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KARAIKUDI VINA

At Brhaddhvani, we give you the essence of the traditional practices on the vina as intensely experienced by Dr. Karaikudi S. Subramanian during his 'gurukulavasa' (1957-1958) with the legendary maestro Karaikudi Veenai Sambasiva Iyer, the younger of the "Karaikudi Vina Brothers". 

The Karaikudi Tradition is a composite style of vina playing and fundamental practices shared by all members of the Karaikudi family tree, collectively known as 'Karaikudi Vina Bani'. The core essence of this Karaikudi Bani was preserved and passed on by two prominent disciples of Sambasiva Iyer. One of these disciples, Srimathi Ranganayaki Rajagopalan, is from outside the Karaikudi family and holds the position of the senior-most disciple. The other disciple, Srimathi Rajeswari Padmanabhan, KSS' elder sister, belongs to the family, and both of them continued to uphold and perpetuate the Karaikudi Bani. For further information on the Karaikudi Lineage, please see "Karaikudi Lineage".

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Subbarama Iyer with his guru who initiated him into Sricakra mantra pooja.

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Sambasiva Iyer with his disciples Ranganayaki Rajagopalan (back faced to the came) and Rajeswari Padmanabhan.

After Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer's passing, KSS continued to learn and perform with both his sister and Ranganayaki Rajagopalan. This allowed him to gain a richer experience and understanding of the Karaikudi Bani from two distinct perspectives.

His work, titled "South Indian Vina - Tradition and Individual Style," served as his doctoral dissertation, submitted to Wesleyan University as partial fulfillment for a PhD in Ethnomusicology. This research delved into an ethnomusicological perspective of the Karaikudi Style of vina playing, further enhancing his comprehension of the Karaikudi tradition. Karaikudi Subramanian firmly believes that the essence of the Karaikudi Bani lies in its foundational elements, encompassing its musical aesthetics, techniques, and the discipline that define the Karaikudi Tradition.

Karaikudi Subramanian's primary goal is to expand the Karaikudi Vina tradition globally by incorporating the COMET principles.

In the COMET methodology, the study of vina is characterized by a holistic approach to the fundamental principles of Karnatak music, as emphasized in the Karaikudi Tradition. The essential elements of Karnatak music, namely sruti, sthana, svara, laya and gamaka, are carefully studied with meticulous attention to detail. The teaching process involves employing relevant techniques and adopting multiple approaches tailored to the individual needs of each student. This holistic approach ultimately empowers the students to proficiently self-learn any composition from various musical styles with accuracy.

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From L-R: Karaikudi Subramanian, Rajeswari Padmanabhan, Srividya Chandramouli (listening), Ranganayaki Rajagopalan & Dr. S. Seetha (playing the vina with her back faced to the camera). 

Karaikudi Vina Tradition: Sri Varalakshmi

Dr. Karaikudi S. Subramanian & his five disciples perform 'Sri Varalakshmi' - a characteristic composition from the Karaikudi Vina repertoire

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