Early life and background
KVN was born to Kollengode Viswanathayyar and Muthulakshmi Ammal in Palghat, Kerala, to a Palakkad Iyer family, arenowned for its cultural and musical traditions, on the 15th of November, 1923. Narayanaswamy was born into a family of illustrious musicians and artists. His great-grandfather Viswam Bhagavatar was renowned for his evocative Ashtapadis and rendered services for Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal, ruler of the princely state of Travancore from 1860 to 1880. In return Viswam Bhagavatar was bestowed with and hereditary royal privileges. Viswam Bhagavatar's son, Narayana Bhagavatar continued his father's legacy. His son was violin maestro, Viswanathayyar (soon came to be known as 'Fiddle' Viswanathayyar), KVN's father. K.V.Narayanaswamy learned basic under his father and grandfather. After studying in Palghat till the fifth form, he moved to Coimbatore, where he briefly dabbled in theater. KVN even managed a role as the young Kanappan in the movie Kannappa Nayanar. The movie bombed at the box office.