Monday, February 25, 2008

Here is Bhadradri...

On more than one occasion, I have seen that nothing moves my little child as much as music does. With both his grandmothers teaching music and his parents humming away all the time (and admonished all the time for not practising), one could say that he has had a good exposure to music. When he was a very young baby, playing Nagaraj and Manjunath's violin would soothe him even during the worst colic-related tantrum. As he grew up, 'shuddha brahma parAtpara rAma'became one of his regular lullabies. With watching and listening to the Baby Einstein videos, came introduction to Western music also. Some of our young cousins and our driver have taken care to expose him to the new Kannada movie-songs too. But what has really amazed me is his love for the Bhadrachala Ramadaasa kritis.

Actually, the credit for making Biyadiya fall in love with the Bhadrachala Ramadasa kritis, goes to R. He started singing 'palukE bangAramAyena' to him, a few months ago, and he loved it. Then, one day, to quiten him, I played the song from the internet to him. Needless to say, he enjoyed it, background music and all. And one day, the cassette happened to appear right next to the tape-player (hey, I'm nothing if not lazy!), and I played it for him. That has gradually become a ritual. On seven days out of ten, he asks me to play the cassette at bedtime. Initially he used to wait for his favorite songs - palukE bangAramAyena and pAhi rAmaprabhO, but now he listens to all of them with rapt attention.

Being of a nature not so steady as his in matters such as these, I got bored of listening to the cassette over and over again. But of late (from the past four or five days), after I really started paying attention to the lyrics and the music, I have begun to enjoy the music almost as much as my little bundle of joy does. Ramadasa's poetry is wonderful. The sentiments expressed in each song is not just devotion to the Lord, but longing for a parent and the familiarity of a friend. For example, in 'ikShvAku kula tilaka', Ramadaasa asks

'kaliki turAyi meluvaka chEyisti ramachandra
kulukuchu tirugedavO evarappa sommani rAmachandra'. (Rama, I got a nice crown made for you. You are flaunting it like it is your Father's jewel!) Continuing, he says

'bhaktulaMdarini paripAliMcEDi sree rAmacaMdra
neevu kshEmamuga sree rAmadAsuni Elu rAmacaMdra'
This beautiful mix of sentiments - of viewing the Lord as the protector, a parent, a brother and a friend whom you can admonish, is what makes these compositions so dear and close to the heart.

In my opinion (fervent, as I have been on a high dose of Ramadasa for the past few days), these kritis are more egalitarian and down-to-earth than the great saint Tyagaraja's kritis. (Tyagaraja composed many, many more kritis than Ramadasa, so really, they ought not to be compared.) And of course, nearly half of the credit for making these songs so likable, goes to Dr.Balamurali Krishna. The music composition is just impeccable, and I defy any musician to compose the tune better than him. His rendition of these kritis is also superb. The forlornness experienced in 'E tIruga nannu' (nAdanAmakriyA), the confidence exuded in 'takkuvEmi manaku rAmuNDokkaDuNDu varaku'(sUryakAnti), the slyness in 'nannu brOvamani cheppavE' (kalyANi) are all brought out beautifully.

For me and little Biyadiya, it is musical heaven, almost every night!

10 comments:

ಹಂಸಾನಂದಿ Hamsanandi said...

This wonderful post brought back many memories...

This tape with idigO bhadrAdri .. etc was one of my favourites back when I had all the time in the world and when the music player was turned on 8 hours a day! I still have it, and cherish it like most other cassettes I have which date more than 2 decades.

When my son was a year old, we had a tough time to make him go to sleep. It took a minimum of 3-4 songs and most often I would doze of myself singing! One of his favourites was pOgAdirelO ranga. And if I did not sing, he would insist by saying "aNNa, poogA, poogA" :)

Dr BMK has brought back these gems like no one has. For whatever reason, he has not got the glory he should have for his compositions. But hey, even Tyagaraja said he would become well known sixty years after his passing away!

-hamsanandi

Kadalabal said...

wonderful post and it is opt both of you are facinated music is one thing which can take you anywhere and no doubt about it. thanks for putting this here and I really liked this one very much and no doubt the kritis mentioned are superb and one loves to hear them often

pranesh

Aram said...

As usual, a beautiful post.

And, of course, the right joyful way to bring up your "bundle of joy."

Making him sustain this joy in his later years is the challenge.

Good luck!

decemberstud said...

I used to sing 'idigO bhadrAdri' all the time when I was a kid ;)

At least now V should be the motivation for the two of you to practice more :)

parijata said...

@Hamsanandi,
Ditto to dozing off singing to the baby! When my son was in the 'shuddha brahma paraatpara rAma' phase, it used to be so hard when I got throat infection (I got it some 3-4 times then). I was the only person who knew the whole fully, and this kid would not sleep for any other song!

Yes, Dr.BMK has done a phenomenal job in popularizing these kritis. Some 10-12 years ago, there was this 'divyanAmasankIrtane' broadcast on the AIR, for about a month. The whole program was his idea. I don't know if any cassette/CD was brought out. He's one brilliant musician!

@Pranesh,
Thanks for the comment. Music is the one thing that can really move anybody.

@Aram,
Thanks.
Making him sustain this joy in his later years is my constant worry. Right now he likes music and is fascinated by everyday-wonders and by his books, but his liking for TV bothers me a lot.

@DS,
'idigO bhadrAdri' is a beautiful song.
Yeah, he is the motivation, but whenever I sit down to practise he is either climbing a dangerous grill or up to some similar mischievousness, that I force myself to turn off the shruti box and run to him. But after I saw your comment, it struck me that I can probably practise when I am putting him to bed.

Aram said...

"it struck me that I can probably practise when I am putting him to bed."

-- Reminded me of my own late Amma who used to sing constantly while cooking, churning butter milk, cutting wood, putting the babies to sleep, etc., etc. Though endowed with a melodious voice, the impact on the listeners like me was more due to the soulfulness.

During evenings, it was a more organized, formal bhajans session using the thALa (thaazha)stretching for an hour or two when others might also join, a tradition continued from her own mother.

Looking back, I realize how tranquil and different the whole world was in those days. Stress, tension, related disorders were unknown words.

ಹಂಸಾನಂದಿ Hamsanandi said...

Unfortunately, singing to make kids go to sleep does not count towards practice :( Trust me! (From my own experience )

Hip Grandma said...

My g'daughter who'd yell her lungs out when tied up to a car seat would stop crying as soon as her mom started singing 'Ra ra Seetha' to her when she was barely 3 months old.I am just back to checking posts.I've tagged you.Do take it up.

parijata said...

@Aram,
You almost got me daydreaming. For many years, we have been toying with the idea of having a sort of a regular satsang in our house. When in the US, a couple of us friends used to do Vishnusahasranama + brunch every Saturday. But life has changed a lot after returning to India.

@Hamsanandi,
Now you dashed my hopes! :(

@Hip Grandma,
Welcome and thanks for the tag. I will do it soon.

Aram said...

"we have been toying with the idea of having a sort of a regular satsang........But life has changed a lot after returning to India."

No need to invite, organize, etc.

Just start with yourself for 10-15 minutes in the evening every day. Others will slowly join in as days go by.

Teach Biyadiya to strum the appropriately tuned taanpura during the session. When the mother's whole world revolves around the "son," does she need anybody else? Yes, it would definitely be good for him to have many people around.