Papa K. S. Venkataramiah created high-quality classical melodies with artistic beauty wrote V. S. Namboothiripad, Kerala’s first music critic in 1954. 

The loopholes in his Swara playing are patched up by the continuous flow and beauty of his Raga playing. The best flavour of the rakthi ragas of Karnatic classical music can be tasted from his violin-playing, such is the general opinion among music lovers on Papa K. S. Venkataramiahthe sweep sounding violinist of the south. Music performances of senior-most vocalists of the South are often accompanied by Papa on violin. The creation of classical melodies of high quality with artistic beauty is one of the most attractive characteristics of his playing.

A great violin wizard of those days and a dominating force in the sphere of violin playing in Karnatic music, Sri Govind Swamy Pillai of Tiruchi is his teacher. During his apprenticeship under his teacher, when the Guru is out for performances, Papa got the opportunity of listening to the great music talents of the day. And in forging his present charming style of music it is said that the dance music of the South and their executants have rendered ample help. His contact with the music of Veena Dhanam and her tradition, enables him to weave beautiful music patterns to the astonishment of his listeners.


Influence of Dhanam Ammal

The dance music which consists of songs like Padams and Javalis with exorbitant melodious raga patterns has been wielding a great influence in Karnatic music for the last many centuries. Due to continuous handling from generation to generation, those compositions have a peculiar charm and beauty. Perhaps it may be because of this age-old traditional way of presentation that these Padams and Javalis have come to be considered as an authority on Carnatic Raga patterns. Veena Dhanam Ammal was one of the links in the old tradition of dance music. It was through his teacher Papa got the rare chance of close contact with the music of Dhanam Ammal. That grand old mother of revered memory in Karnatic music showed motherly affections on Papa and helped him to improve his art.

In music concerts often his part of accompaniment especially Raga alapana is sometimes more appreciated than the vocalist even though the latter may be a top-ranker. Winning the audience by presenting ragas in their essence, can often be seen in concerts with Papa on violin.

Read V. S.N’s column on Musiri here


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