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The Carnatic Music Trinity: Shyama Sastri

LEGO Shyama Sastri by TheLegoCreator

Shyāma Sāstri (1762 – 1827) was born in a Brahmin family living in Thiruvārur. He received instruction in the Vedas, Astrology and other traditional subjects early on and learned music from his maternal Uncle. He was then trained in music by Adiappayya, a noted court musician of Thanjāvur. Although Shyama Sastri did not compose as much Kritis (songs) as his two contemporaries, Dikshita and Tyagaraja, his compositions are known for their literary and melodic proficiency. He composed about 300 pieces in all. Moreover, the scholarly nature of his pieces made them more suited to the learned than the lay. There are also some Tamil Kritis attributed to him. Most of his compositions exalt the virtues of Goddess Kāmākshi. He composed Kritis and Svarajatis with the Mudra (signature), Syāma Krishna. He was probably one of the first to compose in the new form of Svarajati musical genre, where the pieces would be rendered solely in a singing or instrumental form. Before this, the Svarajati was primarily a dance form. His three famous compositions are referred to as the Ratnatrayam (three Gems) they are, Kāmākshi Anudinamu, Kāmākshi Padayugamē, and Rāvē Himagiri Kumāri, composed in the ragas (scales), Bhairavi, Yadukula Kambhoji and Todi respectively. He was known for composing in the complex of Talas (beats) and revered for his singing ability. Shyama Sastri had two sons, Panju Sastri and Subbaraya Sastri. Panju was a devoted worshipper of the Goddess, Bangāru Kāmākshi. Subbaraya was trained in music by his father and became a gifted composer and a noted player of the veena. At his father’s behest, he was also trained by Tyagaraja. Shyama Sastri had some students who passed on his compositions, Alasur Krishna Iyer became a renowned musician at the royal court of Mysore. Porambur Krishna Iyer popularised many of his teacher’s works.

Kamakshi Anudinamu by Bharat Ratna M.S. Subbulakshmi

By DhyanKatha

Hi, I’m a 12-year-old homeschooler. I’m interested in Carnatic classical music. I’m fascinated by Indian epics and other untold stories.

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