In all these years I’ve never thought of writing on one topic that has caught my fascination for almost 20 years. Carnatic Music.
Why didn’t I ever write about it? Maybe it’s because I couldn’t bring myself to express in words the euphoric feeling that I get when I listen to DK Jayaraman sing Ananda Natana Prakasam in Kedaram, or MD Ramanathan singing Sagara Sayana Vibho in Bageshri. Or when KVN just sings.
Yesterday, I was listening to KVN’s rendition of Devi Brova in Chintamani ragam. My parents were obviously around and they had tears in their eyes! I just had a stupid grin plastered on my face. Yes I am like that only!
Anyway, the reason I’m in love with these songs is the potential that they have. The three people I have mentioned sing the song Devi Brova in their own ways. DKJ’s is a bit fast paced. KVN and MDR’s is slower. But the effor and the emotion they put into singing the song is the same. And the result is pretty much the same! I come from a conservative Carnatic rasikas family, where every singer after the second generation is given a once-over. My entire family is biased when it comes to Carnatic music. When it comes to certain songs only certain people should sing them. If someone else even makes an attempt at singing the same song, in their opinion (and mine), they would hate it! The first response would be, “Enna di ivan paadaraan? Davasa mantram maadhiri irukku! Avar epdi paaduvar. Kanda kandavaal-laam paada vandha indha gathi thaan. KVN andha “kapaade” idathula apdiye uruguvaar. Ivanum paadaraane!”. Yes they are quite vocal when it comes to denouncing a younger singer’s music or style. You might call us purists!
I remember about a couple of years ago when we went for a Sanjay Subrahmanyam concert at Narada Gana Sabha. He took Kapi as his main piece. Everything was alright till he finished the alapanai and the violin finished as well. He then began singing. Intha Sowkhyamani ne. A very popular Thyagaraja kriti. The first one to react was my mother. “Enna di idhu. Indha paatellaam vera yaarum paada koodathu! Adhuvum KVN andha “entho premo” edukkum-bodhe kaanula thanni vandhudume di!”. Yes I agree. But I thought Sanjay was doing a good job too. In his own way. My dad said, “Vaa di pogalaam”. That’s usually my cue to start an argument, but I couldn’t start one in Narada Gana Sabha. My cousin was trying really hard to stop laughing. We, out of respect for the musicians, made them sit down until he finished the song. Of course both of them had their heads resting against their hands as if they were having terrible migraines. We did leave after the song. I really wanted to stay listen to his tukkadas too. But there is only so much that you can do.