Monday, July 17, 2006

How it all started!! (Part 2)

The time has come to write part 2 of this rather interesting (yeah, right) story on how I became interested in Carnatic Music.

So one day I was watching Thillana Mohanmbal, a popular Tamil movie. In that movie, Sivaji Ganesan plays a Nadaswaram vidhwan. The story is set during the British rule. He is invited to play in a Zamindar's house but at the last minute is told that he can't play since the English sahibs wanted to dance. A short-tempered Sivaji storms out and finds that a huge crowd of villagers had gathered in front of the Zamindar's house to hear his playing. After some prodding, he starts playing outside the Zamindar's house which disturbs the Englishmen's dance. They challenge him to play something to which they could dance and he starts playing the famous English note also known as Madurai Mani Iyer note (important). The crowd starts dancing to the music and everyone is happy.

The English note was composed by Sri Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar, a renowned Harikatha exponent and composer in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Madurai Mani Iyer, who spent some time under the tutelage of the Bhagavathar popularized this composition in his concerts. Almost all of his concerts ended with the English note followed by the Mangalam and even if he did not sing it, the crowd invariably demanded it and he always acceded to their request.

After that scene in the movie, my Mom told me about the significance of the English note and made me listen to the original version by MMI. I found it very enjoyable and out of curiosity started listening to the other songs in that tape. The contents of the tape are:

1. Thathvamariya tharama - Reetigowla (Yes, the same Madisekaran Magane)

2. Nijamarmulanu - Umabharanam

3. Maa Janaki - Kamboji

4. Sarasamadana - Kapinarayani

5. Sarasamukhi - Gowda Malhar (Garuda Malhar)

6. Eppo Varuvaro - Jonpuri

7. English Note - Sankarabharanam

What an awesome cassette!! That was it. I had become hooked to CM!! I kept listening to that tape again and again. Whether it was MMI's magical voice or his simple style or my age (teenager) or the music I'll never know. Am I glad that my Mom made me listen to that tape? You bet!! :-)


  1. [...] Filed under: Carnatic Music — Sankar Khrishnamurthy @ 2:05 am Mmhm..  How many folks did that cassette initiate into listening/getting interested in carnatic music?  That was one of the earliest [...]

  2. even the first song of mmi is very good and enjoyable. MMI mesmerises his audience.