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|ARUNACHALA KAVI (1711 - 1788)|
Arunachala Kavi was well versed in Tamil, Sanskrit and Telugu,
but his musical training is unknown.
Region: He was born in Tillaiyadi in Tanjavur district, Tamilnadu.
Contribution: He is the author of Rama Natakam, the first musical drama in Tamil. This drama is an example of where one person writes the lyrics and another composes the music. In this case, Kavirayar wrote the lyrics and the music was composed by two of his disciples, Kothandarama Iyer and Venkatarama Iyer. This work deals with the epic, Ramayana, in the form of Daru (a story-song used in music and dance dramas) and verses. The songs contain many Tamil proverbs and sayings. That the choice of the ragas is in perfect consonance with the sentiments expressed in the songs, is what makes this an outstanding piece of work.
This musical drama was first performed at the Srirangam temple and within a short time, it became very popular. Kavirayar was honoured not only by Maharaja Tulaja, the King of Tanjore, but several other patrons of that time. He has also composed Seergazhi Sthala Puranam, Seergazhi Kovai, Hanumar Pillai Tamil, Ajomukhi Natakam and a few Keertanas.
Theme: Since he composed musical dramas, the theme was relevant to the story.
Language used: Tamil.
Popular Compositions: Yaro ivar yaro (Saveri, but more popular in Bhairavi), Kanden Kanden Sitayai (Vasanta), Ramanai Kannara Kandane (Mohanam) etc from Ramanatakam.
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