As we enjoy a musical feast this margazhi season comprising a delectable range of compositions, here is a glimpse into the life and works of Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi of the ‘Alaippayude’ and ‘Taye yashoda’ fame!

*Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi or Venkatasubbayyar, was a great music composer of the 18th century. He was born in Mannargudi, a town famous for the temple of Lord Rajagopala.

*He spent most of his life in Oottukkadu a village on the banks of the River Kaveri in the Tanjore district, associated with the legendary Bhagavata Mela tradition of dance- drama.

*Oottukkadu is well known for a temple dedicated to a self- formed (swayambhu) idol of the Kalinga nartana depicting Lord Krishna dancing on the head of Kaliya, the giant black serpent.

*Though he was inclined towards music since his childhood, Venkata Kavi is believed to have started composing in praise of this deity following a divine vision of Lord Krishna.

*He penned thousands of compositions including kritis, tillanas and slokams, of which only a few hundreds are said to be available today. Some of his pieces like ‘Taye yashoda’ and ‘alaippayude’ are extremely popular till date.

*Venkata Kavi was a master of intricate rhythmic patterns and many of his compositions contain solkattu jatis and madhyamakala passages, lending themselves well to use in dance recitals.

*His compositions are in a variety of ragas such as Todi, Kalyani and Madhyamavati as well as in rare ragas like Malavi, Umabharanam and Deeparam.

*While he was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna, Oottukkadu enkata Kavi composed the Navavaranams, a set of 9 songs, on Goddess Kamakshi of Kanchipuram.

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For a list of the Kamakshi Navavaranams by Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi, click here