People who know me well will wonder what I can write about the great poet and devotee of Lord Venkateswara. They are quite justified for their scepticism because I am a Tamilian who had lived most of his life in Tamil Nadu. I do not even know even a smatering of Telegu though living in Hyderabad since a few years now, I always hear Telugu being spoking all around me. My answer to their doubt is that no one needs to be knowing anything at all about Annamacharya and yet be absorbed to him. I must have listened to his compositions being sung since long years because a music lover need not know about the composer to appreciate his music and there is one particular incident which sharpened my taste for Annamacharya’s Kritis. We had a friendly family who have visited us occasionally. Once when the lady brought her two daughters to our house, it somehow the two young ladies sang a couple of songs. The lyrics sounded good and they rendered the songs with fervour and expertise, their mother joining them in her equally good voice. I was then told that these are Annamacharya’s compositions.
Later when we had our own PC at home I was initiated into the rudimentary uses of the computer. Straightaway, I started browsing the web and collected a good number of favourite websites which I earmarked. I learnt more about Annamacharya then though I have not gained exhaustive knowledge, because like my book collections my saved favourites were never fully read by me.
Just since a few days I had been listening to Nityasree’s renderings of some Annamacharya Keertanas from Music India online. It was a tuneful collection and I particularly like Nityasree’s voice. I have also heard other musicians like Sudha Raghunathan and the great maestro M.S. Subbulakshmi sing his keertanas.
I learnt that he composed thousands of devotional songs. Just now I refreshed my knowledge that he composed 32000 Sankeerthanas. This link will take you to Annamacharya.org: http://www.annamayya.org/shobharaj.asp. I came to this site when I searched Google for Annamacharya . You find in this site the transliteration of his compositions with their content, background and meaning. I have not checked the number of songs transliterated there. I am not biassed to this only site but suggested this at random from among around 40000 results mentioned in Google search.
Annamacharya is specific to Telugu, Lord Venkateswara and the Telugu speaking Andhra people from A.P. in particular and all those who know Telugu and also know about his compositions.
Tamil Nadu has produced the Music Trinity , Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shastri who not just composed but also set it to music. I shall touch upon the Trinity of Karnatic Music at a later time when I learn something more about them.