Galaxy of Composers
NEELAKANTA SIVAN (1839-1900)
background: Neelakanta Sivan, named Subramanya by his parents showed
great promise as a composer even in his childhood, being very sharp and
intelligent. He did not have any practical training in music, but it is
believed that his meeting with Kodaganallur Sundaraswamigal changed his
life and brought to fore all his musical talents. A village magistrate
by profession, which he quit after 15 years, he pursued his passion,
music in his spare time by participating in Bhajans which he later led.
Region: He hailed from Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district, Tamilnadu.
Contribution: With over 2,000 compositions to his credit, Neelakanta Dasar (as he called himself) or Neelakanta Sivan (as he came to be known by people who saw the divinity in him), was a prolific composer. His compositions are a lovely confluence of music and lyrics. His first outpourings came in the form of 10 stanzas known as Tiruneelakanta Dasakam. He has also composed other works like Anandavalli Satakam, Anandavalli Ashtakam and Anandavalli Chandam, in praise of Godess Anandavalli and Tiruneelakanta Bodham on the deity at Vadiveeswaram. Neelakanta Sivan visited various temples all over south India and composed songs on the respective deities. His devotion was so renowned that he is even considered to be the 64th Nayanmar of the Saivite tradition.
Being a great devotee that he was, he could foresee his end and attained samadhi at Tiruvanantapuram in 1900. But before that, he was bestowed several honours by the kings of several kingdoms. One of his prominent disciples was Papanasam Sivan, who was first inspired by his Bhajans. Papanasam Sivan popularised several of Neelakanta Sivan's compositions and also composed prolifically in his guru's style.
Signature: He used the mudra Neelakanta.
Language used: Tamil.
Theme: Devotion or bhakti.
Popular compositions: Anandanatamaduvar (Poorvikalyani), Sambhomahadeva (Bowli), Navasiddhi pettralum (Kharaharapriya), Enraikku sivakripai (Mukhari) etc.
|Galaxy of composers||Pre-trinity composers|
|Trinity and contemporaries||Living composers|