Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar (1890– January 23, 1967[1]), popularly known as Ariyakudi, was a Carnatic usic vocalist, born in Ariyakudi, a town in the Karaikudi district, present-day Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu. Ariyakudi developed a unique style of singing which came to be known as The Ariyakudi Tradition and is followed by his students. He established the modern katcheri (concert) traditions in Carnatic music.[2]

The doyen of Carnatic music, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, is known to have remarked, "I was greatly influenced by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. I do not want another life. But if there is one, I want to be able to sing like Ramanuja Iyengar".[3] And another maestro, G N Balasubramaniam, a contemporary of Ariyakudi, is known to have prostrated in front of him out of respect. With Palghat Mani Iyer, the mridangam maestro, he formed a formidable partnership on the concert platform and a friendship born out of mutual respect.[4] Palghat Mani Iyer is reported to have said, "Anaa (Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar) and Iyengarval (Ariyakudi) are like my two eyes".

In 1954, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama. This was followed by Padma Bhushan by Government of India in 1958.[5]

Early life and background

Ariyakudi was born in Ariyakudi, a town in the Karaikudi district, present-day Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, South India, in the year 1890. He studied under Pudukottai Malayappa Iyer and Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar in his early years. Later he studied for several years under Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar, who was the senior most disciple of Patnam Subramania Iyer.


He made his debut at Tyagaraja Aradhana in 1918.


Ariyakudi's famous disciples include K V Narayanaswamy, B Rajam Iyer, Alappuzha Venkatesan and Madurai N Krishnan.




  1. Sangeeta Sangadhigal - 28 (Tamil)
  2. Lakshmi Subramanian (1 January 2008). New Mansions for Music: Performance, Pedagogy and Criticism. Berghahn Books. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-81-87358-34-3. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  3. Semmangudi's comments on Ariyakudi - Frontline Interview
  4. THE WONDER BOX - An article by Allepey P Venkatesan on Ariyakudi and Palghat Mani Iyer
  5. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  6. "Sangita Kalanidhi recipients". Madras Music Academy website.
  7. "SNA: List of Akademi Awardees". Sangeet Natak Akademi Official website. Archived from the original on 2016-03-31.
  8. "SNA: List of Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna Puraskarwinners (Akademi Fellows)". SNA Official website. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  10. "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2009)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-10.

External links

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