G.S.Mani – Lecture Demonstration

I enjoy attending lecture demonstrations. Not only, does this give me an opportunity to peek into the artist’s intellect, but I always come back home with the feeling of having found a timeless treasure. This happened to me recently when I attended the lecture demonstration by Madhurai GS Mani.

It was a very close knit , light and airy atmosphere. In such a light I saw a very wise and radiant man – Sri.Madhurai GS Mani. The discussion was about Raagas that were incorporated in Tamil film music. Sri. Madhurai GS Mani clearly stated that the discussion would cover only Raagas that were incorporated in their purest form and nothing else. Most of such songs were all from 1930s and 1940s.

Now I hardly knew these songs. But let me mention some of the Raagas that were discussed. Discussion kickstarted with the lovely with Kalyani. The discussion also covered interesting Raagas like Bheempalas and Mohanam.

One interesting thing I learnt here is that the pentatonic Raaga Mohanam originated in Tamil Nadu and was called Mullaipant. Now this Raaga travelled! It travelled to the far east to China and Thailand. Chinese and the Thai are well versed in using Mohana tunes in their songs . Now for a culture buff like me, this information was a sweet treat.

Also, one other interesting point of discussion was the Nadaswaram players in the lords procession in TamilNadu. Any temple chariot procession in South India is crowded. So GS Mani appreciated the “true artistry”, as he called it of the Nadaswaram player who along with his accompanists performed live during this procession. “He stands there carrying the 7 kilo Wooden Nadaswaram, in the humid conditions, and the sound of gaslight . One could see people chewing on tobacco nodding “hmm ” and smell the fragrance of jasmine. He artist would go on for hours from early evening to early morning all without a break.

Nadaswaram Player in Subramanya Temple of Karnataka

GS Mani mentioned that he was inspired by this style of carnatic music and is one the very few people who have been successful in incorporating the Nadaswaram style of singing. And when he sang, I closed my eyes and yes, I cud feel the Nadaswaram in his voice. What a wonderful voice he is blessed with. His knowledge and his experience is so vast and deep.

I truly enjoyed this lecture demonstration. Thanks to the organizers for giving us this opportunity to interact with eminent musicians. Like I said, I drove back home with a piece of treasure.