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|PAIDALA GURUMURTI SASTRI (17th century)|
Musical Background: Gurumurti Sastri imbibed music from Venkatasubbayya. That he had unbounded love and devotion towards his preceptor, is evident from one of his Gita-s in Nata raga, where he refers to his guru as 'Gana Vidyadurandhara'.
Region: He was born in Kayatar, a village in Tirunelveli district and his family-name (inti-peru) was Paidala, to which he refers in two of his Gitas in Nata and Arabhi ragas. He was a younger contemporary of Ramaswamy Dikshitar.
Contribution: Gurumurti Sastri was a prolific composer. He composed Lakshana Gitas to illustrate the characteristic features of Janaka and Janya ragas, giving the Varja, Vakra, Graha, Nyasa and Amsa swaras. Sastri is the one of the first to attempt Gitas in praise of an Acharya or guru. Besides, Gurumurti had also composed fine kritis in rakti ragas. He played an important role in laying the foundation for making Madras an important seat of Carnatic music. He was a lakshya-lakshana Vidwan and was referred to as 'Veyigita Paidala Gurumurti' i.e. one who composed a thousand gitas, and 'naluvadi vela ragala', i.e., one who has knowledge of 40,000 ragas. He had commendable scholarship in the Sastras and was acknowledged as one of the renowned Vaggeyakaras of his times. Further, he refers to himself as 'Ghana naya desya samsthapanacharya' (one who systematized the ghana-naya and desya margas), 'Sastrajna' (master of the science of music), 'raga bheda dureena' (highly proficient in the science of raga and its varieties) and 'gita sastra parina'.
Theme: We can infer from the Sahitya of his compositions that his 'Ishtadevata' was Lord Rama. He has also sung on Krishna and Siva.
Languages used: Sanskrit and Telugu.
Signature: He signed his compositions with the mudra Gurumurti.
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