Sunday, May 08, 2011

Pancharatna Kritis, 5 years of blogging and nothing else

It required almost a year and change of geographical location of the author before posting something new on this, what is now widely believed in the bloggers' circles to be, almost dead blog. I don't offer the reason that I was lazy or didn't have anything interesting to write about. I shall shun all such exhibition of modesty and will not offer to give any explanation. Since none is needed or asked for.

Coming to the topic, what made me write this post on an otherwise uneventful Saturday evening, are someone answering to the name of Thyagaraja of the 18th century, his famed Pancharatna Kritis and the rendition of those Kritis by one Mr. Dr. M Balamurali Krishna (hailed by some as modern day Thyagaraja although it is hard to believe Thyagaraja was from ancient times) which I listened to today as I have listened to for very many times for very many years. So what's there in this? Neither Thyagaraja nor his compositions need introduction from this esteemed blogger. Dr. M Balamurali Krishna is also known to many and is more popular than me although I don't have the backing statistics. Actually there's nothing new. Unlike my discovery of Beatles a few years back, I know from a long time about these persons associated with carnatic music. (To pick a random date, I would say, from 17th April 1994 to be precise.) And to be even more precise, I guess (yes, I guess precisely) Dr. M Balamurali Krishna's rendition of Pancharatna Krithis was my first exposure to these '5 gems of compositions' by Thyagaraja. Over the years I have listened to the Pancharatna Krithis, as with anyone who is aware of carnatic music, many many times over. But what is it that gives such joy in listening to these particular five songs of Mr. T. Raja (not that the other compositions don't but these surpass the others)? What is it that makes the songs even more pleasant to hear when sung in a group? I am sure it is not just the branding of them being 'Pancharatna Kritis'. Neither did anyone market it to me as 'Pancharatna Kritis - From the composer of Nagumomu. In a media player near you'. And what exactly does Dr. BMK do with these songs that make them look as if Thyagaraja had him in mind while composing the songs? If any of you have answers to any of these, please email me at Or maybe comment. I need some comments to bedeck my otherwise dreary looking blog.

Also there was this other thing that crossed my mind a few days back since it had not crossed my mind for several years. And it is that it sounds odd to me that at Thyagaraja Aradhana people sing to Thyagaraja, the songs that he himself wrote and set the tune to. Is it just me or do any of you too think so? And they do this every year! Maybe you might consider singing compositions of P. Das or those of the two of the other three - Shyamashastri and Muthuswamy Dikshitar - who make up the carnatic music trinity alongwith Thyagaraja. I was talking about this the other day with the honourable Arun Parisarapremi. And he seemed to agree with my thoughts. If you too agree as well, you know what to do, right?

And as the wheels of time roll by, this blog turns 5 in 3 days on May 10th. What started off with humble beginnings, has expectedly remained humble barring the occasional delusions of grandeur that grips the author. 5 years have passed. Is it time to elect a new author? SMS Y for a yes and SMS N for a no to some number mentioned by any of the high decibel news anchors of our illustrious news channels.