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Alathoor Vijayakumar first learnt to play the Vina from his sister Sumitramma and later under his Guru, Sri Venkataramayya, who gave him a very good foundation in the theory of music. For a short while he also learnt under the renowned Vainika, Chittibabu. However he could not take up music as a career due to other  commitments. 

It was in 1985 that Vijayakumar started promoting experienced and new artistes through concerts. The biggest of them was D K Jayaraman's Navavarana kriti presentation at Narada Gana Sabha to an over-crowded hall.

Vijayakumar started the now-popular Kalavardhani cassettes in 1993. His first composition "Sankara Gurum" in Raga Sankarapriya was composed in 1994. As on date he has composed about 80 songs, of which several are in new ragas. While most of the ragas have been taken from Nadamuni's treatise, "Sangeeta Swaraprastara Sagara", he also has discovered some ragas like Gayatri and Balamurali. Fourteen of his compositions in such new ragas have been compiled in cassette as well as CD format. (REC183 - Apoorva Raga Manjari)

Other contributions:

  • Institution of the Sahitya Priya award, through Jan Kalyan.
  • Publication of several books like (a) Melakarta Chart (b) Applied Chandas for vocalists, which would help them with their pronunciation in alien languages.
  • Fundamental research in various aspect of music, which has resulted in publication and application of the following:
  1. Mathematical appreciation of Sruti bhedam (Note: This will appear in Carnatica in the month of January with audio samples).
  2. Development of mathematical formula for assessing the vocabulary of vaggeyakkara-s.
  3. Derivation of Algebraic formula for determining the relationship between laya and sahitya in Carnatic music. 
  4. Development of Sadesa Swara Ragamalika and recording it in cassette format. 

About Apoorva Raga Manjari:

It contains fourteen songs, the details and audio samples of which are given here:

  1. Sringara Ganapate: This is a Narma stuti (humorous prayer) song in which Lord Vinayaka is treated as a Sringara nayaka. This is justified by the fact that Dikshitar referred to Vinayaka as Vallabha Nayaka. Vinayaka is also believed to have Siddhi and Buddhi as his two wives. Audio Sample
  2. Sankara Guruve is a song on Sri Jayendra Saraswati of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, with references to the Paramacharya, Sri Chandrasekhara Saraswati and Sri Vijayendra Saraswati also. This was Vijayakumar's first full-fledged composition and happens to be the theme song for Jan Kalyan too. Audio Sample
  3. Rama Ravikula contains the Sampoorna Ramayana. Audio Sample
  4. Prasantinilaya is on Satya Sai Baba. There is a sloka in Sanskrit that contains guidelines for composers as to where in an octave should a song start to set the right mood. This song is a successful experiment to prove that for shanta rasa, it will be right to start with Panchama. Audio Sample
  5. Bhanupriyasini is a sthala purana kriti on Goddess Saraswati, whose only temple is in Otta Koottanur. It is also an experiment which proves beautiful music can be produced out of a raga which is a janya of a totally Vivadi swara raga. Also, Bhanupriya has no swaras in the uttaranga (latter half of the raga scale). This situation is used to advantage in describing a mute poet getting his voice and starting to praise the Goddess . Click for Audio Sample
  6. Sri Hanumanta is the first ever kriti in praise of Nanganallur Hanuman. Raga Tapasvini sung with a Hindustani touch in a slow pace makes the song apt for the awe-inspiring idol of Lord Hanuman. Audio Sample
  7. Madhavo Madhava addresses Lord Ayyappa in a new name of the same phrase which means son of Vishnu and Siva. Audio Sample
  8. Raga Anchanavati is ideal as an early morning raga, and the song Meluka in it is on Goddess Meenakshi. Audio Sample
  9. Devasenapate is a kriti on Lord Muruga at the shrine in Swamimalai. Audio Sample
  10. In the song Ramachandra, the Pallavi uses rhyming samyuktakshara-s to bring out the beauty of Sanskrit. Audio Sample
  11. Adigitina is a vanchana stuti geetam (getting a boon from God by deceitful praise). It is  composed in proper Gamakakriya (Gamakakriya is often rendered as Poorvikalyani). Audio Sample
  12. Tyagaraya nagara is in praise  of Lord Venkateswara at the TTD Temple in T Nagar, Chennai. Audio Sample
  13. Haripriye is a song on Goddess Lakshmi. Audio Sample
  14. Prasiddhi Gananatham is in praise of Patala Vinayaka of the Kalahistiswara temple. Audio Sample

Note: All the above ragas are taken from Nadamuni Pandita's "Sangeeta Swara Prastara Sagaram" published in 1914.

For further details, contact:

Alathoor Vijayakumar,
40, Sri Venkatesa Perumal Nagar,
Chennai 600 106, India.
Telephone: (44) 475 3499


Posted on 30th November 2001


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