Maharajapuram Santhanam: The King of Classical Music

My first foray into Karnatic Vocal happened when I was 12 yrs old. I started learning from my neighbor Mrs. Shakuntala Iyengar. It was then that I got exposed to the music of Sri Maharajapuram Santhanam. She had a huge collection of his albums that she would let us listen to, when we were free. I was not in a position to appreciate the aesthetics and nuances of his voice then. But yet, the sheer pleasantness in his voice held me in rapture, and to this day, I have continued to be mesmerized by the sheer brilliance of this maestro.
He hailed from a family of noted vocalists. His father Sri Maharajapuram Vishwanathan Iyer was himself a renowned name in the field of Karnatic Music. He was one of the very few people well versed in rendering the divine Pancharatna krithis of Shri Tyagaraja. This art, he passed on to his son, who rendered it with equal aplomb if not less! It is a pleasure to listen to his rendering of the 5 keerthanas. He was equally divine in his rendition of the Daasa krithis, be it of purandara or kanaka. His choice of songs was always one that wud fill the listener with an ethereal feeling of being among the gandharvas! One of the few known vocalists, who always sung the daasa krithis in their concerts, Sri Santhanam was much known for his renditions of complex raagas, Kalyani, Shankarabharana, Sri Raaga, Arabhi, Sivaranjani, etc.
Maharajapuram Santhanam has also composed several krithis in Sivaranjani, Hamsanandhi, Charukeshi, etc.
An accomplished and divine artist, a kala brahma, he eventually met a tragic death in a car accident and died in the year 1992.
Some of my favorite songs that are sung by Sri Maharajapuram Santhanam are:-
  1. The Pancharatna Krithis composed by Shri Tyagaraja
  2. Kelo Satcharitra composed by Shri Purandara dasa
  3. Kelano Hari Taalano also by Shri Purandara Daasa
  4. Alaipaayuthey composed by Oothukadu Venkata Subbaier
  5. Krishna Nee Begane Baaro by Shri Vyaasa Rayaru
  6. Mahaganapathim composed by Shri Muttuswamy Dikshithar
  7. Himaadri sute paahimaam composed by Shyama Shastri
  8. Vaatapi Ganapathim Bhaje composed by Shri Muttuswamy Dikshitar
  9. Manasa Sancharare composed by Shri Sadashiva Brahmendra

and many many more!!

2 comments

    • anukta on December 12, 2005 at 6:03 AM

    Good one.Would like to read more about such singers.

    • shyam on October 19, 2009 at 8:46 PM

    can u pls send me the lyrics of KELO SACHARITHA-ragamalika….
    Thank you….

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