Friday, November 21, 2014


Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar  who was also known as Vaidyanatha Iyer was a legendary Carnatic Maestro hailed from Chembai of Palakkad  in Kerala.
He was born on September 1, 1896 to Carnatic Musician and Violinist Anantha Bhagavathar.Most of his family members and ancestors were well known musicians and his skill in this field was hereditary.
Chembai's first Guru was his father itself and he was given lessons in Carnatic music from the age of 3.His father was the recipient of an Award from Maharajah as 'Ghana Chakratanam' for his style of rendering concerts.
His debut concert was in 1907 at Ottappalam which received much accolades and appreciation and afterwards he conducted regular musical concerts at music festivals,Sabhas,etc and even at Madras Music Academy thereby earning name and prestige.Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar earned praise for his powerful voice and majestic singing style from the early stage of his career  itself.

Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar did not try to be confined as a court musician in the Maharajah's  Palace because he was not interested in it.
His empathy for his accompanists and disciples was well noted.He loved all his disciples without any discrimination of religion but looked upon their skill and love towards music.He had many students including K.J.Yesudas,Jayan and Vijayan of 'Jaya Vijaya', P.Leela,T.V.Gopalakrishnan etc. and always encouraged them by making them participate in his music concerts.

Chembai was an ardent devotee of Lord Guruvayoorappan.Once in his youth days he lost his charming voice and became unable to sing.He went to Guruvayoor temple and stayed there for a long period participating in all the 'Pooja rituals'.Lord Sree Krishna blessed him and thus he regained his voice.
He used to visit Guruvayoorappan when ever he had time and used to held music concert at the temple every year.
'Chembai Sangeetholsavam' (Music Festival) is held officially by Guruvayoor Devaswom at the temple premises every year in his honour.
'The Sri Guruvayoorappan Puraskaram' award by the Sree Krishna temple is instituted in Chembai's memory.
Well known musicians like 'Thrissur V.Ramachandran,Parassala Ponnammal,K.G.Jayan,Mavelikkara Velukkutty Nair,M.Balamuralikrishna,T.V.Gopalakrishnan' etc are some of the recipients of this prestigious Award.
Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar left this world to heavenly abode on 16th October, 1974.

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