What a beautiful raagam. From the dripping romance and sensuality of Vanu Pondu Chalu Vaddane (listen to T Brinda singing this padam) to the serenely peaceful Sukhi Evvaro (KVN’s krithi alone (i.e., with no swarams on neraval) version being the gold standard), to the joyously beautiful Poochi Iyengar’s Nera Nammithi varnam (made even more beautiful by KVN’s sprightly way of singing) to the plebian Thillana composed by ARI (again KVN sings this beautifully, sometimes even doing the higher octave, which, when KVN does it seems to hit an aesthetic sweet spot).
Note: Kaaka is crow in Thamizh and this is how my father referred to Martin Crowe when we were watching the 1992 World Cup where, as a seven year old wide eyed boy madly in love in cricket, I was first introduced to Martin Crowe. Apart from his elegant batting, his head band was beautifully elegant; in these days of machismo, it seems to be hard to find the kind of delicate elegance embodied by Crowe. Also, the decency with which he played the game; let’s throw out all sledging and unwanted talk under the name of banter.
To see one of the greatest batsman say this:
To see the two sons I never had, Ross Taylor and Marty Guptill, run out in black, in sync with their close comrades, drawing on all their resolve and resilience, will be mesmerically satisfying. I will hold back tears all day long. I will gasp for air on occasions. I will feel like a nervous parent.
And let us not forget his innovative cricket max. I think it is a great concept: 10 overs two innings. (Also, let’s not forget SRT’s suggestion that ODI’s split into two innings of 25 overs each)
Mike Selvey has a lovely tribute here at the Guardian.
And Dileep Premachandran, one of India’s finest cricket writers has a tribute here.
Which cricket lover will not be moved to tears watching this lovely tribute video:
Manirangu is so close to Madhyamavathi and Sri raagams in “swara” space and yet so far apart from them in “raaga” space. Mamava Pattabhi Rama is a lovely song.
People often talk about authentic pataantharam (loosely translated as musical lineage) having learnt from somebody who in turn learnt from somebody going all the way to Tyagaraja but some people like Abhishek Raghuram are absolutely original geniuses. The cognoscenti tells you that a raagam like Nata Bhairavi is a “scalar” raagam (i.e a raagam where a bunch of notes are simply strung together) as opposed to a rakthi raagam (a raagam where the notes are infused with a lot of feeling, and individual phrases become important and give a hue unique to the raaga) like Saaramathi (a janyam of Nata Bhairavi) but AR refuses to be caged by these consensus built notions. Like Virender Sehwag who rewrote the rules of opening batsmanship, he charts his own brilliant, wild and beautiful path. Listen to the beautiful Nata Bhairavi in this concert where he builds the “rakthi” out of a raagam where people tell you it is a mere “scale”.
I suppose one can add that when musicians who stick to tradition sing, they mainly induce feelings of happiness, satisfaction and peace and when the innovators sing, they tend to induce feelings of excitement, wonder, awe etc;
A lovely article indeed.
There is now a common apathy for anything remotely difficult. Unlike connoisseurs who attended mehfils a century ago, audiences nowadays go to concerts mostly out of a lumpen curiosity to listen to young artists of exalted pedigree rattling off their ancestral rote-learning with aplomb. It would be unfair to undermine their stock athletic skills or their capacity to produce beautiful sounds, but they are seldom able to illustrate the inner richness of the music, as Mansur almost always managed to. Listening to him sing rare treasures like Khat, Bahaduri Todi, Sawani or Yamani Bilawal is as sublime an experience as hearing him delineate familiar ragas like Shree, Nayaki Kanada, Gaud Sarang or Bhairav. Mansur was less concerned with demonstrating his own ingenuity; he wanted his listeners to glimpse the mind at work beyond the voice. For him, making music went beyond technical acrobatics.
Contemporary audiences, attuned to the easy pleasures of singing contests, their tastes honed by a commercially driven ethos, tend to approach classical music in an intellectual vacuum. At music conferences in Calcutta — the self-proclaimed national cultural capital — one hears rousing applause after a feisty saath-sangat or a thunderous tihai, while many a subtle meend or unusual sargam goes unnoticed. The reason behind this decline goes back to what the artists routinely present before their audiences, as also to a serious lack of public discourse on classical music.
My favorite flute player 🙂
MD Ramanathan composed a lilting Sagara Sayana Vibho in Bageshri. But this Aromale by Shreya Ghoshal is a very beautiful modern day rendition of Bageshri.
Vaasanthi has beautiful tribute to Jayakanthan here:
Soon he was to overpower the literary scene of Tamil Nadu literally like a storm with short stories that revealed a deep and sensitive understanding of the downtrodden. For the first time here was a writer who did not just
portray their misery but found in the lives of rickshaw pullers, prostitutes, rowdies, pickpockets and cigarette-butt scavengers, a flaming passion, a liveliness, and truth. The compassion that entwined their characters and attitudes was so moving in his narration that the result was an elevating experience for the reader. He wrote about the slumdweller in earthy prose with firsthand knowledge of one who had lived among them in his early years of struggle when he worked as a compositor in a printing press. Suddenly it was a celebration of life, be it in dirt, squalor or a prostitute’s bed.
was also introduced to the works of the great Tamil poet Subramanya Bharati. Bharati has been Jayakanthan’s biggest inspiration to this day. There is no speech of his that is not interspersed with quotes from Bharati’s poetry. The passion with which the writer recites the quotes never fails to moisten the eyes of the listeners.
On the Diary of a madman:
Here we find expressed the essential absurdity and tragedy of life, where dream and reality merge so that we have no means of distinguishing what is true from the illusory, what has value from what is worthless;
On the Overcoat:
The use of language alone (as opposed to any conscious effort on the author’s part to impose his vision or message) to create what is literally another world, where logic does not apply, where values become transmuted and the world is turned upside down, is quite extraordinary.
Gogol did not so much work from the imagination…as by using apparently irrelevent, trivial details to astonishing effect…..
Gogol’s characters do not have psychological depth and are developed in the main purely by external physical descriptions.
On Gogol’s portrayal of women:
It is interesting to note that Gogol generally portrays women either as delicate, ethereal, impossibly unattainable beauties, or as viragos or witches, in league with the devil and ready to lure man to destruction.
Taking a walk across the beautiful, lush and verdant University of Virginia campus, I chanced upon The Aviator statue in front of Clemons Library, commemorating an airline pilot making dangerous, and ultimately tragic, runs in the first world war. I was immediately reminded of Icarus’ bold and tragic venture of flying into the sun and also Robert Browning’s lines:
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?
This juxtaposition of things differing in time but carrying the same theme, the same message, is perhaps central to life itself: of this quest after something so impossible to attain but toward which we still propel ourselves.