ANNAMACHARYA (1424 - 1503)
Musical Background: He was the eldest member of a family of composers. A great devotee of Lord Venkateswara, he started composing at the age of 16.
Region: He was from Tallapakkam, Andhra Pradesh and is said to have composed many songs while at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
Contribution: He was one of the earliest to compose in the kriti format with three sections, Pallavi, Anupallavi and Charanam. He was a versatile composer who is believed to have composed about 30,000 songs, of which only a few hundreds are available. Sadly, the original tunes for these too have been lost. However, they're now being re-set to other tunes and rendered. He was the earliest composer of the Keertana and Sringara Padas in Telugu. It is believed that the latter were the inspiration for Kshetragna’s Padams. Annamacharya was given the title of "Pada Kavita Pitamaha" (the Great Father of Pada poetry). His songs, which sprang forth from his great devotion, were beautiful both in musical and lyrical content.
Theme: His compositions are in praise of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati. Some of them are also philosophical in nature while certain others are based on Sringara rasa (romanticism).
Languages used: Sanskrit and Telugu.
Signature: He used the mudra Venkateswara with slight variations depending upon the context.
Popular Compositions: Nanatibratuku (Revati), Sriman Narayana (Bowli), Bhavamulona (Suddhadhanyasi), and so on.
Remarks: The songs of Annamacharya which were inscribed on copper plates, were stored in a cellar in the Tirupati temple and discovered recently. They are now housed in the Research Institute at Tirupati.