Musings on Melodious Music          Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan           The story behind the photograph, as narrated by Chozhanadan, is that Lata having arrived in Madras shortly after the release of Gemini’sAvvaiyar, was taken to see the

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musings on Melodious Music

Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan

 

 

The story behind the photograph, as narrated by Chozhanadan, is that Lata having arrived in Madras shortly after the release of Gemini’sAvvaiyar, was taken to see the film. She was stunned by KBS’ vocal prowess and when they met, she ran her fingers down the latter’s throat saying she wanted to feel the cords that had sung such songs. She then desired to have a photo taken with KBS and it was fulfilled by Vaidy, a photographer from Carnatic Studio at Mount Road/Patullos Road corner.

 

After returning to Bombay, Lata sent a letter to S.S. Vasan of Gemini Studios, under whose banner and direction the film was made. In it, she writes that she considers the film a fitting outcome of Vasan’s love for music and devotion to god. She also speaks of how her eyes welled up when she watched KBS sing and act as Avvai. “When great artistes sing, we get to see their devotion to the art and the extent of their years of practice. If I had been Ganesha, I would forever be singing the praises of this devotee. I have no other words to express my respect for Smt. K.B. Sundarambal.”

 

As Sikkil Guracharan was getting off the blocks with a fast paced Varnam ( I am told singers begin with such genre because it enables them to clear their throat and  to set the pace- of course, the oft heard story is that it was Ariyakudi Ramanuja Aiyangar who set the protocol for a 150 minute katcheri. 99.9999999 of artistes stick to this regime. We know who comes in the 0.0000001 bracket), I got to furiously key in my words.

 

I wanted to go anecdotal. After all I am in charge. I wanted it to be interesting to myself first. I have heard K B Sundarambal not just live but at home. She lived in Karur, behind my grandfather’s house. I was a child ( it must be aeons ago, I agree) and had the good fortune to listen to her practice routine. To this day, I can recall the pitches she travelled on high octaves. And she could take rest there. Never lose her breath. And come down in a jiffy, as if she skating down on thin ice. It was truly unbelievable.

 

And then I remembered the mutual admiration, regard and respect that Lata Mangeshkar and MS Amma had for each other. What voices! KBS had a naturally loud voice. Yet, when she spoke she mumbled. It was a singing voice. Stentorian. I was told that she used to keep marbles in the mouth and played with them for long hours for enhanced ‘voice culture’. True, false, apocryphal, who knows? Interesting, right.

 

That gets me to Nanabhoy Ardeshir Palkhivala, the courtroom genius. He had a visible stammer which was ‘embarrassing’ as he recounted. He used to go to nearby hillock and have ‘marbles in the mouth’ when he kept repeating multiple verses. He kept at it for years. The result: He addressed 13 Judges of the Supreme Court in the Keahavananda Bharati case, for minutes, hours, days,weeks and more than a month- the ‘zenith of which has remained unsurpassed’ as Justice HR Khanna wrote.

 

Then there was the Bowral boy. He played with a grandfather stick- not even a single stump to begin with- in the rear of his home. And his mother was Larwood,Voce and Verity. Hours in end, Don Bradman practiced and the result was 29 centuries in just 56 Test matches.Focus.Concentration. Discipline. Dedication,all rolled into one, in these greats. The gift of the lord was honed to near perfection by hard work and diligence. When we see the successes of these GOATs, we do not get to see the long, long hours is sustained training and hardship that goes behind it.

 

Read this succinct review of MS Amma’s famous concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in 1996, a rare event, worthy of recall even today.  “ Subbulakshmi’s vocal communication transcends words. The cliché of ‘the voice used as an instrument` never seemed more appropriate. It could fly flutteringly or carry on a lively dialogue with the accompanists. Subbulakshmi and her ensemble are a revelation to Western ears. Their return can be awaited with only eagerness.” The occasion was akin to NYT’s Editorial on the famous dissent of HR Khanna in the ADM Jabalpur case.

 

It seems once Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer was supposed to give a concert in a wedding ceremony at Tanjore.

 

The bride’s father requested that his son (bride’s brother) play the Mridangam for MV Iyer. He also added that his son is budding artist.

 

MV Iyer agreed on the matter. After the concert wa s over , the following happened.

 

Bride’s Father (BF): En Son Eppadi vaasichaan?

 

MVI: Avan enga en paatukku vasichaan. “Avan pattukku” vasichidindiundhan.

 

BF: Enna aanalum neenga avanukku thani AAvarthana kotduthirukkanum!

 

MVI: Oh! Atha kekkarela !!Kutchery poora avan thania thane vasichindirundhan. Athanalathan…

 

Just one more- with a Mangalam touch-concluding song in any concert.

 

In a concert at Rani Seethai hall at Chennai, Maharajapuram Santhanam was at his best that evening and around 9.00PM, he asked ‘ Idhayam Pesukiradhu’ Manian who was sitting in the first row ( Manian  was an ardent lover of Santhanam’s Music) ‘ Enna mangalam padalama’ meaning ‘ Shall I close the Concert with Mangalam’..

 

Manian replied ‘ Neenga paadinal evvalavu venumanalum ketkalam’ ( meaning If u sing, we can listen without any time limit’..

 

Santhanam in his subtle  humour, replied to Manian  immediately by singing ‘ Vilayada Idhu Nerama”. ( Is it time to play?).

 

Note: With apologies to those who may be unfamiliar in the vernacular. Translation would kill the quintessence.

 

( Author us practicing advocate in the Madras High Court)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musings on Melodious Music

Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan

 

 

The story behind the photograph, as narrated by Chozhanadan, is that Lata having arrived in Madras shortly after the release of Gemini’sAvvaiyar, was taken to see the film. She was stunned by KBS’ vocal prowess and when they met, she ran her fingers down the latter’s throat saying she wanted to feel the cords that had sung such songs. She then desired to have a photo taken with KBS and it was fulfilled by Vaidy, a photographer from Carnatic Studio at Mount Road/Patullos Road corner.

 

After returning to Bombay, Lata sent a letter to S.S. Vasan of Gemini Studios, under whose banner and direction the film was made. In it, she writes that she considers the film a fitting outcome of Vasan’s love for music and devotion to god. She also speaks of how her eyes welled up when she watched KBS sing and act as Avvai. “When great artistes sing, we get to see their devotion to the art and the extent of their years of practice. If I had been Ganesha, I would forever be singing the praises of this devotee. I have no other words to express my respect for Smt. K.B. Sundarambal.”

 

As Sikkil Guracharan was getting off the blocks with a fast paced Varnam ( I am told singers begin with such genre because it enables them to clear their throat and  to set the pace- of course, the oft heard story is that it was Ariyakudi Ramanuja Aiyangar who set the protocol for a 150 minute katcheri. 99.9999999 of artistes stick to this regime. We know who comes in the 0.0000001 bracket), I got to furiously key in my words.

 

I wanted to go anecdotal. After all I am in charge. I wanted it to be interesting to myself first. I have heard K B Sundarambal not just live but at home. She lived in Karur, behind my grandfather’s house. I was a child ( it must be aeons ago, I agree) and had the good fortune to listen to her practice routine. To this day, I can recall the pitches she travelled on high octaves. And she could take rest there. Never lose her breath. And come down in a jiffy, as if she skating down on thin ice. It was truly unbelievable.

 

And then I remembered the mutual admiration, regard and respect that Lata Mangeshkar and MS Amma had for each other. What voices! KBS had a naturally loud voice. Yet, when she spoke she mumbled. It was a singing voice. Stentorian. I was told that she used to keep marbles in the mouth and played with them for long hours for enhanced ‘voice culture’. True, false, apocryphal, who knows? Interesting, right.

 

That gets me to Nanabhoy Ardeshir Palkhivala, the courtroom genius. He had a visible stammer which was ‘embarrassing’ as he recounted. He used to go to nearby hillock and have ‘marbles in the mouth’ when he kept repeating multiple verses. He kept at it for years. The result: He addressed 13 Judges of the Supreme Court in the Keahavananda Bharati case, for minutes, hours, days,weeks and more than a month- the ‘zenith of which has remained unsurpassed’ as Justice HR Khanna wrote.

 

Then there was the Bowral boy. He played with a grandfather stick- not even a single stump to begin with- in the rear of his home. And his mother was Larwood,Voce and Verity. Hours in end, Don Bradman practiced and the result was 29 centuries in just 56 Test matches.Focus.Concentration. Discipline. Dedication,all rolled into one, in these greats. The gift of the lord was honed to near perfection by hard work and diligence. When we see the successes of these GOATs, we do not get to see the long, long hours is sustained training and hardship that goes behind it.

 

Read this succinct review of MS Amma’s famous concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in 1996, a rare event, worthy of recall even today.  “ Subbulakshmi’s vocal communication transcends words. The cliché of ‘the voice used as an instrument` never seemed more appropriate. It could fly flutteringly or carry on a lively dialogue with the accompanists. Subbulakshmi and her ensemble are a revelation to Western ears. Their return can be awaited with only eagerness.” The occasion was akin to NYT’s Editorial on the famous dissent of HR Khanna in the ADM Jabalpur case.

 

It seems once Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer was supposed to give a concert in a wedding ceremony at Tanjore.

 

The bride’s father requested that his son (bride’s brother) play the Mridangam for MV Iyer. He also added that his son is budding artist.

 

MV Iyer agreed on the matter. After the concert wa s over , the following happened.

 

Bride’s Father (BF): En Son Eppadi vaasichaan?

 

MVI: Avan enga en paatukku vasichaan. “Avan pattukku” vasichidindiundhan.

 

BF: Enna aanalum neenga avanukku thani AAvarthana kotduthirukkanum!

 

MVI: Oh! Atha kekkarela !!Kutchery poora avan thania thane vasichindirundhan. Athanalathan…

 

Just one more- with a Mangalam touch-concluding song in any concert.

 

In a concert at Rani Seethai hall at Chennai, Maharajapuram Santhanam was at his best that evening and around 9.00PM, he asked ‘ Idhayam Pesukiradhu’ Manian who was sitting in the first row ( Manian  was an ardent lover of Santhanam’s Music) ‘ Enna mangalam padalama’ meaning ‘ Shall I close the Concert with Mangalam’..

 

Manian replied ‘ Neenga paadinal evvalavu venumanalum ketkalam’ ( meaning If u sing, we can listen without any time limit’..

 

Santhanam in his subtle  humour, replied to Manian  immediately by singing ‘ Vilayada Idhu Nerama”. ( Is it time to play?).

 

Note: With apologies to those who may be unfamiliar in the vernacular. Translation would kill the quintessence.

 

( Author us practicing advocate in the Madras High Court)

 

 

 

 

 

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