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Dr. R S Nandakumar

Nandakumar [b. 1960, Bhadravathi, Karnataka] is a Natural Musician. He is a fourth generation musician in the parampara of St.Tyagaraja: Great grandson of the great Pallavi Ramalingayya, grandson of musician couple Ramaiah Varalakshmi, son and disciple of Mahamahopadhyaya Dr.R.Sathyanarayana. His paternal uncles include Vocalists, Composers, Veena players, Painter, Sculptor, and Modeller etc., of national stature.

Nandakumar is a very respected vocalist with an amazing tonal quality and several original compositions. He has also directed music for dance and dance dramas. The famous Mysore Royal anthem "Kaye Sri Gawri" was directed and sung by Sri Nandakumar. 


Sri Nandakumar is an ardent worshipper of Srividya and is a Srividya guru for several disciples in Mysore, Bangalore, USA, Germany and UK. He received the Srividya deeksha from his father the well known musicologist Pradma Sri Dr. Sathyanarayana. 

Nandakumar is a inventor by nature and has great craftsmanship in everything he does. This craftsmanship has manifested differently in different facets of his life and he has been the originator of many of his own Taala avadhaa combinations and compositions. His Taala avadhaana compositions are brisk, highly complex and a delight to the listeners. Kanchana Sisters are blessed to have learnt many avadhaanas from this great master and an incredibly humble and inspiring guru of Taala avadhana.

An Artistic Life

Nanda Kumar’s music has many unique features: rich, rangy, supple voice engineered by himself; extensive conventional repertoire; he is unique in the whole of India in resurrecting and reviving the beautiful and ancient wealth of song heritage of Indian music of more than a thousand years ago; he presents them in attractive contemporary settings on modern platforms. Eg. Svaranka, Panchabhagi, Umatilaka, Srirangs, Kaivara, Sukasarita etc,. He has carried out extensive research into the musical heritage of the great Haridasas of Karnataka; he has thus restored to the present such precious, rare and exquisite forms as Gadya, Dandaka, Suladi, Vrittanama, Bhramaragita, Kriti archetypes, Mundige, Gundakriya etc,. He is the only person in India to sing these in their full shastraic authenticity. He is again unique in India in composing and rendering highly learned and complex Avadhana Tala Pallavis in both suladi as well as desi talas. He is also unique in the authoritative performance of the ancient musical forms: Ragalapti Rupakalapti, Chaturdandi music etc,.

Nanda Kumar has extensively traveled and sung all over India and abroad. He has held high the banner of Indian music in UK and USSR with concerts and lecture demonstrations. He was invited by the Indian Embassy in Germany (Berlin) to give concerts. He was also invited by many universities in Germany and United States of America to give Lectures on Indian Music and Dancing. He has performed extensively in all these places. In India too he has given numerous concerts and lecture demonstrations in National music festivals, conferences, seminars, workshops etc,. His research articles on the Mysore School of Bharatanatyam have secured for him a high place in the creative and critical scholarship. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, New Delhi to do research on the Ancient Prabandhas, Ela Prabandhas of Indian Music and contemporising them. His D.Litt Thesis on the subject of Sripadaraya : a Musicological Study submitted to Hampi Kannada University has been awarded D.Litt Degree. This study is very important to the contemporary status of Karnataka Music because it establishes its origin, both in formal and style content, to 15 th 16th cent.

Nanda Kumar has sung in the National network of Doordarshan, the CPC and other popular networks. He has published many audiocassettes and CDs. He broadcasts frequently on All India Radio. He has conducted the famous Indra Dhanus Orchestra of the Youth at the World Kannada Conference and was felicitated by the Govt. of Karnataka. He has received a high honor from Jagadguru Peethas. He is the Asthana Vidwan of Kanchi Kamokoti Peetham, Tamil Nadu. He is recognized as an Outstanding Musician of our country by the ICCR, New Delhi. His prestigious All India Radio Feature Vachana Pada Vaidya won the 1 st Prize. He has set to Karnataka Music all the Dohas of the Buddha tatva and has sung them before the great Urgyen Trinley Dorje, 17th Karmapa and inaugurated its singing during the Karmapa 900 International festival that was held in Bodh Gaya and New Delhi. He is the very first Karnataka Musician to set to music and sing them authentically after reconstructing it from the Charyageetis that were prevalent in Karnataka during 13th cent. Nandakumar is the very first Musician to Contemporize and perform the Word Famous Tirupati Tirumala Rock Inscriptions on the Tirupathi Tirumala Hill Temple, Andhra Pradesh in India.


Nandakumar was instrumental in successfully conducting many National Seminars, Workshops, Festivals and Vaakyartha sabhas that have illuminated many aspects of Indian culture in general and Karnataka music in particular.

Nandakumar has also served as the NGO Coordinator for the Common Wealth Games held in Delhi and the troupes he sent won the National Awards for Best Performance. He was a columnist in the Kannada Daily Newspaper Prajavani wherein he wrote about music and dance forms of our country under the pseudonym ‘Swarasana’.

He has served as a co-opted member of Sangita Nrtya Academy, Govt of Karnataka. He is also served as the Hon. Director for Prasaranga, Karnataka State Dr.Gangubai Hanagal Music and Performing Arts University, Mysore besides being a senior faculty in its Karnataka Music Department.

Nanda Kumar has many interesting dimensions: he is adept in yoga, in Srividya Tantra {Kadimarga}, a wizard in predictive Astrology etc. He is presently working on the Pooja Siddhi Kalpa of the Indian Ritualistic practices for soul enrichment.

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