Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Deep Sea and You

The moon has waned today

to a mere speck of grey light
draped by red restless clouds

The salty winds in my town
near the Sea of Japan
by your dark screams
As I bite into your dreams
tasting the purple blood
of eternity.

Who hears them?

The mermaids have slept

In the dark green kelp
that floats for ever
and muffles your cries

The whales have gone away
with the currents
thinking sweet thoughts of your pain.
They shall be back next year
succulent bits of them
on your plate

The Octopii have descended deeper
All arms flailing
pretending to be you
As you try to die

In the morning
there shall be no blood
on those clean white sheets

Merely the impossible aroma
of the deep sea.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Odd Haikus

Heroes of the past
Come, Thor, to Alabama

the stench of beauty

Comet; Seventy Six Years
Did Haley ever see you fly?

From Roots
to Black Holes

Bidpay of Turkey
Capn Scott "It seems a pity"

London Library

Nascas of Peru
A grim pale Love in Dothan

Milarepa smiles

He, Tut Ahn Kha Mun
The black-ink pot of Basho
Pyramids, a waste

A Concert by Yesudas

I attended an EXCELLENT concert by the great K J Yesudas yesterday at the Fort High School in Chamarajpet, as part of the ongoing Ramanavami Celebrations.

Most of you know of Yesudas from his playback singing in movies.

Listen to a couple of Hindi songs

Ka Karoon Sajani


In fact, he is an outstanding classical Carnatic musician. The concert was electrifying. No fuss; a charismatic and highly energetic person. Perfect selection, not a single note out of place and a charming simplicity that endeared him to all.

A couple of Classical Pieces



I was thrilled by the subdued high-quality accompaniment - Mridangam and Violin. Unlike the average modern Hindustani recital where the accompanists battle for coverage, Carnatic concerts still seem to have restrained accompanists.

He started with a famous Nava Raaga Mallika composition by Patnam Subramania Iyer (of which I have a recording of when I had played at a concert when a boy, accompanying my Guru; a sudden thrilling memory). He sang Kanakangi - a very difficult Raaga - a composition by Thyagaraja. Others that I made notes of: Purandaradasa and Thyagaraja compositions etc etc. One more nostalgic piece was Yenta Velu Kundu Raghava, which my Great Grandmother taught me.

Yesudas was a student of the late great Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar.

There are a few stories about him being denied entry to the Guruvayoor Temple because of his religion and also that his own Christian community sub-sect wasn't pleased with him for singing "Hindu" compositions. Nevertheless, he has today established himself as a five-star classical singer.

The mixing of musical genius in South India is worth mentioning.

Thyagaraja was a Telugu Brahmin from the present Andhra Pradesh. He settled in Tamil Nadu in an area ruled by Maratha Kings. The Tamil community today are truly torchbearers in singing his Telugu compositions. Purandaradasa's works in Kannada are also part of this Carnatic tradition adopted by all hues of musicians.

For that matter, Kumar Gandharva, so famous in Hindustani music, was from a Malayali family that had migrated to North Karnataka (please correct me if this is an incorrect hazy recollection)

Kerala has contributed a great deal to Indian traditions, without question. One recalls the great Swati Tirunal, Maharaja of Travancore, who made a name for himself as a composer and musician. The Palghat Brahmin community has many musicians.

And otherwise, Sanksrit scholars abound in Kerala. The priests at the Pashupati Nath Temple in Nepal are traditionally from the Namboodiris of Kerala. And so is the case at the Badrinath Temple - I could be wrong. Just some trivia.

Anyway, hat tips to Jesudas. What a guy! A great and memorable evening!