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Thiruvaduthurai Thirumarugal Natesapillai Rajarathinam Pillai (Tamil: T N ராஜரத்தினம் பிள்ளை (27 August 1898 – 12 December 1956) was a Carnatic musician in South India, a Nadaswaram maestro and a vocalist. He was known as TNR. He redesigned the traditional Nagaswaram instrument, replacing the timiri with the bari nayanam for instance. He was titled by fans as Akila Ulaka Nadaswara Chakravarthi (Emperor of Nadaswaram).

Personal life

TNR was born Balasubramaniam to Nagaswara Vidwan Kuppuswami Pillai and Govindammal on 27 August 1898 in the village of Tirumarugal, in Tanjavur district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Orphaned, TNR and his elder sister Dayalu were adopted by his maternal uncle Tirumarugal Natesa Pillai, an accomplished nagaswara Vidwan. He took his uncle's name as initials and the name Rajarathnam. His first carnatic music teacher was his uncle, Kadiresan Pillai. After the death of his uncle at age 29 due to a heart attach, TNR and sister came under the care of his uncle's brother-in law Ponnu Pillai, who enrolled Rajarathnam as a pupil of violin maestro Tirukodikkaval Krishna Iyer, uncle of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. Rajarathnam’s music flourished under his new teacher. Later, Rajaswaram took nagaswaram lessons for a couple of years from the tavil expert Ammachatram Kannuswami Pillai.

The following incident happened on the final day of the music festival in Tiruvaiyaru. On the last night, the portrait of Saint Tyagaraja would be carried on a decorated palanquin through the four main roads of Tiruvaiyaru to the accompaniment of nagaswaram and thavil. That particular night, Rajarathinam Pillai played the raga Charukesi and the kriti “Aada modi.” He wove an intricate pattern of swaras. It was what the crowd was waiting for. The thavil legend Needamangalam Meenakshisundaram Pillai too produced some extremely innovative and ingenious beats.

The mridangam vidwan Palghat T. S. Mani Iyer, who was in the crowd, so enjoyed the music that he started keeping tala with his feet and hands! It looked as if he was dancing with joy. No wonder at the end of that display, Mani Iyer went and held the hands of Meenakshisundaram Pillai and paid his respects and showed his admiration to him. Then turning to Rajarathinam Pillai, Mani Iyer said, “Who else but you can invoke such a grand display of tala on the nagaswaram?”

TNR died of a heart attack in Chennai on 12 December 1956.

On his death, an old man is believed to have remarked, “The sun has set on nagaswaram music!”

Musical career

At the age of 16 Rajarathnam became a fixture at temple pujas, paving the way for his appointment as Adheena Vidwan.

Fortunately, TNR has left behind some recorded discs. His recording of Thodi raga alapana is spoken of with great admiration by discerning lovers of Carnatic music even today.

His debut performance was at Madras in 1919. He starred in the Tamil movie, Kalamegam, directed by Ellis R Dungan (released in 1940). He introduced the tambura as a drone in Nagaswaram concerts and was the first musician to play the wind instrument sitting down, and was the first one to wear a shirt.





Free Download collection of   T.N Rajarathnam Pillai

01-Varnam-kAnaDA:

01-Varnam-kAnaDA
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02-ninnu-jUci-dhanyuDaiti-saurAshtram:

02-ninnu-jUci-dhanyuDaiti-saurAshtram
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03-rAmA-nIpai-tanaku-prEma-kEdAram:

03-rAmA-nIpai-tanaku-prEma-kEdAram
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04-praNamAmyaham-gauLa-mysore-vAsudevAcAr:

04-praNamAmyaham-gauLa-mysore-vAsudevAcAr
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05-sAmaja-vara-gamanA-sAdhu-hindOLam:

05-sAmaja-vara-gamanA-sAdhu-hindOLam
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06-upacAramulanu-cEkonavayya-bhairavi-tyAgarAja:

06-upacAramulanu-cEkonavayya-bhairavi-tyAgarAja
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07-Kalyani:

07-Kalyani
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08-shanmukhapriyA-rAgam-pallavi:

08-shanmukhapriyA-rAgam-pallavi
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09-shrI-raghuvara-suguNAlaya-bhairavi:

09-shrI-raghuvara-suguNAlaya-bhairavi
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10-AragimpavE-pAlAragimpavE-tODi:

10-AragimpavE-pAlAragimpavE-tODi
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11-jAnaki-ramaNa-shuddhasImantini:

11-jAnaki-ramaNa-shuddhasImantini
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12-shivakAmEshvarIm-cintayEham-kalyANi:

12-shivakAmEshvarIm-cintayEham-kalyANi
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13-kiravani_Aalapanai:

13-kiravani_Aalapanai
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14-nanu-pAlimpa-naDaci-vaccitivo-mOhanam:

14-nanu-pAlimpa-naDaci-vaccitivo-mOhanam
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15-Aalapanai-Shanmukapriya-Kanada:

15-Aalapanai-Shanmukapriya-Kanada
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16-raghuvara-nannu-marava-kAmavardhini:

16-raghuvara-nannu-marava-kAmavardhini
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17-rAkA-shashi-vadana-takka:

17-rAkA-shashi-vadana-takka
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18-Niraimadi-Tirupugazh-hamsAnandi-Arunagirinadar:

18-Niraimadi-Tirupugazh-hamsAnandi-Arunagirinadar
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Comment by : Subramanian B, Chennai
Comment on : Feb 21 2017 2:45AM

Dear Sir


Thanks a lot for a very old gem collection.

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