Legendary musician V Dakshinamoorthy believed he was born as one of the seven ragas of classical music. Born as the son of Venkiteshwaran, who was a bank clerk in Alappuzha and Parvathy Ammal, a musician, music was in his blood. Venkiteshwaran and Parvathy Ammal, who loved music, had seven children or the seven ‘ragas’ as Dakshinamoorthy had called it. For the iconic musician, Lord Vaikathappan’s music and grace was everything. His life may have been marked by simplicity, but his admirers and followers make sure to make his birthdays even more special by hosting big concerts and music festivals.
The Dakshinamoorthy music festivals held every year between December and January in different parts of the country testify to the incredible popularity of the legendary musician even after his death. On her birthday, Dakshinamoorthy’s daughter and famous classical singer Gomathisree reminisces about her father in a special interview with Manorama Online.
Recalling Dakshinamoorthy’s incredible love and devotion to Vaikathappan, Gomathisree says her father had never celebrated a birthday without visiting the iconic temple. On his sixtieth birthday, the family held a special sahasrakalasham pooja at Vaikathappan Temple. Later they also did sahasrakalasham pooja on his 70th, 80th and 90th birthdays. “Giving special poojas to Vaikathappan for birthdays was my father’s greatest joy. On his 80th and 90th birthdays, we organized concerts in his honor in Chennai. Everything was simple because he was not interested in big parties. However, her children and grandchildren wanted to celebrate her birthdays in a special way. This is how we started the sangeetharchana (musical offering). I run a music institute in Chennai called V Dakshinamoorthy Vidyalaya. The students of the institute are also part of the concert,” says Gomathisree.
Dakshinamoorthy Music Concert
The famous music festival is held at Ernakulathappan Temple. Two years ago, Gomathisree arrived in Kerala to sing in this concert. Interestingly, all the kritis or songs that are sung during this festival are composed by Dakshinamoorthy. Gomathisree observes that his father’s style seemed to be influenced by great classical musicians like Thyagarajan and Deekshithar. She notes that the end of Dakshinamoorthy’s kriti is almost similar to Deekshithar’s style. Dakshinamoorthy’s keerthanam (devotional performance) “Eeshawaranude Sashwatam Entre” is still enjoyed by hundreds of music lovers. His devotional songs praising Lord Ayyappa are especially popular in Kerala. Dakshinamoorthy had composed songs in Tamil, Malayalam and Sanskrit. He named most keerthans according to the ragas in which they were composed. Gomathisree says most of the musical concerts held in honor of his father take place from December to January.
“There was a unique depth to the way my father taught us. He would not back down until his followers grasped this depth and intensity as well. He explained the meaning of all the words while teaching us songs. It was quite peculiar the way he learned to pronounce a word, to understand its meaning and to sing it in the right meter. His training was so amazing that we could easily understand any other keerthanam. Yesudas and Jayachandran had the chance to learn music with my father when he was quite young. They had sung countless songs composed by my father. It is indeed a great fortune! They said it many times,” concludes Gomathisree.