Question 1 – “Seetha is my Mother, Rama is my Father, Hanuman, Lakshmana, Garuda, Shatrughna,Bharata and others are my Brothers….” – Identify the composition of Sri Tyagaraja.
Answer : The Kriti of Sri Thyagaraja is “Seethamma Mayamma” in the Ragam Vasantha set to Adhi thalam.
At a philosophical level, the Kriti emphasises the importance of satsanga and revels in the connection that Sri Thyagaraja has with he supreme beings and the messengers of God.
In the Pallavi he talks about Seetha and Rama as his parents guiding him through the samsara.
In the anupallavi he talks about Hanuman, Lakshmanan, Garuda, Shatrughna, Bharatha and calls them his brothers due to a similar vision of devoting their lifetimes doing service to the almighty.
In the charanam, he establishes his strong relationship with the great divine beings who have guided him through their preachings to attain his Spiritual enlightenment. He mentions all the celestial beings from Sri Paramesha , Vasishta, parashara, Narada, shaunaka, shuka, surapati, gowthama, Lambodhara, Guha, Sanaka to all the Bhagavathas in the world and says that he is related to all of them through his spiritual mind.
Question 2 – “Kural, tuttam, kaikilai, uzhai, ili, vilari, taram” – How are these terms related to carnatic music?
Answer : These are names of the 7 swaras or notes in the tamil tradition. Kural – Shadja ;Tuttam – Rishaba ; Kaikilai – Gandhara ; uzhai – Madhyama ; Ili – Pancama ; Vilari – Dhaivata ; Taram – Nishada.
The tamil tradition from as early as Cilappatikaram follow this nomenclature. They used to refer these names to the 7 strings of the Yazh( modern harp) and identified various musical scales (pann) by shifting the basic note to various notes (modal shift of tonic).
Question 3 – Identify the artistes from the clip given below – https://soundcloud.com/sukrtam-trust/audio-12
Answer : Alathoor brothers ( Sri Sivasubramania iyer and Sri Srinivasa Iyer).
The Alathoor Brothers are known for their thiruppugazh renditions. Sri Venkatesa Iyer (Subbiyer’s father and guru) along with the Pudukkottai Sri Dakshinamurthy pillai (Laya Exponent) got fascinated by Sri Arunagirinathar’s Thiruppugazh because of the rare tala structures and laya complexities interspersed with tamil lyrical beauty. Sri Venkatesa Iyer set them to music and taught the brothers who performed them in their concerts. Some of the thiruppugazh in complex chanda talas are Kadhimodhi, Paniyinvintuli ,etc. Their attachment towards thiruppugazh even inspired them to compose a ragam thanam pallavi with the lyric “Apakaara nindai pattuzhalaade ariyada vanjaraikkuriyade” , a line from one of Arunagirinadhar’s tiruppugazh. They were also one of the pioneers in singing Ragam neraval Swarams to tirupugazhs and singing it in full zeal..
Alathur brothers were well known for their chaste kriti rendering. Every kriti, especially Sri Tyagaraja’s, was rendered with a lot of bhava and verve. The neraval and Swara exchanges were very exciting. In fact, the embellishments given on the kriti line after every Swara or neraval turn were something to look forward to. The raga alapanas shone were vibrant and a treat for connoisseurs and students of music, alike.