Sivanandam [b. 1808]

Among the genius of Swathi Thirunal’s court were the four brothers Chinnayya [b. 1802], Ponnayya [b. 1804], Sivanandam [b.1808] and Vadivelu [b 1810] known as the Tanjavur Quartette (Nalvar). Sivanandam is the third of the famous Thanjavoor quartette. His youngest brother Vadivelu was the most famous musician in Swathi Thirunal’s court. Sivanandam’s 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. After training under the legendary teacher and musician Muthuswamy Deekshithar, the quartette became Asthana Vidwans at Tanjavoor court and also in Travancore court. All of them were entertained in the service of the Maharaja Swathi Thirunal 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. The eldest brother Chinnayya was later invited by Sri Krishna Devaraya to Mysore and he trained many students and teachers there. The second brother Ponnayya and the third Shivanandam rendered exemplary services in the court of Sarabhoji , the king of Thanjavoor. These brothers offered worship through the dance performances of their students in the Brihadeeshwara temple of Tanjavoor.Sivanandam was a composer, veena player and a teacher in dance. A favourite of Raja Sivaji and Konnakol Pakkiria Pillai’s relative, he was the only brother among Tanjore Quartette blessed with sons. Baroda Kannuswami nattuvar, Prof. Ponniah Pillai, Prof. K.P. Krishnamurthi and K.P. Sivanandam are among his descendents. The sabdam “Venyuda”, “Danike Tagu Jaanara” (Thodi Pada Varnam) are among his compositions. It is said that Raja Sivaji was so fond of him that if Sivanandam was abscent in the court, he would rush to his residence!

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