Oothukadu Venkatasubbayyar (1700-1765)
Oothukadu Venkatasubbayyar, popularly known as Venkata Kavi, is an important
pre-trinity composer in Carnatic music. He is considered as a link between
Purandaradasa and the trinity.
Oothukadu Venkatasubbayyar lived in the 18th century in the Tanjavoor district of present day Tamil Nadu. His parents were Ramachandra Vathoolar and Kamalanayani Ammal. and his brother an important singer in the Tanjavur court. His attempts at formal music
Venkata Kavi has composed in several formats - kriti, javali, tillana and kavadi chindu. By his time, Keertana form had evolved into krithi format. His compositions are in popular as well as rare raaga-s. He also had very good command over taala-s and has composed using several difficult taala-s. His compositions are in Tamil and Sanskrit. He was fluent in both. Lord Krishna was his main diety and so the theme of many of his krithis is Lord Krishna. But he has also composed about other dieties, mythological figures and even about great personalities like Jayadeva and Valmiki. He has also composed operas, on Krishna, a set of songs narrating the story on Lord Rama’s childhood and even a ragamalika piece ‘Sri Rama jayame jayam’ which covers the whole Ramayana.
His famous group krithi-s are Saptaratnas, Kamakshi Navavaranam, and Anjaneya Pancharatnas. This concept may have prompted Thyagaraja's Pancharathna Krithis and Dheekshithar to compose his Kamalamba Navavaranam. Kamakshi Navavaranam is considered a masterpeice and has some complex rare taala-s like Khanda Triputa, Khanda Dhruva and Khanda Matya. His pen name was Venkata Kavi, but is mentioned in only one of his Krithi-s. He was a prolific composer and may have composed more than a thousand kritho-s of which some 300 are available to us now, thanks to diligent recording of his compositions by his brother, nephews and contemporaries.
Copy Right 2003 , All Rights Reserved, Designed and Maintained by C-DIT , www.cdit.org