Vismaya I & II released in India


A two part CD recording titled 'Vismaya - Nottusvara Sahityas of Dikshitar' containing all of the 39 nottusvara sahityas of Muthusvami Dikshitar - recorded with Indian voices and largely Celtic instrumentation was pre-released in Chennai at Narada Gana Sabha on Sunday the 23rd of November at a function of  Arsha Kalarangam honoring the veterans of Indian Classical Music.  All of the Arsha Kala Bhushana award receipients - B. Rajam Iyer, Lalgudi Jayaraman, T. K. Murthy, Kalpakam Swaminathan and T. N. Krishnan were presented with a copy of this CD recording by Swami Dayananda Saraswati - founder of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.

This CD recording has been researched and produced by US based visionary musician and composer Kanniks Kannikeswaran.


Kannikeswaran who spoke during the occasion described the background of the music. A number of popular folk and other western melodies (primarily Irish and Scottish) arrived in the India during the rule of the British East India Company.  Composer Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775-1835) wrote lyrics in classical Sanskrit in an unprecedented manner to some of these tunes when he heard them played by the British bands at Fort St. George, Madras, India. The result is a set of 39 compositions that are referred to as the nottusvara sahityas.

 The beauty of this genre of music is that it is neither completely Indian nor completely western, yet it is uniquely both Indian and Western at the same time.  Given the easily accessible nature of the music it easily serves as ideal introductory material to the world of Indian classicism.

The nottusvara sahityas have been the subject of Kanniks Kannikeswaran’s research for the last three years. His award winning paper on this topic was presented at the Chennai Music Academy during the annual music conference in 2007. 

This recording was released earlier in the USA with the title  ‘Vismaya – An Indo Celtic Musical Journey’. In conjunction

Vismaya is a historic recording. It represents the first time that the entire genre of music has been recorded and published. Music written in the Indian notation is available for 38 of the 39 compositions. The 39th composition has been arranged by Kannikeswaran to the melodic contour of an ancient band tune in a similar genre.

Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao of the American Institute of Indian Studies describes the recording as ‘a marvelous effort and a collection to be owned and cherished by every musician’.  Read a review by Dr. PP Narayanaswamy here.

Kannikeswaran who spoke during the occasion expressed his vision of this music reaching out to children all over India. Mrs. Y.G.Parthasarathy who spoke during the occasion expressed her commitment to adopting this music as  part of the Padma Seshadri music syllabus.

Kanniks has been sharing the results of his work through lecture concerts at various venues in the United States. He will be giving presentations on this topic at selected venues in India later this year.

 Kannikeswaran can be reached at 98404-59225 and at

Click here to listen to samples from Vismaya.


Vismaya - An Indo Celtic Musical Journey Copyright © 2008 K. Kannikeswaran


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