It is not often that one comes across a Carnatic musician who composes his own music. Even the legends prefer to re-interpret the classic compositions of Muthuswami Deekshithar or Swati Thirual. City-based violinist Trivandrum R. Mahadevan treads a different path in this respect. He has 100 compositions to his credit, which have been presented on stage by some of the eminent vocalists of our time.Musical family
“My relationship with music started quite early in my life as there were quite a few musicians in the family. My first guru was my uncle Subramania Sharma. Advanced studies in violin happened under the tutelage of L. Subramaniam. When I was 17 years old, the first concert happened. I have been active in the circuit for the past 32 years,” says Mr. Mahadevan.
A few years ago, he decided that he should contribute something to Carnatic music than just play the old keerthanams on his violin. He says he wanted to be known as a vaggeyakara, someone who can handle both the lyrics and the music in the Carnatic stream.
“It was around 2007 that the first composition happened. The 100 compositions till date include varnams, kirtanams, bhajans, tillanas and ragamalikas,” he says.
The words are either in Sanskrit or Tamil. He says he likes to write in his mother tongue, but it is difficult to find the apt words to fit the music. The lyrics deal mostly with bhakthi and its various elements.
According to him, the number of people who perform their own compositions is less, as it is a bit difficult to get the right words even if the swaras come easily. His compositions span ragas like Behag, Sindubhairavi, Mohanakalyani, Sarasangi, Bhairavi, Sivasakthi, Yamunakalyan, and Jog.
At the 2010 edition of the Soorya Dance and Music Festival, he performed non-stop for 10 hours on violin. The concert comprised 41 of his compositions.
In spite of his busy schedule, Mr. Mahadevan finds time to pass on his knowledge to the next generation. He is the music teacher at the Government Model Boys Higher Secondary School in Thycaud.