Legendary musician V Dakshinamoorthy believed that he was born as one of the seven ragas of Classical music. Born as the son of Venkiteshwaran, who was a bank employee in Alappuzha and Parvathy Ammal, a musician, music was in his blood. Venkiteshwaran and Parvathy Ammal, who adored music, had seven children or the seven ‘ragas’ as Dakshinamoorthy had said. For the iconic musician, music, and the grace of Lord Vaikathappan was everything. His life may have been marked by simplicity, but his admirers and followers make sure to make his birth anniversaries extra special by holding grand concerts and music festivals.
The Dakshinamoorthy music festivals that are held every year in the months of December – January in different parts of the country vouch for the incredible popularity of the legendary musician, even after his death. On his birth anniversary, Dakshinamoorthy’s daughter and noted Classical singer Gomathisree reminisce her father’s memories in a special interview with Manorama Online.
The grace of Vaikathappan
Recalling Dakshinamoorthy’s incredible love and devotion for Vaikathappan, Gomathisree says that her father had never celebrated a birthday without visiting the iconic temple. On his sixtieth birthday, the family held a special sahasrakalasham pooja at the Vaikathappan temple. Later, they did the sahasrakalasham pooja on his 70th, 80th and 90th birthdays too. “Offering special poojas to Vaikathappan on birthdays was my father’s greatest joy. On his 80th and 90th birthdays, we held concerts in honour of him at Chennai. Everything was simple as he wasn’t interested in grand celebrations. However, his children and grandchildren wished to celebrate his birthdays in special ways. That is how we began the sangeetharchana (musical offering). I run a music institute in Chennai called V Dakshinamoorthy Vidyalaya. The students of the institute too are part of the concert,” says Gomathisree.
Dakshinamoorthy music concert
The renowned music festival is being held at the Ernakulathappan temple. Two years ago, Gomathisree had reached Kerala to sing in this concert. Interestingly, all the kritis or songs that are sung at this festival are composed by Dakshinamoorthy. Gomathisree observes that her father’s style seemed to be influenced by great Classical musicians like Thyagarajan and Deekshithar. She notes that the ending of Dakshinamoorthy’s kriti’s are almost similar to Deekshithar’s style. Dakshinamoorthy’s keerthanam (devotional rendition) ‘Eeshawaranude Sashwatam Entre’ is still loved by hundreds of music lovers. His devotional songs praising Lord Ayyappa are particularly popular in Kerala. Dakshinamoorthy had composed songs in Tamil, Malayalam and Sanskrit. He named most keerthans based on the ragas in which they were composed. Gomathisree says that most musical concerts that are held in honour of her father are conducted during December – January.
“There was a unique depth in the way my father used to teach us. He wouldn’t back out until his disciples too grab that depth and intensity. He would explain the meanings of all the words while teaching us songs. It was quite special the way in which he taught how to pronounce a word, understand its meaning and how to sing it in the correct metre. His training was so amazing that we could easily understand any other keerthanam. Yesudas and Jayachandran were fortunate enough to learn music from my father when he was quite young. They had sung countless songs that were composed by my father. It indeed is a great fortune! They have said this in many instances,” concludes Gomathisree.