Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma
Sri Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma, born in the royal family of Travancore, is
a direct descendent of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal. He has performed all over
India and abroad. His first public performance was initiated by Prof T.V.
Gopala Krishnan. He Learned Saraswathi Veen from Trivandrum Sri R. Venketaraman
and Sri K.S. Narayana Swami. A postgraduate in Commerce, he had his initial
training in music under Prof Vechoor Harihara Subramonya Iyer and is furthering
his tutelage under Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna. Sri Varma is alos an excellent
orator and is a popular speaker in the Carnatic Music lecture circuit, in
India as well as abroad. He has a repertoire of Swathi compositions which
is unmatched even by the great masters. From the rare Khamas Varna (Saa Vaama
Rusha) to the popular Paahi Sreepathe (Hamsadhwani Keerthana), Varma adds
a fresh touch of surprise and grandeour which has become his hallmark. Among
his own favourite Swathi compositions is Aaj aaaye shyaam mohan, the hindustani
bhajan popularised by the great Balamurali Krishna in a rare shade of Pahadi.
Today he performs in the Navarathri mandapom during the Navarathri concerts
(both vocal and veena) and also in the Kuthira Maalika Swathi Festival. Listen
to his compositions from the Compositions link in this web site (Aaj aaye,
Aanadavalli, Bhavathi Viswaso, Raama Raama Paahi, Raama Raama Paahi Shyaama
An excerpt from review of Sri Varma's first Navarathri
Concert, by Sri Harisundar, The Hindu:
Over the years, Aswathi Tirunal Rama Varma, a member of the royal family of
erstwhile Travancore has developed a style which on certain occasions resembled
with the style of M.D. Ramanathan. A style which is difficult to adhere with,
the presentations by Rama varma has glimpses of the maestro at certain instances.
Though the artiste was presenting his maiden concert at the mandapam, the
effort made by the artiste to present some unheard krithis of Swathi Tirunal
The concert started off with the unheard Saa Vaa maarusha (Kamas varnam).
The tempo was kept lively with Devadeva Kalyani (Mayamalavagaula), Bhavati
viswaso (Mukhari) and Rama rama pahi (Devagandhari). The concert got to great
heights with the artiste choosing to sing Anandavalli kurumuda (Nilambari)
with great verve. The manodharma swaras for this krithi were a treat to the
The listeners in the mandapam were presented with an exquisite alapana of
Saveri which featurd Devi Pavane in adi thalam, the main item of the day.
The ability of the artiste to travel through the minute nuances of the raga
with the sancharas from the lower octave to the higher ones were pleasing.
The main item was followed by Smara janaka (Behag).
In these days, when certain violiniste tend to overtake the vocalists through
harsh bowing techniques, V.V.S. Murari (Violin), the youngest among the artistes
at the mandapam excelled through his dutiful accompaniment. The soft velvette
touches provided by him during the accompaniment for the songs and his essays
of manodharma swaras for Nilambari and the essay of Saveri were a mark of
the immense caliber in him. R. Ananthakrishnan (Mridangam) provided able support
throughout the concert.
Apart from being a vocalist, Rama Varma, who is also a veena artiste presented
a short veena recital at the mandapam which was marked by technical excellence
in a traditional style. Gopalaka Pahimam (Revagupthi), Reenamada (Behag),
Aliveni (Kurinji) and Mamava Padmanabha (Varali). The alapana of Verali was
marked by perfectness. R. Ananthakrishnan (Mridangam) provided able support.