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I was never really interested in Classical Music. So far, my classical music interests were circumscribed to listening my mother practicing at home [she is a good singer. I believe she should have chosen her career in music and then I would have been a celebrity’s son :)], accompanying her for some local concerts, listening to my relatives singing (there are a few carnatic music enthusiasts in my family) or the ones that come in TV. Still, I never tried to capture the essence of Carnatic Music. Nor did I try to differentiate between the raagas and thaalas in the krithis and keerthanas they sing. I have listened to a lot of people speaking enthusiastically on this issue.

Recently, one of my friends forwarded some links to the websites dedicated to Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. By then, I had listened to Shine on you Crazy Diamond umpteen times, was going through the torture of listening to Bohemian Rhapsody for the nth time, where n tends to infinity and had a lot of songs queued up to play. At this point of ennui, I decided to try something different. As I was apathetically browsing through these links, I stumbled upon some downloads of Chembai concerts. I, still in lethargic mood, casually clicked on Entharo Mahanubhaavalo , downloaded it and started listening to it. That was the beginning of my latest preoccupation. I was totally bowled over by the booming metallic voice of chembai. With that voice, he is still melodious and precise with the swaras. This is excellent, and to some extent, impossible. No wonder he is one of the greatest Carnatic singers of modern era.

The classical music is one of the most difficult art (any art form for that matter is difficult, requires a lot of effort and dedication from one’s part) to practice and perform, due to the significance given to precision and voice modulation. Moreover it requires a lot of imagination and creativity from the part of the performers during raagavisthara, and what comes out is a masterpiece, a quality work. Music is a tapasya, seriously.

From that moment, it has been a day now, and I have been listening to various concerts of Chembai, over and again, and this will continue till I get hooked to something else. Moreover, I have decided to try and understand the gist of these keerthanas, raagas and thaalas. Hope I have the perseverance to accomplish that 😉

Chembai songs can be downloaded from here