Vinjamuri Anasuya Devi
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|Dr. Vinjamuri (Avasarala) Anasuya Devi|
May 12, 1920 |
Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India
Dr. Avasarala (Vinjamuri) Anasuya Devi is a singer, music composer, musicologist, author and expert in playing harmonium.
She was the first woman music composer in Andhra Pradesh, first woman music director in South India, first woman music composer in All India Radio, first to sing classical, folk and light music on radio and concert, first to publish Andhra’s light and folk music in Carnatic notation. She has got her first gramophone record at the age of 8 years. It was the famous folk song Ayyo Koyyoda that was later used in that equally famous film song, Yeruvaaka saagaro ranno chinnanna.
Anasuya was born in a family of littérateurs, musicians and artistes on May 12, 1920. She learnt Carnatic music from Munuganti Venkata Rao. She has perfected the art of Folk music and literature from Valluri Jagannatha Rao. Her father Vinjamuri Venkata Lakshmi Narasimha Rao was a poet and her mother Venkata Rathnamma edited a literary magazine Anasuya in 1914, first women’s magazine in Telugu, featuring women writers and Ajanta style illustrations.
A harbinger of the Renaissance Movement in Andhra Pradesh, Anasuya Devi introduced light music and folk music in her concerts from 1928 and over All India Radio, Madras from 1938. Her voice has a peculiar and profound rustic timbre that blends naturally with folk songs.
Anasuya Devi has the rare distinction of singing during the Congress sessions and on various occasions, before luminaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad and S. Radhakrishnan.
She has composed tunes for some Indian films - Vikata Yogi and Vanjikottai Valiban in Tamil and Rojulu Maarayi, Malleeswari, Bangaru Papa, Aggi Ramudu, Penki Pellam, Kanaka Durga Mahathmyam, Oka Oori Katha in Telugu and Raj Tilak in Hindi. She worked as a music director for Mahatma Kabir (Kannada) and Bommalata (Telugu).
Until the age of 20 years, Anasuya was giving solo concerts. She trained her younger sister Vinjamuri Seetha Devi and from 1940 onwards they started singing together. She collected many folk songs and helped her sister to get her M. Lit. degree. On a fellowship from the Central Sahitya Akademi in 1982-83 Vinjamuri sisters toured several districts in Andhra Pradesh to collect and restore folk songs.
She published seven books and her autobiography, two of them – Bhava geethalu and Janapada Geyalu were released at a function to mark the completion of 80 years of Anasuya Devi’s contribution, in Chennai on April 12, 2008.
Actor-singer A.S.Giri married Anasuya Devi and they had five children, including Houston-based dance guru Ratna Kumar, Krishna Giri, Seetha Ratnakar, Kamala Srikar, and Neehar Giri.
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