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Rajee Narayan

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Raajee NaaraayaN – Rajee Narayan is a Bharatanatyam teacher with nearly half a century of experience. Besides, she is also a composer of lyrics and music for Bharatanatyam (she also sings). Her publications include Nritya Geeta Mala Vol. I and II, and Natya Sastra Mala, which include her compositions in multiple scripts with notation. She has composed invocations, sabdams, varnams, padams, and tillanas, taking care to ensure that the raga and tala in each case are appropriate to the mood of the sahitya. Against the background of dance music composed mainly by the Tanjore Quartette, her ccompositions are being recognized as fresh new songs for bharatanatyam.

Raajee Narayan was born the eleventh child to Smt. Gangammal and Sri Narayana Iyer, sixty-eight years ago. Sri Narayana Iyer was a multi-faceted personality. He was a Vedic scholar, a proficient writer of drama scripts and religious discourses, in English and Tamil. From South India, he was the first representative of The Gramophone Company of India (H.M.V.) and began creating dramas on gramaphone records. He was also a film producer. Smt. Gangammal was the first South Indian Brahmin lady to sing publicly and knew thousands of traditional Carnatic songs. One of Rajee Narayan’s sisters was her first music guru; whilst another was her first dance guru. Rajee is convent educated, with Hindi as her second language; during her times, a rarity in South India. At school, she underwent training in piano and learnt western dances like the Irish jig and the Scottish reel.

She started serious training in Bharata Natyam and Carnatic music from age four. She came into the limelight at four and a half years, when she cut her first gramophone disc. She acted as a child star in two of her father’s films. She underwent advanced training in music from Thoraiyur Rajagopala Sarma and in Bharata Natyam and the Natyashastra from Guru Smt. Lalitha of Saraswathi Gana Nilayam, Chennai. She also learnt Kathak and light Hindustani music; passing technical examinations and giving public performances from age nine. She was actively involved in The International Red Cross movement, during the second world war and gave many charity performances for the wounded soldiers. This brought her recomendatory letters from the then Governors of her state, like Lord Hope, Sir Nye and others, for her war efforts. She has been a regular All India Radio artiste for over forty years.

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