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The Pensieve

If you have something to say, I might be saying something as well

Month

February 2016

The Real Show

We know there is so much drama, hype and emotions in a reality show, right. All for a TRP rating one would think. Midnight shoots, contracts to sing whenever summoned and capturing you weep on TV – is probably lesser known. But the real show starts much earlier than all this.

I was talking to this friend when she narrated an incident that took me to nostalgia (not in the nicer memory sense).

Eight years ago – me in yet another popular TV studio auditioning for a then popular TV competition. I got till the third round where I had to sing something of a genre I wasn’t comfortable with – I thought I did a decent rendition of thoodhu varuma when I walked out. An uncle from the audience with a familiar face walked up to me and said, “you did pretty well, they were talking about putting you in already. Why don’t you call me once you are selected; I am looking for someone to sing the title song of a serial that I’m producing? Maybe we can use your voice…” It was then I realised he was a serial actor from the same TV.

No calls came and so I called this actor / producer back after 3 days. He asked me what I had sung. Then he asked me why I wasn’t selected. How would I know? “Did they ask you anything else?” I blinked. “Well, if they had not called you yet, then you should have been rejected”, he said and cut the call.

Getting back to current day, this is the story my friend had shared.

She went to the auditioning grounds of yet another popular TV music show and stood as the third person in queue. But 150 of them got selected much before her and they were double promoted – owing to the fact that they learnt from the judge there.

Poor girl had sung every song she was asked before she was rejected. When she came out, a well wisher had suggested her to take a detour and go meet the voice specialist there. She had to repeat sing the same list of songs before the guru asked what was her result in the panel. Then he said same goes here, and rejected her. When she came out, this is what the well wisher said: “If you had offered donation or else asked to learn from them, you would have gone through easily!”

I didn’t have words to console her when she shared the story, but having listened to her sing in person, I know she has a beautiful voice and is very much capable of going places.

Comparing the two instances, I just thought… Had I figured it out that day itself, at least I wouldn’t have doubted my ability to perform.

– Until next,
Vid 🙂

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A tribute to Thyagu

The Composer

Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Syama Sastri are regarded as the carnatic music Trinity. All three of them were born in Thiruvarur, and were carnatic music composers, but their music, lyrics and favourite God were distinctively different. Saint Thyagaraja (let me call him Thyagu in this post) in particular, wrote about, sang and worshipped Lord Rama in telugu. They say that out of 24,000 songs said to have been composed by him in his lifetime, only about 700 songs remain now.

The Tribute

In order to pay respects to the genius works of Saint Thyagaraja, the Thyagaraja Aradhana festival is held at Thiruvaiyyaru. On the day of bahula panchami (the day when he left his mortal self), musicians from all over sing/play the Pancharatna krithis in unison.

The Format

The event starts with a prayer to Lord Ganesha, Sriganapathi nee sevimparare in Sourashtram, followed by a song for the teacher Gurulekha etuvanti in Gowri Manohari.

Then ensues the pancharathnas, also known as the gana raga pancharatnas. Thyagu wrote them in nattai, gowlai, arabhi, varali and sree ragas. They are:

Jagadhanandha karaka – Hail the one who brings happiness to this world
Dhudugugala nanne – Rama, please save me from my sins and arrogance
Sadhinchane o manasa – I achieved, O mind!
Kana kana ruchira – It is an endless pleasure to see you
Endaro mahanubavulu – A salute to all the great people out there!

This is generally followed by individual song offerings of musicians showcasing their talent.

Finally, we conclude by singing a Thyagu’s song on Lord Hanuman, a fellow worshipper of Ram, and then the mangalam.

Thyagaraja
Art by Deva

Going Global…

As it was not feasible for every musician in the world to both go and sing at the same venue on the same day, and still out of love for Thyagu’s music, people from various regions started conducting their own aradhanas for Thyagu, preferably around the same period. To name a few – Cleveland AradhanaStree Thyagaraja Pancharatnam, Chennaiyil Thiruvaiyyaru and every sabha conducting one on its own.

And also Local!

That is how we also started. When we were out of Chennai, and not connected to the musical frenzy here, we decided to call friends who share the same interest and sit at home and sing. This started happening every year and we started getting audience as well. But when we moved to a town (more like a big village) and conducted the aradhana there, more than half the locality turned up for the performance, in a place where I had thought none really cared about carnatic music. And thus we are back here continuing tradition for the past 17 years and all set to perform this year, this weekend. Fingers crossed.

Endaro mahanubavulu; anthariki vandhanamu _/\_

– Until next,

Vid 🙂

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