Category Archives: Hyderabad Brothers

Ananda Natam Aduvar Thillai

Happy Shivaratri everybody! As music lovers, our worship is music, our prayer is music and our blessing is music, is it not? And so here I am, offering a song of the Dancing Lord in worship and in prayer, praying that I shall evermore have the blessing of a heart fulfilled by music.

cosmic-microwave-map

Cosmic Microwave Map, can you spot the S and H?

It might seem strange to you but I always associate Lord Shiva with Cosmology! You see, the image I have in my mind is of Him dancing, galaxies streaming around Him, the background sound of OM keeping sruthi like a tanpura, His ascetical beautiful face blissful, His matted hair flying, the snakes on His neck swaying, the drum in Hand beating the beat of the world, His movements ecstatic, His contemplation the existence of the universe, His pulse its rhythm. So yes, I think of Cosmology when I think of Him. Knowing that Shivaratri was coming up, I picked a lecture to see from the Oxford University podcasts. I only understood parts of it but there was something there which made me laugh! Check out what the speaker shows at the 22nd minute. The letters ‘S’ and ‘H’ show up in the microwave map (see above), a cosmological message from the time the Universe was created! I wonder when they are going to find the ‘I’, ‘V’, and ‘A’!!! Lord Shiva’s signature on his handiwork, don’t you think? 🙂

There was something else which sparked my interest. The model which I had read before said that the universe was expanding like a balloon, but that the rate of expansion reduces as time passes. I had imagined that it would then attain some kind of stability. Instead, I understand (and I may be well have misunderstood!) that the expansion is in fact accelerating, and that the model that emerges is that of a universe which will expand faster and faster until it collapses into itself to become what it was before the Big Bang. And then perhaps it would start a new cycle again? Is that the cycle of destruction and creation which we ascribe to Lord Shiva? I must read up a bit more on this subject….

To remember Lord Shiva’s dance today, I have chosen a lovely song composed by Neelakanta Sivan in the raga Purvikalyani. I listened to many a rendition but this week, I couldn’t get past the old timers.. So first up is K.V.Narayanaswamy with a gorgeous rendition below.

Alternative Link : Click here and select song 3 (Free membership of Sangeethapriya required)

For a slightly longer version with an alapanai, here are the Hyderabad Brothers. I do like their singing, I should listen to them more often!

Alternate Link : Click here and select song 10 (free membership of Sangeethapriya required)


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Tamil

பல்லவி
ஆனந்த நடம் ஆடுவார் தில்லை
அம்பலம் தன்னில் அடி பணிபவர்க்(கு)-அபஜெயமில்லை (ஆனந்த)

அனுபல்லவி
தானந்தம் இல்லாத ரூபன்
தஜ்ஜம் தகஜம் தகதிமி
தளாங்கு தக  தத்திங்கிணதோம்
தளாங்கு தக  தத்திங்கிணதோம்
தக திமி(alt:திகு) தக தத்திங்கிணதோம் (ஆனந்த)

சரணம்
பாதி மதி ஜோதி பளீர் பளீர் என
பாதச் சிலம்பொலி  கலீர் கலீர் என
ஆதிக் கறை உண்ட நீலகண்டம் மின்ன

(மத்தியம காலம் )
ஹரபுர ஹரசிவ சங்கர
அருள் வர குருபர சுந்தர (alt: அருள் குருபர சிவ சுந்தர )
அண்டமும் பிண்டமும் ஆடிட
எண்திசையும் புகழ் பாடிட

pallavi
Ananda naTam ADuvAr tillai
ambalam tannil aDi paNIbavark-apajayam illai (Ananda)

anupallavi
tAnantam* illAda rUpan
tajjam takajam takadimi
taLAngu taka tatingiNatOm
taLAngu taka tatingiNatOm
taka dimi (alt: diku) taka tatingiNatOm (Ananda)

charaNam
pAdi madi jyOti paLIr paLIr ena
pAda silamboli galIr galIr ena
Adi kaRai uNDa nIlakaNTam minna

(madhyama kAlam)
harapura hara shiva shankara
aruL vara gurupara sundara (alt: aruL gurupara shiva sundara)
aNDamum piNDamum ADiDa
eNdisaiyum pugazh pADiDa

*Note : தானந்தம் is pronounced as tAnandam by most singers, however as it is derived from Sanskrit word अन्त meaning end, the correct pronunciation would be tAnatam in my humble opinion.

Translation

pallavi
The Lord (implied) will dance (ADuvAr) his Dance of Ecstacy (Ananda naTam) in the (tannil) temple (ambalam, normally hall or court) in Chidambaram (tillai) where, for those who worship (paNibavarkku) at His feet (aDi), there is no defeat (apajayam).

anupallavi
With an infinite/endless (tAnantam illAda) form (rUpan), with a beat (implied by the solkattu or beat-words) like (ena) tajjam-takajam…tatingiNatOm (..the Lord will dance)

charaNam
With light (jyOti) flashing brilliantly (paLIr paLIr ena) from the crescent moon (pAdi = half, madi = moon), the sound (oli) of ankle-bells (silambu) on his feet (pAda) ringing sharply (galIr galIr ena), His (implied) blue-hued (nIla) throat (kanTam) which swallowed (uNDa) the primeval/ancient (Adi) impurity (kaRai) glittering (minna) (reference: Shiva drinking poison from the churning of the ocean).

‘O Auspicious One (shankara)!! O Benign One (shiva)!! O Destroyer (hara)!! (Not sure what harapura indicates here…) O Beautiful One (sundara)! O Benevolent One (aruL vara)!  O Ultimate (vara) Preceptor (guru)!! Thus do (implied) all eight directions (eNdisaiyum) sing (pADiDa) His praise (pugazh) while the whole globe (piNDam) and universe (aNDam) dance (ADiDa).

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Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, Hyderabad Brothers, K.V.Narayanaswamy, Neelakanta Sivan

Thillana in Pahadi

He who causes welfare, the Great God Shankara, the beneficent Lord who removes all fear, He who holds Ganga, the consort of Gauri, I worship your lotus feet.

Those who have been following my blog know of the sad demise of my laptop after an accident with a cup of tea last month. Well, I finally received my fancy little convertible laptop/tablet last week. Jumping into the task of setting it up with geeky delight, I was soon enough swiping my screen this way and that, downloading and discarding apps, and playing with my start screen until I had it just right. A few frustrations, evidently, but I am ready and back in business!

What should my first post on my new laptop be? Such a dilemma! Should I pick one of my favourite ragas? Isn’t it the raga which sets the mood? Or should I pick one of my favourite musicians? Perhaps I should look for some meaningful lyrics, something regarding a good start maybe? Should it be for Ganesh, the God of beginnings? Or maybe a song for my ishta devatas, the Gods on whom I lean the most?

Frustrated with the convoluted thinking of my left brain, I looked enquiringly at my right brain. She smirked knowingly and said ‘Just pick what you love’. She has this supercilious air common among those who believe that being touchy-feely is somehow superior to logical reasoning! Frowning ferociously at both the ladies, I determinedly turned away from their squabbles.

This brings to mind a conversation I had with with my friend, a psychologist, who mentioned in passing ‘the wise mind’. Looking it up,  I found ideas which I always believed in but never articulated. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy contends that there are three basic states of mind. When we operate with the reasonable mind, we have a rational and logical but somewhat detached world-view. When we operate with the emotion mind, we are driven by our perceptions and emotions, distorting factual information but listening instead to what our emotions dictate. The wise mind is the middle-way where our thinking is intuitive, an integration of ‘direct experience, immediate cognition, and the grasping of the meaning, significance, or truth of an event without relying on intellectual analysis’.

What has all this to do with music? Just my belief that when we listen to music, we must do so with the wise mind. One one side we must analyse and appreciate the skill of the composition, the expertise of the rendition, the meaning of the lyrics, the knowledge of the raga and tala but at the same time we must be open to the emotions the music evoke, to feel, to experience and then to gather all that music and make it a part of our souls.

And so finally to my music selection for the day. I have known this piece of music for nearly 30 years as it is a tukkada item in one of my favourite CDs ‘South Meets North’ about which I wrote early last year.  I love it now as much as I loved it when I heard it the first time. The Raga Pahadi speaks to me of snow-capped mountains and rushing springs, of wide spaces and cool air, of peace and other-worldliness, of Lord Shiva in deep meditation on Kailasa. I had only ever heard the instrumental version of this song and thus far my response to it had been on a purely emotional level. I loved it so much but never thought of looking for a vocal version. Imagine my delight last month when I was enjoying my daily walk, the ice-cold Lac Léman gleaming under the low winter sun, the snow-capped Alps rising majestically in front of me when the new album I had loaded on my iPod presented me with a vocal rendition of the same song! Suddenly I heard the words and it opened a whole new world of appreciation to this piece of music. And so today to share my delight with you I present this wonderful Thillana by Lalgudi Jayaraman in the Raga Pahadi. If you would like to know a bit more about this raga, click here. The simple sahityam in Sanskrit says

मङ्गल कर महादेव शंकर शम्भो भवभय हारा
गङ्गाधरा गौरी पते तव पङ्कज पादौ भजामि

mangaLakara mahAdEva shankara shambhO bhavabhayahArA
gangAdharA gaurIpatE tava pankaja pAdau bhajAmi

He who causes welfare, the Great God Shankara, the beneficent Lord who removes all fear, He who holds Ganga, the consort of Gauri, I worship your lotus feet.

Listen first to Lalgudi Jayaraman’s rendition of his own composition from the album South Meets North.

Alternate Link : Click here

Now listen to the Hyderabad Brothers vocal rendition from their album Annapoorne.

Alternate Link : Click here

I hope you have enjoyed the music as much as I have!

 

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Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Sanskrit, Hyderabad Brothers, Lalgudi Jayaraman

Anandamrutakarshini

RainAs the sky in Melbourne seems to be quite grey this morning, I am playing this old favourite of mine set to Raga Amrutavarshini, meaning She Who Showers Nectar.

We Indians have always associated rain with joy. Not for us the associations of the Western world which link rain with cold, gloom, threat and generally bad times.  Quite the opposite for us, isn’t it? We associate rain with joy, exuberance, hope, growth  and prosperity.  In Australia, an immense land with low water resources, the Western association seems like nonsense. Here, we too look gladly at rain, so this song is very appropriate.

The composer, Muthuswami Dikshitar, prays to the Goddess saying ‘you who captivates us into a nectar like joy, shower us with nectar like rain’. He goes on to praise Her compassion, entreating Her to bring us rain. Legend says that Dikshithar was on his way to Ettiyapuram to see his brother. Arriving at a place under severe drought, Dikshitar sang this song. When he came to the part ‘Salilam Varshaya Varshaya Varshaya’ a heavy downpour started which went on to relieve the drought. It is said that many agnostics and atheists became theists on seeing this.

I love the sound of Amrutavarshini. To learn more about the raga, click here. I have heard talented artists bring forth the patter of rain on roofs with their kalpanaswarams, sometimes the gentle tapping of a spring shower, sometimes the furious drumming of a torrential downpour. I personally prefer brisk renditions as the scale seems to become even more joyful with rapid execution. Here are a few renditions that I particularly enjoy :

First, click below to listen to Aruna Sairam’s brisk rendition (7 mins) which is a tattoo of sounds reminiscent of the subject matter; it is a thundershower in summer, beating out all thought but the music.

Next, listen to a more elaborate version (19 min) by the Hyderabad Brothers with a nice alapanai leading up to a brisker kriti and kalpanaswarams; much like a long afternoon of  interspread light and heavy showers.

And third, listen to this fantastic violin interpretation (9 mins) by Lalgudi Jayaraman which is very lyrical and reminds me of peacocks dancing to spring showers in lush surroundings.



Footnote (Lyrics) :

The composition is in Sanskrit.

पल्लवि
आनन्दामृताकर्षिणि अमृत वर्षिणि
हरादि पूजिते शिवे भवानि

समष्टि चरणम्
श्री नन्दनादि संरक्षिणि श्री गुरुगुह जननि चिद्रूपिणि
(मध्यमकाल  साहित्यं)
सानन्द हृदय  निलये सदये सद्य सुवृष्टि हेतवे त्वाम्
सन्ततं चिन्तये अमृतेश्वरि सलिलं वर्षय वर्षय वर्षय

For lyrics in Southern languages, click here.

Transliteration

Pallavi
AnandAmrutAkarshiNi amruta varshiNi
harAdi poojitE SivE bhavAni

Anupallavi
sree nandanAdi samrakshiNi sri guruguha janani chidroopiNi

Charanam
sAnanda hrudayE nilayE sadayE sadya suvrushti hetavE tvAm
santatam chintayE amruteshvari salilam varshaya varshaya varshaya

 Translation
O Bhavani, you who are adored by Shiva and other Gods, who captivates us into a nectar like joy and shower us with nectar like rain.

You who are the protector of the son of Lakshmi (Kama, possibly referring to when Shiva revives Kama by request of Parvati after burning him to ashes), you who are the mother of Guru Guha (Karthikeya), you are a form of the intellect/spirit, you who dwell in hearts full of joy, you who are compassionate, give us (be the cause of – from noun hetu) good rain soon, I think of you always O embodiment of nectar, shower us with rain, shower us with rain.

 

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Filed under Aruna Sairam, Carnatic Music, Compositions in Sanskrit, Hyderabad Brothers, Lalgudi Jayaraman, Muthuswami Dikshithar