Kallidaikurichi Dr. ES Sankaranarayana Iyer (1881 – 1947) was a medicine man and a carnatic music composer. A large part of propagating his works was done by the Maragatham Sankaranarayana Trust. They conducted annual concerts of exclusive ESS Iyer compositions by various eminent musicians. The recordings are held by the trust and you can contact and them here.
When the top sabhas hold competitions about ESS Iyer, the trust helps by giving cassettes to prepare. The winners of the competion are invited to the trust’s annual concert, and their Guru is given a ‘Bodhaka’ award (probably one of the very few proud moments I could make happen to my father, who taught me these songs).
There are over 150 songs written by him, in languages Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit. I am going to list down the ones I know, here.
- Ekadasa rudra keerthana rambe in Yaman Kalyani
- Bhakthi illadha sahithya sangeetham in Aarabhi
- Deva devam in Saranga
- Mahavishnu in Bhairavi
- Sharadhe chandranane in Saraswathi
- Kamaladhala kannan in Behag
It is said that after his demise, few (balance) of his compositions were set to tune by family members.
My all time favourite Behag composition is Kamaladhala kannan, which is about the lady describing to her thozhi, how much she misses Kannan.
There are no videos or audio tracks of ESS Iyer’s compositions available online, I’m not sure if it is due to copyright issues. I wanted to post Sanjay Subramaniam singing Behag from the cassette, but in vain. Nevertheless, I can give the lyrics here.
Ragam: Behag / Thalam: Rupakam
P: Kamaladhala kannan inimel karunai seiguvano thozhi
A: Nimala manathodavar paadham ninaithavar mel nesikkum
C: Oruvarum ingillai endru oru murai kanna endren
Oodi vandhu enna endran ondrumillai endren naan
Varundhi inimel azhaithittalum varamatten endru solli
varundha vaithu maraindhaan – madhi mosam ponenadi thozhi
Update on 25th Apr:
Thanks to Subramaniam Krishnan‘s thoughtful gesture, I now have a brilliant song to share:
Listen to Parasala Ponnammal sing ESS Iyer’s composition “muladhara kshetra mooshika vahana” in mayamalava gowlai…