When my partner started taking part in Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s rendition of ‘Thunbam Nergayil’ for what appeared the one hundredth time that day, I sat up and took discover. I wished to know why he was so entranced with it. “Didn’t you hearken to the phrases?” he requested . His considerably cryptic response set me pondering.
I’ve all the time believed that music transcends boundaries—of tradition, language and faith. Which is why Pavarotti singing Verdi’s Rigoletto moved me regardless of my utter ignorance of the Italian language. Any of us who’ve been to movies would have skilled our eyes tearing up when a somnolent violin accompanies the heroine’s break-up. Even a lone instrument taking part in with nary a beat is sufficient to set our emotions atwitter.
When such music is about to even a easy rhythmic beat, it could actually set off feelings. It’s the beat in a Tamil or Hindi track that makes folks dance, even when they don’t perceive the lyrics. After I started studying Carnatic music as a baby, not often did my academics cease to elucidate the meanings for both Tyagaraja’s Telugu songs or Purandaradasa’s Kannada songs. Even the Tamil songs had been typically in flowery and formal language and never within the easy vernacular spoken at house. It was, nevertheless, the ragas — a Sahana or a Simhendramadhyamam — that held me rapt.
My instructor, the late Seetalakshmi Venkatesan, launched me to the vachanas of the Kannada mystics Akka Mahadevi and Basavanna. As a Tamil speaker, understanding the vachanas was not straightforward, however over time as I started to know these works, it started reflecting within the pleasure I skilled whereas singing or instructing them. My husband’s epiphany with Bharatidasan’s ‘Thunbam Nergayil’ introduced me again to contemplating what position lyrics play in enriching the listening expertise of Indian music.
Position of lyrics
Folks music pre-dates all classical varieties and it’s attention-grabbing to have a look at the position lyrics play there. With their refrains, many people songs encourage us to sing alongside, serving to foster a way of group and neglect the realities of on a regular basis life. The poignant ‘Mee Dolkar’, a Marathi track of the Koli fishing group, compares the ocean to a lover ready impatiently for her companion. The quirky ‘Sasural Genda Phool’ from Chhattisgarh describes a brand new bride adjusting to her varied in-laws.
Whereas folks songs mirror the day by day lives of individuals, ghazals typically dwell on reminiscences. The well-known ‘Chupke Chupke Raat Din’ written by Maulana Hasrat Mohani and popularised by Ghulam Ali describes a love affair, the heartache of lacking a beloved, and the encounter between the lovers. The phrases tug at one’s heartstrings and Ali’s delicate rendition provides to the attract.
Tyagaraja wrote his songs in emotive and accessible Telugu, largely in first individual. His songs replicate his frame of mind whether or not it’s grief (‘Endhudhaaginaado’), craving (‘Tera tiyaga radha’) or pleasure (‘Intha Kannananda’). And his huge repertoire has various lyrical content material and context—from easy songs to the advanced Pancharatna kritis. In Hindustani music, the lyrics or bandish are checked out primarily from the lens of improvisation of melody and rhythm. The strains, often two to eight, are paeans to gods and royal patrons or describe feelings or nature. The favored ‘Aeri Aali Piya Bina’ displays a lovelorn lady’s frame of mind whereas ‘Tu Hain Malik Mera’ is a name to the divine.
Whereas classical music is sure by guidelines of grammar, the lyricists for movies have higher laissez faire. When ‘Kolaveri Di’ turned a success, it took many abruptly, however predictably, it revived the widely-held notion that lyrics had been being short-changed by an extreme give attention to melody and rhythm.
But, with out lyrics how do instrumentalists recreate the same magic? Phrases, their energy to maneuver however, can generally get in the best way of our personal creativeness — as we’ve seen with many movies, poorly tailored from books. Listening to instrumental music, nevertheless, offers the listener the liberty to think about the lyrics on a clean slate.
However, as my husband found, the ability of lyrics is certainly transcendental. Bharatidasan wrote ‘Thunbam Nergayil’, a poem about how the travails of our lives will be lessened by Tamil poetry, track, dance and knowledge. The lyric was set to tune in ragam Desh by the poet’s good friend Dandapani Desigar, enhancing the attraction of the work. And Sanjay Subrahmanyam’s emotive rendition introduced these lyrics to life in a way that bolstered the magic of the phrases.
The Bengaluru-based author is a Carnatic musician.