When Perumal Murugan met TM Krishna on a fateful evening in 2016, he shared with him snippet of his poetry. Perumal Murugan is an Indian author, scholar and literary chronicler who writes novels in Tamil. He has written six novels, four collections of short stories and four anthologies of poetry to his credit. Winner of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, T.M. Krishna is a famed Carnatic vocalist based out of Chennai.
It was in the picturesque temple town that TM Krishna suggested that they collaborate. What this led to was one of the most enchanting musical performances the patrons witnessed.
Murugan hence started writing verses in the arrangement of keethanas. The evening unravelled to six keerthanas and three aalaps of Carnatic music. Seemingly simple verses were transformed into intricate sung forms. The first composition of the evening was titled “Sky”, which was aptly set in the raag “Poobalam” which means dawn, speaking of perhaps a new era in music where music would be inclusive of all of the society. TM Krishna believes that music evolves when diversified- diversified in subjects, thoughts, dialects and most vitally, the people. Carnatic music has been a privilege of the upper class for too long. This is also where TM Krishna’s and Perumal Murugan’s minds met. Perumal Murugan’s verses were interpreted into compositions that transcended the surreal to ultimately attain the “absolute real”, in all its glory.
The subsequent keerthanas were a tribute to the 3 out of five elements of nature, according to the Vedas- water, fire, air, earth, wind, and space. Perumal Murugan would recite the verses first and TM Krishna and his troupe gave tunes to the lines.
T.M Krishna evoked the elements of nature by giving life to Perumal Murugan’s keerthanas crafted on the Kongonadu dialect. The performance seemed to be an orchestra led by TM Krishna’s hands that seemed to paint a picture of the visual of every element.
The mesmerizing evening came to an end with an exquisite piece on love followed by the humble artistes meeting and greeting audience members.
Thanks to Prakriti Foundation for organizing such wonderful event.
The Poetry with Prakriti festival is happening from Dec 3rd – Dec 17th 2017.
Thanks Drishya Sobhana Narayanan for the wonderful write up. Thanks Charles Antony for the pictures.