Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar (1890-1967), popularly known as Ariyakudi, was a Carnatic Music vocalist, born in Ariyakudi a town in the Karaikudi district, present Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu. Ariyakudi developed unique style of singing came to be known as The Ariyakudi Tradition and is followed by his students. He established the modern katcheri (concert) traditions in Carnatic music.
The doyen of Carnatic Music, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer is known to have remarked "I was greatly influenced by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. I do not want another life. But if there is one, I want to be able to sing like Ramanuja Iyengar". And another maestro G N Balasubramaniam, a contemporary of Ariyakudi is known to have prostrated in front of him out of respect. With Palghat Mani Iyer, the Mridangam maestro, he formed a formidable partnership on the concert platform and a remarkable friendship born out of mutual respect. Palghat Mani Iyer is to have said Anaa (Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar) and Iyengarval (Ariyakudi) are like my two eyes.
In 1954, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship the highest honour conferred by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama. This was followed by Padma Bhushan by Government of India in 1958.
Early life and background:
Ariyakudi was born Ariyakudi a town in the Karaikudi district, present Sivaganga districtof Tamil Nadu, South India in the year 1890. He learnt under Pudukottai Malayappa Iyer and Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar in his early years. Later he learnt for several years under Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar who was the senior most disciple of Patnam Subramania Iyer.
He made his debut at Tyagaraja Aradhana in 1918.
Ariyakudi's famous disciples include K V Narayanaswamy, B Rajam Iyer, Alappuzha Venkatesan and Madurai N Krishnan.
Sangeetha Kalanidhi award (1938) ,
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1952) ,
Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (1954) ,
Isai Perarignar (1950) by Tamil Isai Sangam, Chennai,
Gayaka Shikhamani by Mysore darbar,
Sangita Ratnakara by Vellore Sangeetha Sabha,
Sangita Kala Shikhamani by Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai,
Padma Bhushan award by Government of India in 1958 ,
Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyenkar Day. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar Trust. 1984.