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Despicable ata tALa varNam

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mahakavi

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The following ata tALa varNam (reproduced with its meaning from sahityam dot net) should be eliminated from Carnatic music. As the meaning indicates it is in adulation of king Serafoji (nara stuti) and on top of that, the content is lascivious. This varNam is sung by vocalists and played by violinists on the concert circuit. If so they must be doing it out of ignorance and/or without shame. Let us not indulge in self-deception that kanakangi might indicate a goddess---not at all. The reference is to a woman, perhaps a concubine of the king. I wonder how much gold (kanakam) Pallavi Gopala Iyer walked away with after singing this. In modern day parlance the composer would have been called a pimp. The same warning goes to some of the jAvaLis that are being sung.

Pallavi

kanakāṅgi nī celimi kōri gāciyunnadirā

The golden-limbed woman, yearning for your company, is waiting (for you).
Anupallavi

dhanaduḍaina[SUP]1[/SUP] śrītulajēndruni tanayuḍaina
sarabhōji mahārājēndrā


Charanam

Giver of riches, Son of Tulaja,
O Sarabhoji, Lord of emperors!


maguva rammanerā





The woman asked you to come!
 
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Raji Ram

Well-known member
Dear Sir,

Most of the varNams are written in nAyaka - nAyaki bhAvam. My grand father who taught us Carnatic music,

composed many varNams ONLY to praise Gods and Goddesses. You can find five of them in the thread


Compositions of sri. K. R. Narayanan. (harisada narayanan)



One of my students with Telugu as mother tongue, refused to learn the swarajathi 'RA rA VENugOpa bAlA' because of its lyrics!!

JAvaLis and Padhams are composed for dancers and most of them will depict only the romantic mood!

Carnatic singers have adopted all these in the concerts. I am not sure whether they will stop singing them because

these are popular numbers!!
 

Raji Ram

Well-known member
Dear Sir,

Most of the varNams are written in nAyaka - nAyaki bhAvam. My grand father who taught us Carnatic music,

composed many varNams ONLY to praise Gods and Goddesses. You can find five of them in the thread


Compositions of sri. K. R. Narayanan. (harisada narayanan)



One of my students with Telugu as mother tongue, refused to learn the swarajathi 'RA rA VENugOpa bAlA' because of its lyrics!!

JAvaLis and Padhams are composed for dancers and most of them will depict only the romantic mood!

Carnatic singers have adopted all these in the concerts. I am not sure whether they will stop singing them because

these are popular numbers!!

I call myself a 'music promoter', since I am teaching Carnatic music for the past three decades!

 
OP
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M

mahakavi

Active member
Dear Sir,

Most of the varNams are written in nAyaka - nAyaki bhAvam.

One of my students with Telugu as mother tongue, refused to learn the swarajathi 'RA rA VENugOpa bAlA' because of its lyrics!!

JAvaLis and Padhams are composed for dancers and most of them will depict only the romantic mood!

Carnatic singers have adopted all these in the concerts. I am not sure whether they will stop singing them because

these are popular numbers!!


I have no problem with the nAyika-nayaka bhAvam if the text does not deal with erotic lyrics. The AzhwArs have written pAsurams considering themselves as maidens pining for the love of the Lord. PApanAsam Sivan has written certain varNams where he writes about the nAyika acting crazy without eating and doing her regular duties because she is madly in love with the lord.

Once you know the meaning of the (erotic) lyrics you have to cringe whether you render it or hear it. Most of us Thamizh folks do not know the meanings of the Telugu varNams and jAvaLis which contain erotic lyrics and hence ignore them just paying attention to the melody only. However, we are not going to starve if the offending items are removed from the scene. We have tons and tons of kritis in all the rAgams.

I once took exception to a dance teacher teaching her teenage student a jAvaLi in Telugu (of course) which indicated the consternation of the beloved because her lover went to a prostitute. Is that kosher for a teenage student or even for the audience? The teacher replied that she included the jAvaLi for the sake of completion ( a taste of sringAram!) and besides, most teen students these days are well aware of all the implications. There you go!
 
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Raji Ram

Well-known member
.............. Once you know the meaning of the (erotic) lyrics you have to cringe whether you render it or hear it. ........
I don't think so!! How do the playback singers / stage artists sing the erotic lyrics of the film songs with a smiling face?

They KNOW the meaning of all the words and still don't have any sense of shame while singing!! :pout:
 
OP
OP
M

mahakavi

Active member
My remarks apply only to the carnatic stage where the musician renders a lot of Bhakti kritis. Actually many musicians do not know the meaning or do not pay attention to it even if they know the meaning. If it is instrumental no problem at all since the lyrics are not vocalized. The good news is that not that many musicians (especially vocalists) render such explicit varNams or jAvaLis.

As for the film songs, if the lyrics are erotic all the better. And if they are delivered with a smile from the singer all the more welcome. Adds more punch---doesn't it? I have no qualms there because those are catering to the "hungry" young audience in large numbers who pay to see the movies, buy the CDs, and attend pop concerts which do such songs.
 

Raji Ram

Well-known member
If ALL the musicians know the meaning of the second 'Pancharathana kruthi' in GowLa rAgam, they may NOT sing it!

(Some may feel it like a 'self-confession'!?)

If the politicians know the meaning, they may bash Saint Thayagaraja for his harsh comment on 'sudhrAs'!
 
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mahakavi

Active member
If ALL the musicians know the meaning of the second 'Pancharathana kruthi' in GowLa rAgam, they may NOT sing it!

(Some may feel it like a 'self-confession'!?)

If the politicians know the meaning, they may bash Saint Thayagaraja for his harsh comment on 'sudhrAs'!

Agree! Likewise the kalyANi kriti (nidi cAla sukhamA) too will make the singer cringe but they brush it off since the times have changed. It is also unrealistic to expect the current day musicians to shun "nidi". They rely on $$$ these days more than ever.

On a digression, most of the kritis dwell on self-pity and self-denigration anyway and constant appeals to save them (nannu brOva, brOcEva to name a couple). It was all the norm those days because these folks lived to recite the name of the lord day in and day out and attain mOksham. That was their goal. They are all sung now just for the musicality alright. But a complete swing of the pendulum to eroticism is not warranted either.

As for the mention of "SUdhrA" in the gauLai kriti, politicians would not care to know since some of them demonstrated against singing Telugu kritis in tiurvaiyARu the Thamizh heartland during tyAgarAja ArAdanai.
 

guruvayurappan

Well-known member
I don't think so!! How do the playback singers / stage artists sing the erotic lyrics of the film songs with a smiling face?

They KNOW the meaning of all the words and still don't have any sense of shame while singing!! :pout:
that is true .if they feel shy of singing those hit (hurting song -for somebody )songs. they end singing bhajans only and they miss the mass audience & TV chances. at least the carnatic musician who are custodian of our culture can avoid singing such erotic songs
guruvayurappan
 
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