“I completely enjoyed the role of being an observer and a commentator”: Sebastian and Sons by T.M. Krishna celebrates the contribution of mrdangam makers

More by and about T.M. Krishna >>

Read the full interview in the Deccan Herald >>

The writing in Sebastian and Sons introduces us to the storyteller in T M Krishna like never before. It’s a non-fictional work written with a novelist’s touch. It makes for a riveting read with the musician’s earnestness to absorb the stories of his subjects and his ability to look at the larger picture shining through. He concurs his approach was unique: “This book was very different writing for me; it was a new form for someone who has largely explored philosophical ideations driven by research (treatises), activism and self-introspection. This is the first time I wrote a book with the approach of a journalist. And it was other people’s stories, which I was trying to make sense of. I completely enjoyed the role of being an observer and a commentator.”

Source: Srivathsan Nadadhur, Deccan Herald, 7 June 2020
URL: https://www.deccanherald.com/sunday-herald/sunday-herald-art-culture/the-melody-of-dissent-an-interview-with-carnatic-vocalist-tm-krishna-845453.html
Date visited: 7 June 2020

Excerpt from S. Gopalakrishnan’s “Another Listening” newsletter
A much awaited book ‘Sebastian and Sons’ by TM Krishna on the evolution of the art of Mridangam making is going to be released on 2 February 2020. ‘The making process is an intellectually, aesthetically and physically taxing one. From acquiring the skins for the circular membranes and straps to the wood for the drum, from curing the material to the final construction, and at the end of it all, making sure that it has the tone that the mrdangam player wants, mrdangam-making is also a highly nuanced operation at every stage. This requires a highly tuned ear and an ability to translate abstract ideas expressed by musicians into the corporeal reality of a mrdangam. Yet, their contribution to the art of the mrdangam is dismissed as labour and repair—when it is spoken of at all.

There are legendary mrdangam players, yes; there are also distinguished mrdangam makers, many of them from Dalit Christian communities, who remain on the fringes of the Karnatik community. Sebastian and Sons explores the world of these artists, their history, lore and lived experience to arrive at a more organic and holistic understanding of the music that the mrdangam makes’.

As a dedication to all major Mridangam makers of the past I dedicate Mridangam solos of three all-time masters, Pazhani Subramania Pillai, Palakkad Mani Iyer and Ramanathapuram C S Murugabhoopathy

1. Pazhani Subramania Pillai (1908-1962) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r2FafKt_X8
2. Palakkad Mani Iyer (1912-1981): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9Zd8GjQ39w
3. Ramanathapuram CS Murugabhoopathy (1914-1998): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtFXE4aVMT8

Subscribe to the “Another Listening” newsletter for daily Carnatic music recommendations and more: anotherlistening@gmail.com

There is not only myth, but also vocabulary. “In Tamil, ‘thol’ means ‘skin’ and ‘thattu’ means ‘plate’. Mridangam players will talk about thattu, but not about thol,” Krishna said. “These were all ways of distancing.”

Photo © The Telegraph picture

Read “T.M. Krishna speaks about his new book, Sebastian and Sons at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet” (21 January 2020): https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/west-bengal/mridangam-the-cowhide-conundrum/cid/1739616

T. M. Krishna (in MOPA “Notes to Myself”):
Now here is a fascinating story of a musician born and bred in privilege by his own admission, who enjoyed a liberal, progressive environment both at home and at school that laid the foundations for a fearless, critical mind and outspoken tongue, enjoyed the best of teachers who fostered an abiding love for Carnatic music in his young heart and was one among the band of young musicians who took the Carnatic stage by storm in the 90s. […]

Book search (India)

List of sites covered by this Google custom search engine

Enter a book title, author’s name or any subject of special interest in the above search field.

Note: if the Google Custom Search window isn’t displayed on this page (on a tablet device and smartphone or any PC)
– “Enable JavaScript” in the “Security” settings of your internet browser
– Toggle to regular web view if you happen to use the “Reader” view

Audio tip | JA Jayanth’s grandfather and guru TS Sankaran live at Kalakshetra >>

Find out more about the persons and subjects covered above

A musical tribute to Prof. S. A. Srinivasan by Karaikudi Voyage – Sreevidhya Chandramouli (vocal & vina)

Vocal with vina accompaniment: Sreevidhya & Chandramouli (Karaikudi Bani)

Dr. Srinivasa Ayya Srinivasan, a dear friend of ours, and an Indologist at University of Hamburg, Germany, passed away on May 2nd, 2019. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Pia Srinivasan, who was a student of late Rajeswari Padmanabhan. We pay homage to his great soul with a few of his favorite compositions on voice and Veena.

  • To listen and view photos on youtube, click here >>
  • Find the lyrics* sung in the tribute by Dhvani in the search window seen below or click here >>
  • Visit Dhvani’s homepage >>

Dhvani was formed to Preserve, Explore & Disseminate Indian art and cultural heritage. As a grassroots organization devoted to expanding knowledge in our community, Dhvani fulfills the need to inculcate an integrated understanding of art in Indian culture as well as other cultures.

Compositions heard as part of the Karaikudi Voyage tribute

  1. Paripalaya – Ritigaula – Adi tala – Tyagaraja
  2. Ramapahi meghasyama – Kapi – Adi tala – Tyagaraja
  3. Amba nilayatakshi – Nilambari – Adi tala – Muttusvami Dikshitar

Find song lyrics by typing any of the above in the search window:

S.A. Srinivasan (2011)
Prof. Dr. S.A. Srinivasan
18 September 1932 – 2 May 2019
Acknowledgement
Deutsch: Tributes by colleagues (in German)

Select titles

Hinduismus und ökologische Ethik: Einige Bemerkungen
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/900603864 | Details in German (Vienna University) >>

The goddess Māriyammaṉ in music and in sociology of religion
by Pia Srinivasan Buonomo; Srinivasa Ayya Srinivasan
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/247408025
Open access version (text and audio files discussed):
https://archive.org/details/mariyamman-in-music

On the composition of the Nāṭyaśāstra
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/499646888

Studies in the Rāma story : on the irretrievable loss of Vālmīki’s original and the operation of the received text as seen in some versions of the Vālin-Sugrīva episode
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/560465987

Nonviolence and holistically environmental ethics : gropings while reading Samayadivākaravāman̲amun̲i on Nīlakēci
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/929910155 / http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/899297850

Find these and related publications (including Open Access) on worldcat.org >>

Veena Dhanammal’s soulful music

Read the full report in The Hindu (13 December 2018) >>

Vainika K. G. Vijayakrishnan’s determination to get the younger generation interested in Veena Dhanammal’s soulful music resulted in a documentary on the legend. The documentary, conceptualised by Vijayakrishnan and directed by Avinash Prakash, was recently launched at the Music Academy. […]

Vijayakrishnan’s father had all seventeen of Dhanammal’s 78 rpm records. He recorded them in his Grundig spool recorder. Except for the Kapi javali ‘Sarasamulade’ by Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar, Vijayakrishnan has digitised all the others. He presented the entire set of recordings to the Music Academy. […]

N. Murali, President of the Music Academy, said that Dhanammal was a mystical genius, who played for herself, and not for an audience. HMV, which cut all Dhanammal’s discs had difficulty marketing them, because only a few had the knowledge needed to understand the nuances of her music. […]  

K.G. Vijayakrishnan has performed in leading sabhas in Chennai and in Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and the U.S. He is the author of The Grammar of Carnatic Music published by De Gruyter Mouton, Germany. 

1. Varnam 2. Triloka Mata 3. Sri Narada 4. Bhajare 5. Marubari [JavaLi]

Grammar of Carnatic Music by on Scribd

Related post
“Sampradaya is like a broad river and the bani is a tributary”: Umayalpuram Sivaraman on his 75 years of performance >>

Find out more about the persons and subjects covered above