About Me

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I am a singer-researcher with expertise in Karnatik Music and Early Opera. I discuss intercultural music-making contexts. My work is available at www.charulathamani.com and at www.youtube.com/isaipayanam

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Elections, Tofu, and Hot Picks

My dear Cyberians,

    The elections are moving closer and I am thinking about the effect this could have on us musicians. A popular Tamil magazine's senior reporter and friend called me and said " Ma'am why don't we do an article with singers telling us their preference in voting in the upcoming elections? Let me start with you". I almost fell off the chair in shock, "please.... I hope I have a long and bright career ahead, please don't jeopardise it with a question like this!". "There, there", the cheerful reporter said "Today is April 1st ma'am".

    Having to go to the booth to cast our vote in the hot summer heat is indeed a very challenging ordeal but still worse is the selection process as to who to cast the vote for. Anyway I shall give away no clues as to who I will be voting for, it is a secret ballot you see, which is why in our country many people secretively even refrain from voting. Why not, anyway your vote shall be cast in complete secrecy by someone who passes off as you (second life avatar perhaps?).

    Friends please eat Tofu for vocal and holistic health, I heartily recommend it for voice users whether you are singers striving to get a sangati or emotion across or election campaigners struggling to get your point across or annoyed mothers of rebellious teenagers shouting to get yourself heard over inadmissible decibels of music. The vocal cords are muscles and they can be strengthened with tofu I believe and this view has been endorsed by my singer sister Srimathumitha. Disease resistance is also built up by consuming tofu. Just an innocent little tip folks, please donot conclude that I have a Soy paneer factory as a side business..... Oh no , surely not.

    And before signing off, I would like to recommend my pick of the day - the Dikshitar kriti Maaye in the raga Tarangini sung by Dr. M. L. Vasanthakumari is a stunner, please do listen to it if you can get hold of it somewhere.

In world music I would like to recommend the singer Wes. He is South African and his earthy singing and varied tones just rock....

Ok my dears, bye for now.... Somebody please do something about this heat in the summer!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tamil New Year

Dear Friends,

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Tamil New Year 2009-2010. Invoking the blessings of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, I begin my blogging pursuit. I am known to many as a singer, I also love to interact with my rasikas by speaking during the concert. On Isai Payanam in Jaya TV I explain the sahitya and raga bhavas and also the usage of ragas in cine songs. So much for the speaker in me.

Writing has always been close to my heart, it is a quiet way of communication, silent yet powerful. I am really excited to blog, its like conversing with you all from a dais that has no beginning, no end, just the fabric of the omnipresent world wide web. My writings may sometimes seem tiresome...but mostly they are ...not...ahem...

Mango Pachidi is indeed a delicacy, friends, what with all its tangy flavour of the seasonal fruit, dripping in jaggery paagu, the occassional dash of the neem flower combined with the aroma of green chillies. A treat I ate with great delight for lunch today. The New Year brings in plenty of heat, lots of sweat, cartloads of mangoes, and long days indoors. I use this time for listening to more music, minding my little children the twin troubles that I enjoy tending to, and practising.

I performed in Delhi for a lovely Tamil audience last month. I didn't have much time for sight seeing, though I promised to myself that I would surely explore at least the main parts of Delhi at a later time. Delhi Tamil audience are very sweet, they made sure I sang for a good three hours, and even after that chits kept coming on to the stage. I assured them that I would certainly come back very soon.

Anybody from Calcutta out there? I am singing for "Rasikapriya" organisation on the 29th of May at Calcutta. You may contact one Mr. Kannan for info on venue, I shall also be posting details.

I sang Raghuvamsa Suthambudi the Kadanakuthuhalam kriti at a recent Rama Navami Concert in Chennai, and really enjoyed the experience. I felt a sense of elation and happiness while singing, and that was infectiously communicated to the audience. During the chittaswaram a few children started dancing spontaneously, overjoyed. Such is the nature of this raga, it radiates happiness. This kriti is often played on instruments than sung, but when sung it is a winner.

So much for this instalment, friends... The year is called "Virodhi" but, what's in a name? (Virodhi means enemy in Tamil and Hindi!) Well then, lets all have a happy and friendly "Virodhi" year!