Monotonous TMK songlist at IIC, Delhi (Livestream) - 15 - 10 -2019

Review the latest concerts you have listened to.
Post Reply
Posts: 207
Joined: 03 Mar 2018, 13:16
x 4

#1 Monotonous TMK songlist at IIC, Delhi (Livestream) - 15 - 10 -2019

Post by shreyas »

Yesterday there was a concert of TMK streamed live on IIC's website using YouTube live. Here is the archived link:

Songlist as far as I can remember:

1. Vandanamu - Sahana - Adi - Tyagaraja [R, N @ Kshemamu, S @ Bhakta Chandana]
2. Allahvai Nam - Behag - Misra Chapu - Nagur Hanifa [R, S @ Allahvai]
3. Ullavaru Sivalaya - Kedaragowla - Adi - Basavanna [R, Th, T]
4. Akarathin - Khamas - Adi - King of Haripad [S @ Palli Kudam]
5. Pag Ghungru Re - Meerabai Bhajan
6. Poonkuyil Koovum - Kapi - Adi - Kalki Krishnamurthy [with a little quip about how due to the average age of people attending, it would be likely to be recognised melodically]
7. Aag Bhayi Bandhu - Lalitha - Adi? - Gopalkrishna Gandhi
8. Dhono Dhanyo - Bilawal? - Tisra Adi - Dwijendralal Roy (Audience screamed out request after he said the concert was over]

Of course, the singing was phenomenal, as always. However, I am beginning to get quite vexed by his songlists these days. Most of you who have seen me here for the past few years have known me to be an overt fan of TMK, and I still am. However, this is the one thing I am really beginning to find pretty irritating in his concerts these days.

It's always the same songs. In terms of Carnatic, you'll hear Sri Nathadi Guruguho (which I absolutely love but have gotten fed up of hearing so many times) and Mathe Malayadhwaja, Nagna Vipina (Kalyani), Sri Mathrbhutham, badalika teera , manavinala and O Jagadamba and a few others ALL THE TIME. For his 'secular-ish' non-conformist repertoire also it's quite restricted. Nee Mattume in Kapi, Dhono Dhanyo, Vaishnava Janatho, this Allahvai Nam, Pag Ghunrgu Re, Ullavaru Shivalaya, all of them are practically staples in his performances nowadays. And, of course, Perumal Murugan.

Honestly, it is really annoying whenever I hear these again and again and again. I really love his singing but when every concert you ever listen to is from the same pool of twenty songs, that's not nice at all. From a guy whose repertoire used to be so vast (look at this: viewtopic.php?t=32973) , now it's really very limited. That's why I was so pleasantly surprised in the Bangalore concert when he began with a krithi I had never heard him sing before.

I love the fact that he's spreading out into other types of song, but even those are the same. Like at least sing some different stuff each time. While, as I said, his singing is still wonderful, he really needs to start singing some new things.

Posts: 5390
Joined: 05 Jul 2007, 18:17
x 148
x 23

#2 Re: Monotonous TMK songlist at IIC, Delhi (Livestream) - 15 - 10 -2019

Post by sureshvv »

Updating one's repertoire constantly on an ongoing basis takes tremendous amounts of time and effort and leaves little room for much else like activism :D

Posts: 32
Joined: 22 Jun 2016, 01:24

#3 Re: Monotonous TMK songlist at IIC, Delhi (Livestream) - 15 - 10 -2019

Post by raga_tala »

I agree with this statement. Does anyone know what raga the meera bhajan is? It is a catchy tune

Posts: 2098
Joined: 27 Oct 2007, 11:55
x 3
x 3

#4 Re: Monotonous TMK songlist at IIC, Delhi (Livestream) - 15 - 10 -2019

Post by HarishankarK »

From his recent song lists looks like he is trying to go on the lines getting Bharat Ratna through over-inclusiveness and national integration (including songs from other languages usually alien to carnatic music and singing on other religion deities).
Nothing wrong with that just looks contrived.

Posts: 1845
Joined: 31 Jan 2017, 20:20
x 58
x 20

#5 Re: Monotonous TMK songlist at IIC, Delhi (Livestream) - 15 - 10 -2019

Post by Sachi_R »

I wouldn't normally comment on a song list of someone. Today's musicians, especially those at the top of the charts, are acutely savvy about what to sing where.

But the recurring songs/themes in TMK concerts raise a question here in the thread title and that has triggered a thought in me.

A famous CM vocalist would normally cater to the same demographic/profile/constituency of listeners across cities. So such a musician would sing different major ragas, kritis, and such, and continue to offer a rich fare representing their USP and repertoire and virtuosity to a familiar listener base.

In TMK's case this is not really the situation. TMK is like a Chetan Bhagat or a J K Rowling going to many different book signing ceremonies. The commonality among his listeners is not their sustained interest in CM but their sustained fascination with TMK and his writings and expressions. I dare say they want to hear and see the man in person after having read his writings or seen his interviews. After all even a Ramesh Swamy introduces TMK as "a living legend of CM who has won the Magsaysay".

So in this case even if TMK sings the very same songs, there is no "monotony". It may not meet the criteria of die-hard CM fans. I mean here those who make every effort to catch TMK in every one of his live or webcast concerts. But so what. I am sure TMK doesn't care what these guys think about "monotony".

I am one such fan. And in the last 2 months I think I had close encounters with TMK maybe 8 times. That's a lot. In that I include live concerts, webcasts and then uploads.

Finally, let me say I have a different issue. I find that the high standard of CM I found in his Aug. end Kolkata concert wasn't matched by the level of subsequent presentations that I attended and heard. On occasion he was trying very hard to build up an alapana or sing a song with that great feeling he demands of himself, but something remained beyond his grasp. And he showed (I hope I wasn't imagining it) that he knows it. Credit to TMK. With his style of presentation, he is able to "hear himself" and he wears his self-appreciation or otherwise on his sleeve!

I do have to say that I think TMK always gets great accompaniment. Good accompaniment is such a big part of CM. And TMK carries a ream of books and papers and an iPad with perhaps a very large repertoire.👍👍👍

PS: 🙃The percussion in Jagriti concert was below par. I was underwhelmed on many counts in that concert.

Posts: 9291
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 08:04
x 120
x 22

#6 Re: Monotonous TMK songlist at IIC, Delhi (Livestream) - 15 - 10 -2019

Post by rajeshnat »

Repeating songlist again and again willl surely give more musical polish to core raaga bhavam . Few singers like himalayan semmangudi ,gnb , mmi and mdr indeed did that. Their intent is to get more musical polish .

In TMK's concert that i last attended which i reviewed here,at the beginning of the song he sang a brief alapana in yk kambodhi then took a big bound notebook from behind his sishya GRavikiran , For few seconds he reviewed and turned the page. What can he see in that 30 seconds and then continue with a song . Then towards the end he sang a hamsadhwani then sang vAthApi . I enjoyed that particular concert which had a glorious kaapi with inta sowkhya, for that cappucino/ filter coffee it was worth it .

Bottom line for me musicians can take any route . They can repeat again and again the combo of ksheenamai and marubalka like SSI or take any composition ,tune it in fly and sing it for first time like madurai somu . Both are geniuses and I per se donot like to measure music in the presence or absence of repitition. The key is musical attention that vidwan/vidushi has to give for every minute in that usual 2 to 3 hour concert. This usually happens if you select a best of best accompanist , sing with extraordinary laya leash which brings more raga bhavam . All this is just my opinion on CM.

But what i think vs what the Mass thinks is sometimes contrary .
Here are atleast 7 swaras to illustrate:

1. Attention is waning within a concert for me as rasika
TMK is self evaluating every musical expression.

2. Orphaning Krithis with only R and sometimes having some percussionist who orphans even basic beats when krithi is on
TMK is thinking and living at that moment

3. CM is more prepared ,rehearsed with well set extraordinary accompanist with mrudu angam being a defining contributor .
Mrudangam is left out in the concert and making violin play whatever time, bringing two upapakkavadhyams (dropping mrudu angam) . At times telling there is nothing more for me to sing which only shows musical blackhole effect at that moment,

4. Taking a great song created by composers like trinity, gkb, sivan, tanjore sankara iyer,GNB,LGJ etal and RTP shows musical worthiness falling in the zone of classial worthiness.
Fragmenting with National Integration songs which are musically less worthy which falls on classical unworthiness . Having few of them is fine but just taking this alone as the dominant theme is not great .Ofcourse they are already premanufactured worthy because Money is thrown in visual media by inviting Film directors and world class cinematographes to shoot like a Lord of the Rings Movie with great recording studio backup. I would love if the same song with the same accompanist is sung in kalakruthi -chetpet, from that day the reviews will stop even in .

5. There is a blur in talam which is evident at times the krithi is suddenly slokhamized/viruthamized/ugabhoogized depending on language .
TMK is looking at hidden contours

6. Concerts and self writings in press are to share and experience the highest form of classical arts is the main goal of musician
TMK is Planning to get Rajyasabha seat is perhaps the main goal.

7. I love musicians who market more and posture less
TMK prefers to market and posture equally.

What matters is musician has to be continously in the NEWS in both print and internet media .One rasika( rajesh) view hardly matters!

Rajesh Lost - TMK wins!!!

All said TMK is a great musician, his voice is very strong and his keezh kala sangathis and vilamba kalam krithis are superb .He had the superb firepower a decade before with his ksheenamai and marubalka in his fiery N and S . Now they are mostly either hidden or lost .The last time i heard live was his lovely Kapi ,i wish the musical beverage aroma started with yk kambodhi to hamsadhwani.The order of raga shuffles that he does often hardly matters but what matters is sustained classicism after you take up any raga without orphaned malnourished deaths.

I look forward to hear a concert where it goes from 9pm to 11:45 pm . It is actually a nice time where i spend time with kid and family in the evening then go to carnatic concert instead of cinema night show .

I want to taste my dear carnatic music , the last time i tasted was one mahasivarathri two 90 mins concert which started at 12 to 3 AM.
Chennai Lost - Bangalore wins !!!
Last edited by rajeshnat on 18 Oct 2019, 14:09, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 16381
Joined: 22 Jun 2006, 09:30
x 626
x 8

#7 Re: Monotonous TMK songlist at IIC, Delhi (Livestream) - 15 - 10 -2019

Post by arasi »

Sachi avarE,
An insightful analysis into TMK's performances. You know your TMK and you are not a 'he's great' or the opposite-- 'call it a concert?' kind of listener to his music. Your posts in the past years and your response to the Kolkata concert speak for themselves. When a musician's other persona enters his concert presentation, there's a problem for rasikAs who are there for his music alone.
Even when he was singing more sAhitya, his mini-reference library on stage was a distraction. pustakam hasta Bhushanam perhaps, but ranga Bhushanam (stage décor)? To eliminate an array of books on stage:. for the few pieces that he sings, he could brush up a handful of songs the very morning of the concert (inspired ones) and then, sing a few out of that selection. Easy for a listener to say, I know, but will make his presentation more effective.

Some expression--'orphaned' sAhitya :)

Posts: 1845
Joined: 31 Jan 2017, 20:20
x 58
x 20

#8 Re: Monotonous TMK songlist at IIC, Delhi (Livestream) - 15 - 10 -2019

Post by Sachi_R »

Rajesh and Arasi are great rasikas and their views are important.

Whereas some musicians (Sanjay, Abhishek, Amrutha and RKM come to mind) seem to be able to sing such a wide variety of songs without memory aids, TMK seems to have long accepted that reading song scripts on stage is ok. It is a choice he has made.

I think Ariyakudi got it right. When you don't do anything in excess - alapana, niraval, swaras, vocal muscle show-off, or reel off any single type of songs - light stuff, vivadi, desh bhakti, or heavy lifting Dikshitar etc., - You maximise the chance for rasa-anubhava. You take every segment of the audience along. You give a chance to accompanists to show their mettle. You don't confuse anybody. And you display a kind of humility - an attitude that says musical values, and the composition, are on the throne in Carnatic music. For me that is the best worship of CM!

Post Reply