Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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TAMIL MUSIC - தமிழ் இசை


Mahalakshmi, Sankarabharanam

A Golden Voice -  S. Rajam on N.C. Vasanthakokilam, as told to S. Janaki, Struti, August 2007

N.C.VasanthakokilamShe was not very healthy, but her voice belied her weak physique. Although she was thin and frail, her voice combined melody with tensile strength. I have heard her sing without a mike.

NC was perfect in whatever she sang � intonation, sruti suddham, emotion and clarity of words. The purity of notes in her rendering and her adherence to sruti were remarkable. Her voice could traverse the middle and higher octaves with effortless ease. Her voice rang with vibrancy, a reenkaara, as she crossed the tara shadja and dwelt on the rishabha.

It is my impression that M.S. Subbulakshmi took NC�s music as a model. In the Simhendramadhyama kriti Unnai allaal verey gati NC sang a number of sanchara-s above the panchama and in the tara sthayi. Listeners were astounded by her rendition of this Kotiswara Iyer composition. She would often take up niraval on the phrase �Kai mel palan arul deivamey�. The song was a great hit. Thanks to NC, this song gained in popularity and other musicians also started including it in their recitals. NC carried the music lovers along with her on the strength of her simple music and fine voice.

Like MS, she too was guided by a Sadasivan. In this case Sachi, as he was better known, supported and assisted her but he was not a patch on the famous Sadasivam. I knew C.K. Sachi because he directed �Radha Kalyanam� the second film in which I acted, for which the music was by Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar. Sachi took NC under his wing but she did not live long and succumbed to tuberculosis.

We must be thankful that she has left behind many recordings through which her music lives on.

Remarkable musical and emotional consciousness - Sulochana Pattabhiraman in Struti, August 2007

Sangeeta vidushi N.C. Vasanthakokilam truly had the voice of a �kokilam� combined with the magical quality of spring. She was a worthy member of a female musical triad � M.S. Subbulakshmi, D.K. Pattammal and N.C. Vasanthakokilam.

Although nothing much has come to light about her novitiate and the gurus who had moulded her inherent talent to performing levels, it cannot be gainsaid that she established a very special equation with the rasikas.

Her repository was overflowing with compositions of Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Papanasam Sivan, Gopalakrishna Bharati, Subramania Bharati and other greats. Her raga alapana-s were marked with substance and style and studded with euphonious prayoga-s that immediately targeted one�s heart. Her kriti renderings had remarkable musical and emotional consciousness that lifted the ambience to an elevated plane.

D.K. Pattammal had the reputation of being a laya virtuoso and a past master in the rendering of intricate nadai pallavis. Once this writer heard Vasanthakokilam at a chamber concert rendering the inimitable Bhairavi varnam of Adiyappaiyer, set to Ata tala. The ease and fluency with which she negotiated the composition in various nadais left an everlasting imprint in the minds of the handful of rasika-s assembled. Among the rasikas was the inimitable Alathur Venkatesa Iyer. Even he, the uncompromising great, gave a nod of approval after the rendering of the Viriboni varnam.

On another occasion, when she presented a concert at the Srinivasa Gandhi Nilayam, her delineation of Kambhoji in the three octaves held the audience captive. Sarasadala nayana in Khamas, Mayetvamyahi in Tarangini, Sundari nannindarilo in Begada and the piece de resistance Tanthai taai irundal in Shanmukhapriya, were some of the sparkling gems in her vast repertoire. It is a pity that she crossed the great divide before her song could be adequately sung.  


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