Veenai Dhanammal [May 1868 - October 1938] - Saraswathy made Veena for this noble lady itseems?!!!

Veenai Dhanam ammal [May 1868 - October 1938]

Veenai has been created for Dhnam

Pappammal and Kamakshi ammal was mother - daughter devadasis in Tanjore court at the end of 18th century. They were well noted for their musical and Sadir dance skills.

Pappammal learned music from Shyama Sasthrigal's son Subbaraya Sasthrigal.

Kamakshi's daughter Sundarammal's daughter was Dhanam.

Subraya Sasthrigal was Sundarammal's musica tutor.

Dhanam was Sathanur Pancha nadha Iyer's student.

Appa Kannu and elder brother Narayana samy were leading violin artists.

The family came and settled in Madras - St.George town.

Both mother and daughter were well versed in many compositions of Sangeetha mumnoorthigal and many others.

Sundarammal was working as a servant in a Mudhaliyar's house especially in housekeeping work realted to rituals.Dhanam used to often accompany her mother and sing. One day Mudhaliyar and his wife were much pleased and attracted with her voice and raised the payment for her monther to give special music tuition. [RS.7 was raised to Rs.14]

Dhanam started her Veenai learning from Azhagiya Singa Raayar.

She was compared and praised with Mylapore Veenai Gowri - a prominent artist at that time.

Gowri's student Bala Das taught her special lessons in ''padams''

Saint Thyagarajar's student was Veenai Kuppaier. His son was Thiruvortriyur Veenai Thyagarajar. Often he used to viist Dhanam and play with her daughter in her later stage. They play dhayam attam game and he calls Dhanam as ''Periya kutty''. He taught Dhanam many Krithis.

Columbia recording company made Dhanam to play Veenai Kuppaier's Begada raaga varnam and released in Madras which made a great change in her life.

Dhanam played for 60 years. Roopawathy was her sister who also died. Vijayanagara royal family liked her Bairavi raaga and she started playing in wedding gatherings and public festivals in Madras.

1916 - Dhanam gave her famous solo in Baroda Indian Music Program and Chennai Congress Conference.

Mahakavi Bhavariyar was her fan and every Friday by evening 6 P.M she starts playing and stop by 8 P.M.Barathy has listened to Dhanam's Veenai many times and appreciated her art skills and devotion.

Mysore palace encouraged Dhanam for many consorts.

She knew around 1000 songs. Only genius can clearly understand her play's intellectual part. She sings while playing and she was much emotional when she plays Shetragnar and spills tears while playing.

More gamakam will be given in her plucking.

Once when she expanded her Kalyani raaga alabana for 45 minutes in Srivilliputhur, poojas cannot be conducted. Dhanam asked excuse from Jeeyar and he says, ''Dhanam you have given a great nadha pooja to Aandal and Lord''

She plucks the strings with fingers. She does not take very long swaras and never use accompanying instruments like mirudhangam. She also does not have thambura also. She never taps her laps for thaalam. Even she never asks her daughters to accompany her for singing.She never plays too many songs.

Dharmapuri Subbaraya Iyer once wrote a jawali composition which talks much about the sarrow of separation of divine love and left without completing. Dhanam was very upset and always used to sing that. Later he too came and finished that composition. [Her husband?]

Later that jawali was performed by her granddaughter Balasaraswathy in Sadir attam.

Before AIR was established she played in Madras Municipality radio. 

Once she was invited by Padmanabapuram palace for a Veenai recital. She stayed with royal Veenai vidwan Kalyana Krishna Bahavathar. By dawn she played Shankarabaranam with Deekshidar's ''Akshya Linga vibho''. He listened to it got mesmerized and stayed at entrance and later said that through her divine Vennai he went to a temple in his awareness.

At her later age she lost her vision and started avoiding public concerts.

Many great Music geniuses came and listened to her on many Fridays.

Dhanam can even trace and link the sruthi in dog's voice and tune her Veenai. She was very aware about sruthi and nadham in every object.

She likes beetle leaves, tobacco and scents. She spends for good garments too.

She taught for many women and encouraged them for giving concerts.

Once she played in Senate house. After 2 songs she stopped playing and started chewing beetle. She said unless the crown maintain silence she never play again.

She selected raagas for various emotions and linked with devotion.

She asks everyone to listen and focus only in music to get into real awareness for a while.

Nadaswara Chakravarthy T.Rajarathinam Pillai often visits her home and asks her to play Veenai especially Thodi raagam alabanai.

1938 - Navarathry

She played her last song and passed away on Dasami day after performing poojas. Saraswathy took back her Veenai?

But now no body is there in her clan with her ancient grammar and perfection brought by Sangeetha mum moorthigal.

Maharaja Swathi Thirunal and Tanjore Suganthavalli
Thyagarajar's Mohana raga krithi on his daughter's...
 

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