Page History: Her Father

Compare Page Revisions

« Older Revision - Back to Page History - Newer Revision »

Page Revision: 2013/09/17 15:31

Song is uploaded on : esnips ganammusic

Late Sri V.Lakshminarayana Iyer

Song: Sri Janaki

Song: Rara seetha

The immortal legend

There have been several luminaries in the firmament of music who have contributed immensely for the development of music. One such multi-faceted personality was Prof. V. Lakshminarayana Iyer - a Vocalist, Violinist, Performer, Composer, Musicologist and a Teacher par excellence.

Lakshminarayan was born to Sri. Vaidyanathan Iyer and Smt. V.Brehannayaki on January 11th,1911 in Allepey, Kerala corresponding to the Tamil month of Margazhi, in the Sadarana Varusham of the Tamil year. He was born as a third child (the eldest son) in a family of eight children in the Uthiradam Nakshatram belonging to the Meena Rasi and came of the Clan of Bharadwaja belonging to the Bharadwaja Gotram.

Musical Odessey

Laksminarayana had the opportunity of being the disciple of Gopala Bhagavathar, a renowned musician of his times. Gopala Bhagavathar was a disciple of Parameshwara Bhagavathar , a chief court musician in the Royal court of Maharajah Swati Tirunal at Travancore. Lakshminarayana, who was blessed with a melodious voice, had a natural passion for music since his childhood and usec to often sing at his leisure. On one such occasion, Gopala Bhagavathar heard him sing and was highly impressed with little Lakshminarayanas ability. Hence he offered to teach him. Thus began an eternal musical bondage between them.

Marriage with Seethalakshmi

When Laksminarayana Iyer was 22 he married S. Seethalakshmi who was 13 then. Seethalakshmi was herself a Vocalist and a Vainika.


The musical couple had three daughters and three sons L.Brehannayaki, L. Subbulakshmi., L.Vaidyanathan. L.Ganasarawathy, L.Subramaniam and L.Shankar.


Professor in Jafna College

V.Lakshminarayana Iyer was commissioned as a Professor of Music in Jafna College, Ceylon hence his family migrated to Sri. Lanka for sometime. He trained his daughters and his sons in both Vocal and Violin playing.

Role of a Conductor

He conducted many recitals of his sons and daughters Brehannayaki, Subbulakshmi Muthuswamy, Ganasaraswathy, L.Vaidyanathan, Dr. L.Subramaniam, Dr. L. Shankar.

Performances in World Music Festivals

He has performed the violin in many World Music Festivals of Cal-State University, Whittier College Music Academy of Los Angeles. It is to be mentioned here that Professor V. Lakshminarayana Iyer played the double-violin (invented by his son L.Shankar) at the World Music Festival in Los Angeles. In the same festival he accompanied his daughter Ganam on the Violin for her Vocal concert.

Honors, Awards and Titles

Professor Lakshminarayana Iyer was honoured by several organizations for his contributions to the World of Music.

V.Lakshminarayana Iyer has received accolades from Shri. Jawarharlal Nehru the Prime Minister of India then and also from the then minister of Tamilnadu Shri. Rajaram.

He was honoured with many awards and titles, chief among them the Sangeetha Chakravarthy conferred by the Indian Music Circle, U.S.A.

When V.Lakshminarayana Iyer accompanied his daughters Brehannayaki, Subbulakshmi,
Ganasaraswathy for their Vocal recital and conducted the Violin Trio of his sons Vaidyanathan, Subramaniam, Shankar for a benefit concert in the aid of the National Education (Indian Schools) development council, Malaya, the assistant Minister for Labour and Social Welfare Shri. V. M Manickavasagar praised V. Laksminarayana and said that through sheer dedication and hardwork, Lakshminarayana Iyer has trained his children in the art of music and saw them climb the ladder of success as commendable performers. He awarded the entire family with a gold medal each.

With respect to music, V.Lakshminarayana Iyer was a master of rhythm and had a strong sense of Laya. He was adept in all Tala-s.
When the author of his book Violin Maestro V. Lakshminarayana Iyer : By Dr.M.Lalitha , M.Nandini met Vidwan Sri Sankara Sivam some years back, a doyen in Carnatic Music, (who was V.Lakshminarayana Iyers contemporary and friend, Sri Sankara Sivam learnt from Harikesanallur Muthiya Bhagavathar) he said Prof. Lakshminarayana Iyer was called as Pancha Nadai Pallavi Lakshminarayana Iyer since he was adept in Pancha Nadai Pallavi-s (Tisram 3, Chatusram 4, Kandam 5, Misram 7 and Sankirnam 9 form the Pancha Nadai-s).

Grand Lineage

It is a very rare occurrence to belong to a tradition of the great musical trinity Saint Tyagaraja, Muthuswamy Diksitar and Syama Sastri and one is proud to learn the fact that Prof. V. Lakshminarayana Iyer belonged to this illustrious lineage. Another interesting fact is that Baluswami Diksitar (brother of Muthuswamy Diksitar) was the first South Indian Musician to adapt the Western Violin to suit Carnatic Music. It is amazing to note that Vidwan V.Lakshminarayana Iyers lineage goes back even to the pre-trinity composer: Sri. Narayana Thirtha, the author of Shri Krishna Leela Tarangini

Refer to the book Violin Maestro V. Lakshminarayana Iyer : By Dr.M.Lalitha , M.Nandini to obtain the detail of how the lineage is traced.

His Disciples

V. Lakshminarayana Iyers disciples include his brothers Ramnad V. Easwaran, Ramnad V. Venkatachalam, Ramnad V. Krishnan, Ramnad V. Raghavan, his daughters Brehannayaki, Subbulakshmi Muthuswamy, L.Ganasarawathy, his sons L.Vaidyanathan, Dr. L.Subramaniam, Dr.L.Shankar, his grand-children (who belong to the fourth generation of a family of musicians) the authors of this book Dr. M.Lalitha, Nandini Muthuswamy (daughters of Subbulakshmi Muthusawamy) , Sangeetha Rao (daughter of Ganasaraswathy), Ganesh Vaidyanathan (Son of L.Vaidyanathan) and Niranjani (daughter of L.Subramaniam). Besides his sons,daughters and grand-children, he has taught to many students who came from various parts of the world like Japan, France, U.S.A, Denmark, Iran, England, Srilanka, Germany, Austria, Singapore, Malaysia, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Mexico, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, Switzerland, Indonesia, Middle East.

A Composer

Prof. Lakshminarayana Iyer was also a versatile composer. He has composed many types of compositions like Kriti-s, Kirtana-s, Ragamalika-s on various gods of the Hindu pantheon like Lord Vinayaka, Siva, Muruga, Rama, Krishna. His compositions give importance to both Ragabhava and Rhythm. They easily captivate both the connoisseurs and laity alike. The salient features of his compositions are that they are filled with Bhakti Rasa and over-flow with powerful emotions, which deeply touch the heart and leave an indelible impact on the listeners. He has composed in Sanskrit, Tamil and Manipravalam.

Eulogy from his contemporaries

Several musicians of repute had great respect, reverence and the highest regard for V.Lakshminarayana Iyer. Here are a few quotes from what the artistes had to say about this illustrious great legend.

Alathoor Srinivasa Iyer - Vocalist
Srinivasa Iyer admired V. Lakshminarayana Iyer since Lakshminarayana Iyer was a master and a specialist in rendering the Ragam Tanam and Pallavi.

Ustad Alla Rakha Khan - Tabla
Alla Rakha often praised V.Lakshminarayana Iyer was a man who had dedicated his life to the cause of music and for whom music was his soul

Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar Vocalist
Chembai used to visit Lakshminarayana Iyers house. He used to remark that Lakshminarayana Iyer was a Jambavan a man of great prowness in music and that he was an Isai medhai a genius in music. It is interesting to know that Lakshminarayana Iyers sons, the legendary Violin trio brothers accompanied Chembai Vaidhyanatha Bhagavathar as a Trio in one of his concerts held at the Sri. Venugopalaswami Temple,Chennai.

G.N Balasubramaniam Vocalist
G.N.Balasubramaniam popularly know as GNB commended Vidwan Lakshminarayana Iyer on several occasions and use to say that deep Raga Jnanam and Karnataka shuddam were Lakshminarayanas forte.

V.G Jog Hindustani Violinist
V.G Jog visited V.Lakshminarayana Iyer at his residence in Chennai and sought his blessings. At that time he remarked that Lakshminarayana Iyers technique of violin was impeccable and admired his flawless handling of the instrument.

T.R Mahalingam Flute
T.R Mahalingam popularly known as Flute Mali used to say Lakshminarayana Iyer was a great treasure for the World of Music.

Palghat Mani Iyer Mridangist
Palghat Mani Iyer hailed Lakshminarayana Iyer as a Wizard of Layam and admired his tight precision over Layam. Lakshminarayana Iyer conducted the violin recital of his sons and Palghat Mani Iyer accompanied the Violin Trio brothers on the Mridangam. Palghat Mani Iyer used to say that Lakshminarayana Iyer controlled all the performers through his firm grip over Talam

Pandit Ravi Shankar - Sitar
Pandit Ravi Shankar was all praise for this master musician when Panditji heard his daughters (Subbulakshmi and Ganasaraswathy) sing Bhavayami Raghuramam at Lakshminarayana Iyers son L.Subramaniams wedding.

Papa Venkatramiah Violinist
V.Lakshminarayana Iyer used to attend Papa Venkatramiahs concerts and liked Papas style of playing the violin, especially his bowing technique. Papa too liked V.Lakshminarayana Iyer and admired his dexterity in rhythm, his flawless tala control. In his concerts, Papa always wanted V.Lakshminarayana Iyer to keep the tala for him as V.Lakshminarayana Iyer was regarded as the a Human Metronome.

Shankara Sivam Vocalist
Lakshminarayana Iyer had worked in the Ramanathapuram Samasthanam. His knowledge of English language was very good. Lakshminarayana Iyer was very intelligent and had good experience. He was known as Patantara Suddham having a very good version and a huge repertoire of compositions. Shankara Sivam referred Lakshminarayana Iyer as a Vallavar , very good soloist and an accompanist on the violin. He was also a good teacher and was very popularly known as Pancha Nadai Pallavi Lakshminarayana Iyer.

Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer - Vocalist
Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer used to say that Lakshminarayana Iyer was his very good friend. He used to say that Lakshminarayana Iyer was a good Jnanastar and liked his methodology adopted by Lakshminarayana to teach music. He wanted his grandchildren to learn from Lakshminarayana Iyer, to which the latter readily agreed.

Valangaiman Shanmughasundaram Tavil
Valangaiman Shanmughasundaram used to hail V.Lakshminarayana Iyer as an innovative genius. It is to mention here that the Violin Trio brothers were accompanied on the Tavil by this legendary Tavil player. V.Lakshminarayana Iyer had several innovative ideas and one of them was to use the Tavil as an accompanying instrument for the Violin trio. And hence the Tavil wizard Valangaiman Shanmugasundaram accompanied the Violin Trio brothers. It was V.Lakshminarayana Iyer who conceived this new idea and for the very first time in the history of music, such a concert with three brothers on the violin accompanied by the Tavil took place.

The following Biography is extracted from the book Violin Maestro -V Lakshminarayana Iyer, His Life and Contributions to the World of Music by Dr.M. Lalitha and M. Nandini , ISBN 81-7574-184-8.