telugu); Papanasam Sivan's Sri Valli Devasenapatey (Tamil); and Balamuralikrishna's Nalina nayana. Click here to read more ...


The Sur Singar Samsad of Bombay is completing 40 years of service to the fine arts this year.

Founded in 1947 by S.K. Patil, who shone first as the mayor of the city and then as a
cabinet minister at the national level, and registered in 1956, it has been honouring artists in the fields of music and dance by awarding titles and fellowships
which signify recognition of their merit and services, and it has been giving encouragement to young artists by featuring them in its sammelans or festivals.

Currently, the Samsad's president is S.N. Wankhede, its director is Brij Narayan and its general secretary V.S. Mani. Click here to read more ...


Ragam-tanam-pallavi is experiencing a resurgence, thanks to the fillip given by the
Pallavi Project of the Sruti Foundation. A good number of musicians are now ffering : pallavi-s in their recitals, although the greater frequency of ragam-tanampallavi has yet to be matched by a more elaborate approach of rendering it, consistent with established requirements.

Many of those who gave recitals in the recently concluded Gokulashtami music festival of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in Madras offered pallavi-s. And then there was a special four-day ragam-tanampallavi series con- ducted by Saraswathi, the sabha with a difference.

The pallavi, also described as manodharma sangita, is-as stated in an earlier article in SRUTI (April 1984)-perhaps the brightest aspect of Carnatic music, since it calls for a high degree of creative skill as well as mastery over rhythm. In contrast to raga alapana, it is measured music; it complements raga elaboration. Click here to read more ...


Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwa Vidyalaya in Khairagarh, M.P., the only university in India solely devoted to classical music and dance studies—and the arts of painting and sculpture—recently organized a seminar on the Old Tradition of Kathak Gurus. The seminar brought into sharp focus the possibility—or rather the probability—that the country will be immensely poorer after the great gurus of the
old tradition participating in it pass on from the scene. They are all, alas, in their seventies already. But the seminar also gave rise to the hope that the country might yet throw up dancers and gurus who, imbibing the best from the old tradition, would be able to preserve and pass on the best of the heritage.

Dr. P.D. Ashirwadam, the Dean and Head of the Dance Department at the university who is known for his outstanding work on the tradition of Raigarh Durbar, succeeded in getting together eight old gurus on one platform for three days. They were : Pandit Gaurishankar (Jaipur), Pandit Chaube Maharaj (Sitara Devi's brother),
Rama Devi (widow of Guru Lachhu Maharaj of the Lucknow gharana), Pandit Kartikram,
Kalyan Mahant, Firtudas Vaishnav, Barmanlal (Raighar Durbar), Guru Ramakrishna Shukla (disciple of Shambhu Maharaj and uncle of Birju Maharaj) and Krishna Maharaj (disciple of Shambhu Maharaj). It was indeed a rare sight to see them demonstrate their art with great Click here to read more ...

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