Can Vernacular Poetry Make Classical Music More Accessible?


Kshetrayya, Tagore, Thampi & More

While everyone has favourites, be it an artist or songs, we still look for something new. This sometimes comes from outside the world of music and composers – from vernacular poets. While Bharathi and Aandal in Tamil or Basavanna in Kannada and Tukaram in Marathi have gained popularity on stage – we are seeing ever more poetry being set to music and brought to stage. So the works of Malayali poet Irayimman Thampi, Telugu padam creator Kshetrayya or even Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore are helping classical music reach a wider audience. Read more here.

Swathi Thirunal of Travancore

Photo: WikiCommons

Manipravalam – A Royal Composer’s Canvas
Just as with poets, composers too have come from every background. When politics looms large in our lives, it’s hard to imagine the head of the state such as a king being a prolific composer. Like Kulasekara Alwar in the 9th century CE, Swati Tirunal, the 19th century Maharaja of Travancore has had a prodigious output – over 700 songs in multiple languages – Malayalam, Sanksrit, Tamil, Telugu and more. His compositions in Manipravalam – a Sanskrit and Tamil amalgam are particularly sweet. Read more about them here.

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