Sangeetha Vidwan L.S.Narayanaswamy Bhagavathar
Late Vidwan L.S.Narayanaswamy Bhagavathar was a musician of distinction in the
field of Carnatic music. His father L.Shamanna of Chickamagalur, Karnataka was a
gifted Harikatha Vidwan. Music was Bhagavathar's very soul from his early
days. He had his initial training under Late Vidwan Krishnappa. Soon after
his matriculation examination, he left for Chennai(Madras) where he practised
music under Late Vidwan Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar. Later he underwent intensive
training under Late Vidwan Kanchipuram Nayana Pillai who was known for
his bold and original style of Pallavi elaboration and swaraprastara. This
training gave a firm grounding to Bhagavathar in the intricacies and subtleties
of classical music. Along with vocal training, Bhagavathar attained
proficiency in playing the violin. He had the rare oppurtunity of listening
to the violin performances of Late Vidwan Trichy Govindaswamy Pillai.
Perhaps Bhagavathar, like Ekalvya, followed Govindaswamy Pillai and imbibed
many of his masterly techniques.
The Bhagavathar's command over the teoritical and practical aspects of
music was admirable and his repertoire astounding. He dedicated his whole
life to the pursuit of his art without allowing himself to be distracted
by the lures of the material world. He was not satisfied by mechanical repetition
of musical cliches. To him music was the language of communion between the
human soul and the Divine. His exposition of ragas like Shankarabharana, Begade,
Bilahari, Kamboji and Manirangu were inimitable.
In 1935, Bhagavathar settled down in Bangalore and started the "Gurukula"
method of training in music at his residence. He trained a number of disciples
in vocal music and violin. Apart from vocal concerts, he gave innumerable violin
concerts. In 1953, he started the Vijaya College of Music with an aim to popularise
Carnatic Classical music, and to make music training available to the elite and the commoner
It was in 1967, that the Bhagavathar was inspired to set to music, shlokas
from the Valmiki Ramayana. The germinal idea flowered into his magnum opus,
Ramayana in song. In all humilty and devotion he offered his work at the Lotus Feet of Sri
Rama. The noble soul passed away on the 31st March, 1970.