Padams & Javalis—from the devotional to the erotic in classical music
‘Love, in every meaning of that word – the subtlest and practically devotional, to the most passionate, erotic and earth-shattering exists in our culture – be it music, dance, sculpture or literature. Rather than the unimaginative binaries of making love and the celebration of love as alien, capitalistic and non-Indian (all of which it can be), let’s appreciate it in all its nuances starting with the padams and javalis of carnatic music, as I’ve argued in this article in The Hindu. Listen to how sisters Brinda and Mukta render the padam Ososi in raga Mukhari here.
Understanding the nuances of a raga can be difficult not just for a lay listener but sometimes even for aficionados. ML Vasanthakumari (MLV) tackles this subject, in this clear, concise, and compelling presentation on raga Thodi. MLV’s talk (in Tamil) really resonated with me, as she not only spoke about how different composers handled the raga Thodi but demonstrated it in her inimitable style.
When poetry and devotional verses are set to classical music their appeal reaches a wider audience. My new series on the works of Tamil poets from early Sangam era to the 20th century begins with a poem on the Tamil language by Subramania Bharati. The ongoing series is available here on YouTube. Do let me know what poems you’d like me to add to this playlist.