1 Jan 2021, while whole world was celebrating the new year, the Carnatic music fraternity was busy celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of Sangeetha Ratna Shri T Chowdiah.
An obedient student, a virtuoso musician, an innovator, a rebel and a kind human are few of the adjectives attributed to him.
Hailing from a small village called Tirumakoodalu in Mysore district, he reached the heights with extreme dedication and hardship.
Training under a tuff task master Shri. Bidaram Krishnappa, he had a very disciplined daily routine. Waking up at 4am no matter what, practicing for 8 to 10 hours a day, physical exercise for fitness etc., were part of his daily routine. Matching the master, he was so dedicated and determined that he gave his performance barely after 1 year of lessons in the Gurukula. Despite his achievements in the later times, he attributes the “Chowdiah” that he became, entirely to his guru Shri. Krishnappa.
The legend is commemorated already by the Karnataka government with a violin shaped auditorium in Bangalore called “Chowdiah Memorial Hall”. But unfortunately not enough literature is available on this magnanimous person for the youngsters to learn about him and perhaps follow his foot steps.
It is not an easy task to bring out a comprehensive work on such a legend. But Dr. T.C Poornima, the grand daughter of Chowdiah took on her, this humongous responsibility. She conducted an extensive research work gathering huge volumes of authentic information about the legend from various sources. The source of information includes not just the documents from archives, but also personal interviews of stalwart musicians, columnists, authors and of course music lovers. As a result of this tireless effort, the book “Naada Nakshatra – Sangeetha Ratna Sri Piteelu T. Chowdiah” takes birth.
An event was organised on the 16th January 2021, to launch this book on the legend at Mysore by the Hampi University and Mysore T Chowdiah Trust.
The event was graced by many dignitaries including the scion of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom Shri. Yaduveera K.C. Wodeyar and the MP of Mandya, Smt. Sumalatha Ambareesh
It is to be noted that, Smt. Sumalatha is the grand-daughter-in-law of Shri Chowdiah. A popular multi-lingual film star herself, holds high regards for the art in general and to Shri. Chowdiah in particular.
The book was released by Shri. Yaduveera Wodeyar.
Speaking on the occasion, the scion remembered his ancestors and their rich patronage to art and music. He also spoke about his knowledge on the contributions of Shri. Chowdiah to the field of Carnatic music.
Further Smt. Sumalatha addressed the gathering and stressed on the importance of knowing such personalities and learning from their achievements. Having realised that there is no monument for Chowdiah in Mysore, she promised to urge the government to rename the Mysore Kalamandira with the name of Shri Chowdiah.
Gubbigudu Ramesh presented the review on the book. He grabbed the attention of the audience by highlighting the important aspects and anecdotes from the book in a very humorous way.
Few other dignitaries addressed the gathering before the curtain was drawn.
19th January marks the death anniversary of Shri. Chowdiah. Every year “Mysore T Chowdiah Trust” run by the family members, honours a virtuoso artist with title. This year on 19th Jan 2021, Shri Mysore M Nagaraj was honoured with the title “Dhanurveena Brahma” in presence of a big virtuoso gathering.
The event was followed by a brilliant concert by Mysore brothers “Shri. Mysore Nagaraj & Dr. Mysore Manjunath”. They were accompanied by Shri. Arjun Kumar on Mridangam and Shri. Bangalore Amrith on Khanjira.
Concert started off with a composition of Tyagarajar, “Makelara Vicaramu” in the raga “Ravichandrike” followed by another Kriti in Ananda Bhairavi.
The main item of the concert was a Raaga – Taana – Pallavi in Brindavana Saranga. Audience were spellbound by the tani avartanam presented by the percussionists subsequently.
With the curtains falling after the concert, 125th birth anniversary celebrations came to an end.
Watch this space to know more about the book “Naada Nakshatra” by Dr. T.C Poornima.