Tyagaraja Aradhana is an annual Carnatic music festival held in January and February. Many exponents of Carnatic music come to perform and are watched by thousands of ardent fans of Indian classical music. It is associated with the world famous singer and saint Tyagaraja.
Indian classical music which owns a sacred place in the Indian culture takes pride in having hosted several music festivals in different parts of the country that portray musicians, vocalists & artists of different music genres. These festivals which usually are held in the memory of one or another music legend are considered vital in keeping several Indian musical traditions alive.As indicated by the name, the Thyagaraja Music Festival is indeed celebrated in the memory of the great saint-cum-musician, Thyagraja, held on an annual basis in Thiruvaiyaru, Tamilnadu, where Thyagraja had spent his whole lifetime and also attained samadhi. An eight day long musical show is held under the auspices of Sri Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha at the saint’s samadhi at Thiruvaiyaru which is indeed a festive event. Most of the leading exponents of Carnatic music come to perform and are watched by thousands of ardent fans of Indian classical music in the month of January when the festival commemorates. In order to accommodate the large number of patrons that come to the concert every year, a huge complex is being constructed at Thiruvaiyaru.
The group performance by hundreds of Carnatic musicians who pay their homage to the saint composer Thyagaraja by rendering his ‘pancharathna kritis’ (five jewels of his renderings) in chorus at the saint’s samadhi on the banks of the Cauvery at Thiruvaiyaru is indeed the main attraction of the Thyagaraja music festival. Even today Thyagaraja is admired for his five gems and thereby occupies the eternal position of a role model for all those associated with Carnatic music. The devotees and musicians following the singing of the kritis also sing the ‘Unchavruthi Bhajan’ starting from the saint’s house on Thirumanjanaveedhi untilarriving at the samadhi. Another popular belief captivating young artists is that they will be blessed with a melodious voice if they anoint the shrine with honey and sing Thyagaraja’s songs at his memorial.
It is interesting to note that the Thyagaraja Aradhana music festival is now celebrated in many places all over the world. However, the Aradhana festival at Thiruvaiyaru in southern India is much valued.
It is indeed a matter of pride that in the U.S.A., a music festival known as the Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana held in Cleveland, Ohio, every April. Usually, doyens of Carnatic music preside over, and perform in this festival.