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!