Chinnayya [b 1802]

Among the genius of Swathi Thirunal’s court were the four brothers Chinnayya [b. 1802] ,Ponnayya [b. 1804], and Sivanandam [b. 1808] and Vadivelu [b 1810] known as the Tanjavur Quartette (Nalvar). Chinniah was an accomplished dancer and dance master. He was also a good composer and Amba Souramba, Amba Nilamba,Tana varnam in Kamalamanohari, Padavarnam in AnandaBhairavi, Thillana in Kapi etc are some of his compositions.
Their ancestor was one Gangai muthu who lived in the 17th century and was a devaram scholar, who is believed to hail form Tirunelveli. Gangai Muthu had two sons, Ramalingam and Gangamuthu. Gangmuthu had two sons Subbarayan (also known as Mahadeva Annavi, an accomplished veena player) and Chidambaram. Subbarayan had 4 sons: Chinnaya, Ponnayya, Sivanandam and Vadivelu. While the quartette was residing at Senkanar Kovil doing tiruppani, King of Tanjavoor brought them to Tanjavoor, in recognition of their talent. The quartette got an opportunity to become disciples of Muthuswami Deekshithar.All of them were entertained in the service of the Maharaja in 1835. Vadivelu was on a monthly pay of Rs.100 and others on slightly lower sums. A lump sum of Rs. 700 was also given to them on their arrival, presumably by way of their traveling expenses. Later on, a house was also built for them at Aryasala.

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