Taḷḷapāka Annamācārya (or Annamayya) (Telugu: తాళ్ళపాక అన్నమాచార్య; 22 May 1408 – 4 April 1503) was a 15th-century Hindu saint born to Narayana Suri, and is the earliest known Indian musician to compose songs called sankirtanas in praise of the god Venkateswara, a form of Vishnu. He is the first known composer in carnatic music. Other composers like Purandaradasa came after him. The musical form of the keertana songs that he composed, which are still popular among Carnatic music concert artists, have strongly influenced the structure of Carnatic music compositions. Annamacharya is remembered for his saintly life, and is honoured as a great devotee of Vishnu by devotees and saintly singers.
This statue is at Dwaraka Tirumala
|Also known as||Annamayya,|
Pada Kavitha Pitaamahudu
|Born||22 May 1408|
Tallapaka, Upper Tirupati, Vijayanagara Samrajyam
(modern-day Rajampet, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India)
|Died||4 April 1503 (aged 94)|
Tirumala, Tirupati, Lower Tirupati, Vijayanagara Samrajyam
(modern-day Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India)
|Occupation(s)||Saint, poet, composer, writer|
Tallapaka Annamacharya was born on Vaishakha Shuddha Pournami in the year Sarwadhari (22 May 1408) in Tallapaka, Near Rajampet Mandal, a village in present-day Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, India. He was born into Nandavarika Niyogi family. His wife, Timmakka, had written Subhadra Kalyanam, and is considered the first female poet in Telugu literature. Their son, Pedda Tirumalacharya, and grandson, Tallapaka Chinnayya, were also composers and poets. The Tallapaka compositions are considered to have dominated and influenced the structure of Carnatic music compositions. Annamacharya lived for 95 years until Phalguna Bahula (Krishna) Dvadasi (12th day after full moon) in the year Dhundhubhi (4 April 1503).
Annamayya is said to have composed as many as 32,000 sankeertanas (songs) on the god Venkateswara of which only about 12,000 are available today. He is also the author of musical treatise called "Sankirthana lakshanamu".
Annamayya considered his compositions as floral offerings to Venkateswara. In the poems, he praises the deity, describes his love for him, argues and quarrels with the Lord, confesses the devotee's failures and apprehensions, and surrenders himself to Venkateshwara. His songs are classified into the Adhyaatma (spiritual) and Sringaara (romantic) sankeertanas genres. His songs in the "Sringaara" genre worship Venkateswara by describing the romantic adventures of Venkateshwara and his consort Alamelu, while others describe the Bhakti of his devotees.
In his later keertanas, he espouses subjects such as morality, dharma and righteousness. He was one of the first few who opposed the social stigma towards the untouchable castes in his era, with his sankeertanas explaining that the relationship between God and human is the same irrespective of the latter's color, caste and financial status, in his songs "Brahmaṃ Okkatē Paraḥbrahmamokkatē" and "ē kulajuḍainanēmi evvaḍainanēmi". His prodigious literary career earned him a place among the all-time greats of Telugu literature.
While he enjoyed popularity in his days, his compositions were forgotten for over three centuries. Mentioned in 1849, they were later found engraved on copper plates, hidden for centuries inside the Sri Venkateswara temple at Tirumala, just opposite the Hundi, concealed in a very small room. An English translation of 150 of these verses was published in 2005.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, also known as TTD, has been endeavoring to preserve the rich heritage of his compositions. In the year 1950, The State Government of Andhra Pradesh created a committee and appointed the legendary musician late Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna as its head. He set music to over 800 compositions of Annamacharya and are still popular among the devotees. He was the Āsthāna Gāyaka of the Tirumala temple at Tirupati for two decades. He is regarded as a legend in rendering devotional music in classical style, especially the Annamacharya Sankirtanas. He was also an acclaimed poet, singer, and a musicologist.
Shobha Raju is the first recipient of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams scholarship in 1976 to study and set a trend for the propagation of Annamacharya's compositions, and was also chosen as the first exclusive artiste for the propagation of Tallapaka's compositions in 1978. Her first audio album, "Vēnkatēśvara Gīta Mālika" is globally popular among Telugu community. She is the founder of Annamacharya Bhavana Vahini (ABV) in 1983, which is located in Hyderabad, India. She has been awarded Padmashri by Government of India, in 2010 in recognition of her efforts to promote Annamayya Compositions.
In 1994, reputed Bharathanatyam artist Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala, and the daughter in law of the legendary singer Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, for the first time produced and presented a mammoth dance production as a tribute to the divine composer titled "Annamaiyah". Rare and popular songs were woven into a story format and music by legendary stalwarts was set to action. This production was inaugurated by the former President of India R. Venkatraman and Bharat Ratna-winning singer M. S. Subbulakshmi and later that year for the Tirumala bhramotsavam. The production went on to become a sensational hit and more dancers of different forms started choreographing for the saints' composition. Based on popular demand in 2009, a DVD of the production was also launched which included several places visited by the saint himself. The production has traveled across the US, Europe, and Asia and staged over 400 times till now.
A Telugu film named Annamayya was made on him by K. Raghavendra Rao in 1997. It starred Nagarjuna in the lead role as Annamacharya and also featured Suman as Lord Venkateshwara and Bhanupriya as Goddess Padmavathi Devi in important roles. The film became a huge blockbuster and was the highest grosser of the year in Telugu cinema.
Kadayanallur Venkatraman, a brilliant composer has tuned a lot of Annamacharya's kritis with beautiful ragas for M.S.Subbulakshmi, who unveiled these forgotten kritis and brought them to the stage.
In 2017, one of Annamayya's compositions, Brahmam Okate, became a YouTube sensation. As of early-2019, this video alone (produced by Kuldeep M. Pai) has garnered over 11 million views and made the child singers Sooryagayathri and Rahul Vellal household names for their flawless rendering of the classic keerthana. Professional singers P. Unnikrishnan and Sreeranjini Kodampally have their performances of the composition on YouTube.
This is a partial list of some of the most famous Tallapaka Annamacharya compositions.
- Note – (చ =Ca; ఛ=Cha; శ=Śa; ష=Ṣ. For more see Romanization of Telugu)
|Composition||Raga||Tala||Music Set By||Language||Other Info|
|Adivō Alladivō Śriharivāsamu
అదివో అల్లదివో శ్రీహరివాసము
|Alara Cañcalamaina Ātmalanduṇḍa
అలర చంచలమైన ఆత్మలందుండ
|Rāga mālika||khanDa cApu||Garimella Balakrishna Prasad||Telugu|||
|Alarulu Kuriayaga Āḍinadē
అలరులు కురియగ ఆడినదే
|Dheerasankarabharanam||Rallapalli Ananta Krishna Sharma||Telugu|
|Anni mantramulu nindē yāvahiñcenu
అన్ని మంత్రములు ఇందే ఆవహించెనూ
|Antaryāmi Alaśiti Solaśiti
అంతర్యామి అలసితి సొలసితి
|Bhāvayāmi Gōpālabālaṁ Manassēvitaṁ
భావయామి గోపాలబాలం మనస్సేవితం
भावयामि गोपालबालं मनस्सेवितम्
|Yamunā Kaḷyāṇi||Khanda Chapu||Kadayanallur Venkataraman (The brilliant composer, who tuned a majority of Devotional songs sung by M.S.Subbalakshmi)||Sanskrit|||
|Śuddha Dhanyasi||Adi||Nedunuri Krishnamurthy||Telugu|||
|Brahma Kaḍigina Pādamu
బ్రహ్మ కడిగిన పాదము
|Mukhāri||Adi||Rallapalli Ananta Krishna Sharma||Telugu'|
|Cakkani Talliki Chāngu Bhaḷā
చక్కని తల్లికి ఛాంగుభళా
|Cāladā Harināma Saukhyāmr̥tamu
చాలదా హరినామ సౌఖ్యామృతము
|Cēri Yaśōdaku Śiśuvitaḍu
చేరి యశోదకు శిశువితఁడు
|Candamāma Rāve Jābilli Rāve
చందమామ రావే జాబిల్లి రావే
|Dēvadēvaṁ Bhajē Divya Prabhāvaṁ
దేవదేవం భజే దివ్య ప్రభావం
देवदेवं भजे दिव्यप्रभावम्
|Hindolam||Khanda Chapu||Sripada Pinakapani||Sanskrit|
|ḍōlāyāṁ Cālā ḍōlāyāṁ
డోలాయాం చల డోలాయాం
|ēmokō ciguruṭadharamuna eḍaneḍakastūri niṃḍenu
ఏమకో చిగురుటధరమున కస్తూరి నిండెను
|ē Purāṇamuna Eṁta Vedakinā
ఏ పురాణమున ఎంత వెదకినా
|GovindāŚrita Gōkula Br̥ndā
గోవిందాశ్రిత గోకుల బృందా
|Harināmame Kaḍu Ānandakaramu
హరినామమే కడు ఆనందకరము
|Indariki Abhayammuliccu Cēyi
ఇందరికి అభయమ్ములిచ్చు చేయి
|Itarulaku Ninneruga Taramā
ఇతరులకు నిన్నెరుగ తరమా
|Jō Acyutānanda Jō Jō Mukundā
జో అచ్యుతానంద జో జో ముకుందా
|Kanṭi Śukravāramu Gaḍiyalēḍiṁṭa
కంటి శుక్రవారము గడియలేడింట
|Koṁḍalalō Nelakonna Kōnēṭi Rāyaḍu Vāḍu
కొండలలో నెలకొన్న కోనేటి రాయడు వాడు
|kṣīrābdi kanyakaku Śrī Mahālakṣmikini
క్షీరాబ్ది కన్యకకు శ్రీ మహాలక్ష్మికిని
|Kulukaka Naḍavārō Kommalārā
కులుకక నడవరో కొమ్మలారా
|Madhava Kesava Madhusoodhana
మాధవ కేశవ మధుసూదన విష్ణు
माधव केशव मधुसूदना
|Mēdini Jīvula Gāva Mēlukōvayyā
మీదిని జీవుల గావ మేలుకోవయ్యా
|Muddugārē Yaśōda Muṅgiṭa Mutayamu vīḍu
ముద్దుగారే యశోద ముంగిట ముత్యము వీడు
|Mūsina Mutyālakēlē Moragulu
మూసిన ముత్యాలకేలే మొరగులు
|Nallani Mēni Nagavu Chūpulavāḍu
నల్లని మేని నగవు చూపులవాడు
|Nānāṭi Batuku Nāṭakamu
నానాటి బతుకు నాటకము
|Nārāyaṇa Tē Namō Namō
నారాయణ తే నమో నమో
नारायण ते नमो नमो
|Neyyamullallō Nērēḷḷo Voyyana ūreḍi Uvviḷḷo
నెయ్యములల్లో నేరేళ్ళో వొయ్యన ఊరెడి ఉవ్విళ్ళో
|Nitya Pūjalivivō Nericinānōhō
|Paluku Tēnelatalli Pavaḷincenu
పలుకు తేనెలతల్లి పవళించెను
|Poḍaganṭimayya mimmu Puruṣōttamā
పొడగంటిమయ్యా మిమ్ము పురుషోత్తమా
|Śriman Narāyaṇā Śriman Narāyaṇā Nī Śri Pādamē Śaraṇu
శ్రీమన్నారాయణ శ్రీమన్నారాయణ నీ శ్రీపాదమే శరణు
|Rajīva Nētrāya Raghavāya Namō
రాజీవ నేత్రాయ రాఘవాయ నమో
राजीवनेत्राय राघवाय नमो
|Madhyamavathi||Khanda Chapu||K. J. Yesudas||Sanskrit|
|Siruta Navvulavāḍu Sinnakka
సిరుత నవ్వులవాడు సిన్నక్కా
|Ṣōḍaśa Kaḷānidhiki Ṣoḍaśōpacāramulu
షోడశ కళానిధికి షోడశోపచారములు
|Bowli||Adi||Telugu||Tatva Prabōdha Keertana|
Sanskrit: वन्देहं जगद्वल्लभं
Telugu: వందేహం జగద్వల్లభం
|Hamsadhvani||Khanda Chapu||Sanskrit||In praise of lord Venkaṭēśvara|
|Vandē Vāsudēvaṁ Śrīpatiṁ
వందే వాసుదేవం శ్రీపతిం
वन्दे वासुदेवं श्रीपतिम्
|Vēḍukoṁdāmā Vēṅkaṭagiri Veṅkaṭeśvaruni Veḍukoṁdāmā
వేడుకొందామా వేంకటగిరి వేంకటేశ్వరుని వేడుకొందామా
|Vinnapālu Vinavale Viṁtaviṁtalu
విన్నపాలు వినవలె వింతవింతలు
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- Jackson (1999), p. 105.
- Jackson (1999), p. 216.
- Jackson (1999), p. 265.
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- "Annamacharya's 600th birth anniversary celebrated". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 6 April 2009.
- "All are equal before God". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 14 July 2000. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
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- Campbell, AD (1849). A grammar of the Telugu language (3 ed.). Hindu Press. p. xiii.
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