MaNakkAl Rangarajan

Carnatic Musicians
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rajeshnat
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#151

Post by rajeshnat » 26 Jun 2007, 19:54

I took few snaps with my digital camera during suryaprakash's concert that was held at manakkAl's house .

This is a very special photo to me. I used to wonder looking at today's serene Shri manakkAl and trying to connect that yesteryear breakneck speed of manakkAl's rendition . I got an answer in this photo, look at Shri manakkAl's gambheera stage presence ofcourse enhanced by PMI(mrudangam)-TK Ramachandran(violin). I think sriram is also there with his mom(Smt padma rangarAjan). Who are the other two?
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Last edited by rajeshnat on 26 Jun 2007, 19:55, edited 1 time in total.
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rajeshnat
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#152

Post by rajeshnat » 26 Jun 2007, 19:57

manakkAl's being wished during marriage by one great statesman Shri rAjaji.
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manakkalsriram
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#153

Post by manakkalsriram » 26 Jun 2007, 22:36

Thanks, Rajesh. Great to view the photo from your camera. You are a man of wonders.
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manakkalsriram
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#154

Post by manakkalsriram » 27 Jun 2007, 07:24

The person behind PMI is his assistant and the other gentleman on the Kanjira is Veteran Kuthalam Viswanatha Iyer who was my first Guru.
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manakkalsriram
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#155

Post by manakkalsriram » 27 Jun 2007, 07:34

The photo of Appa with PMI was a kutchery in Cannanore(Kerala). I am the one sitting in the stage. In the morning ,on the day of the Kutchery, I was just seeing and touching PmI's mridangam with such love and attachment. Hardly did I realize at that time that I would be fortunate to be his disciple one day and also play on his different Mridangams(the way he took care of his mridangams one has to see to believe) for severe practice as well as for stage performances.
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rajeshnat
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#156

Post by rajeshnat » 27 Jun 2007, 13:44

I must have embarassed sriram a lot when I asked him "Did you really play or is it just a photo pose". ManakkAl sriram said "No no no,I really played ". What a great soul shri chembai was ,encouraging a 10 or 12??year old manakkAl Sriram perhaps only shri chembai can only do !!.Accompanied by mAyavaram somu? - kanjira and tk ramachandran- violin. Particularly look at chembai in both the photographs, in the color he appears to say balE balE :), in black and white he certainly does not say balE balE .:| Topless and cute chembai bhagavathar is a priceless snap. For sure topless vidwans are out for ever.
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rajeshnat
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#157

Post by rajeshnat » 02 Sep 2007, 01:55

Just thought I could pen few words about manakkAl rangarAjan - a musician , I have not had much awareness for many many years despite hearing only twice live in the last year.

ManakkAl rangarAjan and my PeriappA:
All started in 2002 when my PeriappA( dad's elder brother aged 75) who is in Delhi and I had a long talk saying that CM went thru a lull period after 60's till mid 80's . I had started recollecting MLV,MDR and KVN were possibly the greatest three in that lull period.

Then my PeriappA stopped , Do YOu know manakkAl rangarAjan?? I said I once heard in a NewYear Bash programme where manakkAl sang a cramped O RangasAyi in Music Academy organized by Carnatica , possibly assuming that Shri manakkAl was a second grade artist (some of you may recollect that post in sangeetham.com).

My PeriappA who knows a lot of CM said that manakkAl rangarAjan and his brother Shri varadarAjan used to come to our homes and teach my Atthai (Dad's sister)and my paternal grandfather encouraged a lot many musicians(that was also a late discovery).

My periappA who is a die hard fan of GNB and MLV , said that in 60's before he went to Delhi , he used to listen to so much of manakkAl because his music was just too original , started describing his Shankarabharnam and KAmbOdhi that he sang in madras where how his music was so mesmerizing . He also told me that how percussionists were all then struggling to keep pace with manakkAl's swara and pallavi gnanam. Still I did not believe much till I had a recording where he sang an outstanding brindAvana sAranga . To me that brindavana sAranga "kamalApta kula" of sadguru thyagarAjar where rangarAjan's rendition was just beyond words. Possibly may be I must have been carried away by brindavana sArangA which is one of my top 10 favourite rAgas. What was scintillating was the discovery thru him that brindavana SAranga which was usually dikshitar's mastery , I consider atleast in my personal books that maybe shri rangarAjan was the first daring musician possibly extrapolating with his extraordinary creativity mapping dikshitar to thyagarAjar in brindavana sArangA(with most of us having a frame of reference of sri rangapura and sounderarAjam). Also my periappA told about his great dwijAvanti which I have not experienced fully.

My periappa also told that every time once in few years when he visited madras from Delhi , he used to long to hear manakkAl's concert , but was not found too much in carnatic scene. I or periappA till day are not sure of why he was sporadic in cm scene possibly he was sick for few years (option #1), or manakkAl had poor marketing sense and was may be zero in pOliticking (I am assuming option #2 could be more true)

Still I did not believe my periappA's words as for the last 2 decades we are still fighting where I say MMI and SSI are the greatest , my periappA telling me no it is GNB/MLV etc.. , I was thinking my periappA is always biased with GNB's style of singing which is very omnipresent with manakkAl.

manakkAl rangarAjan and CMLover:
The search of manakkAl in 60's was not made by my periappa alone. Interestingly Our forum's cmlover did also search him for long before he settled in North America. This is what I heard from our cmlover few months before when we met. If you can recollect , some time before cmlover mentioned as a passing statement that he had heard manakkAl singing for 2 + hours one taayE yashodA in tOdi . I asked him are you sure he sang for two + hours . cmlover said Yes and gave a fantastic anecdote about manakkAl.

In suchindram near Trivandrum , there was a 7 day festival where every night there are carnatic concerts . On one of the most important nights, manakkAl was slotted to sing prior to nadaswara chakravarthi TN Rajarathinam pillai. Some where half way thru the concert , manakkAl was beginning to sing a grand tOdi alApanai . Hearing that tOdi alAPanai , TNR was mesemerized and asked the organizers not to cut short manakkAl's concert . manakkAl was let loose by TNR, the creativity of manakkAl extended for 2 + hours. I am told by cmlover Shri manakkAl sang close to 30 to 45 minutes of neraval in "KAlaniL chilambu". TNR was amazed at the end of the concert and praised our living legend . It would be worthwhile to recollect that all rasikAs and fellow musicians unanimously agree that tOdi is the crown jewel of carnatic music and TNR is the todi maharAja , so manakkAl receiving praise after praise from a king of tOdi itself speaks about his music.

manakkAl rangarAjan and me:
I have had the privilege to listen to him in only 2 live concerts one in IIT and the other in SKGS (both reviews are in this forum). manakkAl at the age of 84 was giving a great start at IIT with a niravidhi sukhadA in ravichandrikA with a rAgam ,slOkham, neraval and swaram (I am sure 99 % of today's musician will never take a daring submain as the first no). In skgs he sang an outstanding rAgamAliga swarams with vigour in the main kharaharapriya where his KAnadA ,ranjani and kuntalavarAli are still ringing in my ears.

Apart from the fact that what my periappA and cmlover have experienced , when I hear manakkAl I am able to connect what I would call "My personal trinities of Carnatic musicians MMI,SSI and GNB" . manakkAl consistently gives a cocktail of all the three , his music is just outstanding. There is a chance that many of you may misunderstand his sense of urgency style as vOttam , but to me he has got so much of knowledge and creative expressions that it just gushes like a niagara fall.As I write I am hearing a outstanding "mOhanam niagara fall alApanai from the Canada border" followed by just good "bhavanuta na niagara fall from the US border", but certainly having a sad feeling that I missed manakkAls HMB concert at NungambakkAm(our concert) because of work.

But hey I am just beginning to hear his kamAlapta kula in brindavana SAranga now , just 17 minutes and 17 seconds of bliss in cruise mode.Adieu!:)
Last edited by rajeshnat on 02 Sep 2007, 01:59, edited 1 time in total.
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cmlover
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#158

Post by cmlover » 02 Sep 2007, 04:22

Rajesh
Thanks for rekindling those memories which are precious for me. Just one correction; the nereval with kalpana svaram was about 3 hrs (just keeping the record straight :)
Since your periappa is in my league I guess many of us believe that MaNakkaal Rangarajan was indeed the King (rAjan) of music. My prediction in those days was that MaNakkal among men and Ananthalakshmi SatagOpan (a bit later among women) would be the crowning glory in the CM firmament. I was wrong on both counts for whatever reason. I am glad that both are still around and it is the job (duty) of genuine CM lovers to capitalize on their presence on this planet!

Good luck in your endeavours!
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arasi
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#159

Post by arasi » 02 Sep 2007, 08:01

Rajesh,
Wherever you are (!), it is good to hear from you today on one of CM's greats in your own inimitable style. CML had the good fortune of hearing maNakkAl in that memorable concert when the king of tODi fell for his tODi!
As for Ananthalakshmi Sadagopan, she still gets energized by music as in the old days while teaching and listening to good concerts...
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srkris
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#160

Post by srkris » 03 Sep 2007, 16:13

Sriramji,

The B&W photo above, is that your arangetram?

I vaguely remember you said it was with Chembai & LS at Kapaleeswarar temple Mylapore?
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manakkalsriram
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#161

Post by manakkalsriram » 07 Sep 2007, 12:02

Rajesh,
I was having a hectic tight scheduled programme last week and I just now saw your touching points about Appa. Two days back Appa had also been to Pudukottai for a kutchery organized in the memory of my Guru Palghat Mani Iyer. Naturally, Appa gave a performance giving special emphasis on Laya.

Regarding your points about Appa,which I enjoyed very much, I also wish to share with you some of my feelings. You had guessed rightly that appa was poor in the marketing area. He was not at any time sick. He was always bubbling with energy and enthusiasm and he could sing for any number of hours and music is his breadth. His stamina was amazing and he never knew tiredness in music Otherwise, in those days how could he have given daily three kutcheries a day and full night open concerts in Kerala. He would sing full throated irrespective of whether there were two rasikas or twenty thousand rasikas. ( In Pudukottai also he gave a three and a half concert even at this age continuously without a pinch of tiredness).

My feelings are
1) Appa knew only music and nothing else. He did not know public relations and was very principled. He was a poor observer of people. For example, a sabha organizer would have spoken to him the previous day, after a couple of days the same organizer would meet him somewhere in a function but Appa will not recogonise him. The organizer would be hurt and would think wrongly about appa as an egoistic man. He did not know how to speak at the right time. I was also very young and immatured at that time. Appa lost his father in his early days and there was nobody to advise him on this matter. My uncles could have done it , but they failed to. He was reserved and if rasikas flocked around him and praised him he would just nod his head.

2) Appa was very rigid. He was allergic to records or tapes being taken during the concert. Be it anybody including any VIP or being the Sabha President, he will not care for it. He will be adamant in the tape being not taken and then only continue the performance.

3) I think Appa’s origin to the music arena , the timing was wrong. Appa had entered the Music arena quite early equally competing with stalwarts of those days like GNB, SSI, MMI, etc., though my Appa was several years younger to them. That was the evergreen golden era of music where all were stalwarts. Appa must have been overshadowed or merged in that. Then only, a new era of musicians came into being after sometime. If Appa’s entry had been a little later, I think he would have reached the highest peak.

4) Appa ,when he entered , straightaway gained popularity and was established. Offers came to him in abundance and he did not have to struggle for a chance. This itself was a disadvantage, according to me. Appa did not know the suffering of getting a chance in a Sabha. For him, every place, whether big or small, was the same. For him, it was a cakewalk. If he had struggled in the beginning for establishing himself, then he would have thought in a different angle. But right from the beginning veterans like Chowdiah, rajamanickam Pillai, Palghat Mani Iyer, Palani Subramania Pillai, etc. were interested in accompanying him.

5) Leaders from Rajaji to MGR were his fans but Appa did not capitalize on that. He was very confident about his music. He would say, they know how I sing. If they want let them do something for me I will not ask for any favour. He did not believe in Biodatas also.

6) MGR was a great admirer of Appa’s music. In 1957 or 58, MGR was taking care of Kalaivanar’s daughter’s marriage at A.V.M. Rajeswari Kalyana Mandapam. At that time MGR had listened to the radio performance of my Appa ( till then he had not seen my Appa at all) and was so impressed and came straightaway to meet Appa at home and requested Appa to sing for the reception. Appa had some other Kutchery that day but MGR said, never mind I will change the date of the reception but Manakkal should sing. Appa sang for the reception and MGR was full of praise for Appa. Later few days before becoming the Chief Minister he had presided over the concert of Appa and myself as a ten year old boy was on the Mridangam. He kissed me on the stage and spoke in public about me “Pullikku pirandadu Punai Aagumaâ€
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s_hari
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#162

Post by s_hari » 07 Sep 2007, 12:17

Sriram - Thanks for the detailed write up. I enjoyed knowning more details on his personality. I haven't listened to him.. It will good if you can share one of his concerts with us, hope i am not asking too much.

regards,
hari
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ninjathegreat
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#163

Post by ninjathegreat » 07 Sep 2007, 22:53

Sriram sir - hearty birthday wishes to you father, late though it is... I do hope he sings for years to come...
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cmlover
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#164

Post by cmlover » 09 Sep 2007, 21:08

As I read the narrative on the travails of pUjya MaNakkaal Rangarajan my eyes moistened (not just because of the recent eye surgery). I have heard the poignant 'kalaimaamaNi' episode directly from the maestro. I was hesitating to report it being afraid of breach of privacy; now it is better having been brought to light by Sriram himself. Now I know the answer to my nagging question why MaNakkaal never was awarded an SK or other fitting honours befitting his vidvat. He is indeed a nAda yogi whose sterling motto was:
karmaNyEva mE adhikAraH, mA phalEShu kadAcanaH |
(my job is to do my duty and not concern about the fruits of the labour)
or better in Tamil
en kaDan innisai seithu kiDappathE

In my view it is me (and the ilk of Rasikas of our time) who have failed him when the system failed to recognize, promote and encourage his excellence and clamour for due recognition. My humble belated apologies

Let it not happen again. I plan to discuss in a separate thread once I feel better the duties, responsibilities and obligations of a Rasika if CM is to retain its vigour! (Just as a prelude I mention how our indifference at this Forum is letting us lose a talented 'garland maker' who has the creative potential to vitalize and electrify CM!)

Thanks again Sriram for clearing the air, but do convey to the Maestro that he is still the greatest in some of our hearts!
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manakkalsriram
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#165

Post by manakkalsriram » 10 Sep 2007, 13:54

No, Kris, it is not the arangetram photo. It is the kutchery of Chembai on the occasion of the marriage reception of the daughter of Ghatam Vidwan Alangudi Ramachandran.
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rajeshnat
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#166

Post by rajeshnat » 29 Nov 2008, 21:40

Nice writeup of shri manakAl, I only wished he did not have aversion of recordings.
http://www.hindu.com/fr/2008/11/28/stor ... 210200.htm
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VK RAMAN
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#167

Post by VK RAMAN » 29 Nov 2008, 21:54

rajeshnat: If not copyright protected I like to hear: kamAlapta kula in brindavana SAranga

I am also moved by manakkalsriram description of his dad.
Last edited by VK RAMAN on 29 Nov 2008, 21:56, edited 1 time in total.
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cmlover
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#168

Post by cmlover » 29 Nov 2008, 22:15

Manakkal is not simply classicism personiified; humility too! If he was not awarded SK at the right time then we can understand why MDR was not awarded or why LGJ rejected it! He is the living biography of the golden era of CM. I am amazed at the vigour of this 86 year-young veteran. In fact I recollect all the best of the past masters still glittering in his repertoire as he is confessing that he imbibed the best from all of them. There were times in those days when I kept wondering whether they imbibed the best from him and became great which is probably true since he shied always away from fame and the limelight! His confession speaks pages for his humility!

After all what is a title of recognition. He is born with it Rangarajan (king of the (concert) platform). Again he is the King in the platform of the hearts (antarangarajan ) of discriminating Lovers of CM like Me!
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rajeshnat
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#169

Post by rajeshnat » 30 Nov 2008, 11:20

VK RAMAN wrote:rajeshnat: If not copyright protected I like to hear: kamAlapta kula in brindavana SAranga
Carnatica has released this no in a commercial recording
http://carnatica.net/shopping/product_i ... ucts_id=39
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rajeshnat
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#170

Post by rajeshnat » 16 Feb 2009, 20:42

sriram's long and superb post of his dad (#161) is truncated . Mods please restore this post.
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cmlover
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#171

Post by cmlover » 17 Feb 2009, 00:16

Rajesh
Though it was lost during the chageover, I luckily had a copy of it and I have now restored it fully!

(Thanks for bringing it to our attention!)
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rajeshnat
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#172

Post by rajeshnat » 17 Feb 2009, 10:55

cmlover
You are truly the greatest manakkAl rangarAjan fan :) :) . If at all mods did not post it, I was about to call sriram and ask if he has saved it in his pc to post it again.
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bhavs_vasan
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#173

Post by bhavs_vasan » 11 Jun 2009, 01:25

Is it possible for me to get any information on Shri. Kuthalam Viswanatha Iyer. Im extremely sorry if I was wrong to post in here. But, this is the valid search result that I got on him.

Any information or photos related to Shri. Kuthalam Viswanatha Iyer if they could be shared and are available, could you please send it to me at [email protected].

Thanks a lot
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VK RAMAN
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#174

Post by VK RAMAN » 11 Jun 2009, 08:51

Thank you rajeshnat.
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prasanna.mr
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#175

Post by prasanna.mr » 11 Dec 2009, 21:22

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