is one of the important centres of music in South India. Four centuries-
from the 15th to the 18th - witnessed the golden age of musical literature
in Telugu representing compositions by celebrated "Vaggeyakaras"
from "Annamacharya" to "Thyagaraja".
Annamacharya is one the eminent poet saints of Andhra Pradesh. A passionate devotee of Lord Venkateswara and a great personality whose literary work is storehouse of astounding treasure. Sri Annamacharya composed several poems in Telugu and Sanskrit in praise of the Lord Venkateswara.
Popularly known as "Praja Kavi", his compositions are rich in literary value and also for the "Adhyatmik" (Spiritual) sense they are intended to impart to the masses. Annamacharya's 'Keertanas' (devotional songs) became the base for the "Manasa Kala Mandir". Telugu and Sanskrit were the pillars of support, the chanting of 'Slokas' were the steps and 'Dharma' (duty), 'Artha' (greed), 'Kama' (lust) and 'Moksha' (salvation) were the four boundaries. All these inspired Annamacharya to render devotional compositions.
Sri Annamacharya's pleasant renderings have a profound impact on the daily lives of the people. For many generations, children in Andhra have been familiarised to music through the lullaby of Annamacharya's famous composition "Jo Achutananda Jo Jo Mukunda".
A legendary Telugu poet of Andhra Pradesh born in the 17th century in Nelakondsapalli, a small village in Khammam district, 'Gopanna' was his real name.
He composed several Keertanas in praise of Lord Rama. His compositions have a touch of intense devotion and refreshing fervour and are candid. His sheer transparency of the soul compels the attention of many towards his songs. The passion and liveliness in his songs have carved a niche for it in the tradition of devotional poetry. Ramadas' songs are a reflection of the deeply felt bittersweet agonies and ecstasies of a devotee in distress.
He disclosed his ardent devotional pining in the language he knew - the dialect of the heart - simple, emotive and touching. His music is rightly described as mood music since it is clear, unadorned, easily understood and touches the sensitive chord in the listener.
Music of southern India that evolved from ancient Hindu traditions and was relatively unaffected by the Arabic and Iranian influences. It is also spelled 'Karnatic' Music. The very word "Carnatic" means traditional or ancient.
The Deccan region combining Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka played the important role in the development of Carnatic music down the centuries. Andhra Pradesh is one of the chief centres for present-day Carnatic music apart from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala .
In contrast to northern styles, Carnatic music is more thoroughly oriented to the voice. Fewer instruments are used in Carnatic music and there are no exclusively instrumental forms.
Compositions of Carnatic music constitute the most popular face of the art, while the ragas work at another level. The 'Kritis' of Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Shyama Shastri (all 18th century) and later composers, set within the Carnatic ragas, constitute over half of each typical concert. To many listeners, the music of the south has a restrained and intellectual character as compared with the music of the more secular Hindustani traditions.
The true rhythm of India lies in its folk music. Andhra Pradesh is rich in its traditional folk art forms, which have provided popular entertainment for the common folk, imparting traditional education while providing entertainment. Folk life and Folk art are inseparably intertwined with each other. Folk music is the music of the masses. Every event of life has a unique folk song associated with it. They are sung in during festivals, advent of the new season birth of a child, or day-to-day affairs like teasing one's loved one, admiring nature, etc.
The masses of Andhra Pradesh are fun lovers and the most favourite means of enjoying on any occasions are folk songs. People gather at one place on any event either it may be a happy or sad moment. They start singing and through these songs they express their happiness or sorrow.
There are also folksongs on pilgrimages, medicine, funeral, marriage, mythology, and lullabies. The most famous among the village folk are songs on deities and satires of village life, country songs, labour songs, and humorous.
Andhra Pradesh is predominantly an agricultural state. Harvest songs are most popular among the farmers. During the harvest season, farmers working in fields sing to forget their tiredness. They sing in happiness as their handwork is being rewarded.
The Padam is a poetic composition based on a theme from Hindu mythology or the theme of courtly love, an allegory for the human soul yearning for union with the Divine. Shades of feeling are conveyed by the delicacy of the facial expressions. Padams are often used in dance.
An Expressive Song
Inspired by the south Indian 'Bhakti' cult, the genre reached its zenith in the hands of the Telugu masters like "Ksetrayya" of the 15th century. Eroticism and god go together in the Telugu poetry of Ksetrayya. The Padams of Ksetrayya demand the expression of a whole range of human sentiment in a slow tempo and a melody that perfectly match the emotional climate that is created.
Ksetrayya Padalu is very famous and these days many of these songs are sung at Bharatanatyam performances.