Tag Archive | Jaffna

Musically yours, from Jaffna

It is an  old article  about a youngster from Jaffna. Hope he reaches his endeavors in due course.

SRINIVASA RAMANUJAM The Hindu Chennai, January 27, 2016

miruthangam

Meet Sri Lanka-based 21-year-old Thuvarakan, whose covers of Tamil songs are gaining popularity on social media.

In all his music videos, T. Thuvarakan is a picture of concentration. Playing two keyboards simultaneously, his fingers deftly search for the right note, not missing them even on one occasion. A big fan of Tamil film music, the 21-year-old’s most recent videos are that of hit Kollywood songs, including ‘Thalli Pogathey’ (Achcham Enbadhu Madamaiyada), ‘Thangamey’ (Naanum Rowdy Dhaan) and ‘Aaluma Doluma’ (Vedalam).

What’s so special, you might ask. Thuvarakan is doing all this in his nondescript room at Jaffna, Sri Lanka, where he was born and lived through three civil wars — in 1995, 2000 and 2006. And, he can play a dozen instruments, including the mridangam, tabla, morsing, violin and guitar. “Jaffna is famous for its culture. But due to the conflict, musicians here do not have access to technology like our counterparts in the Indian film industry. Of late though, the signs are encouraging; people are trying to produce their own albums and short films,” he says.

His passion for music started when he was just three. His father, a singer, was his inspiration at that time. “I started listening to Tamil film songs in my childhood. My father, who is also my first music guru, taught me the popular ‘Kanne Kalaimaane’ song,” he recalls in an e-mail interview. Soon, Thuvarakan was enrolled for mridangam classes, an instrument in which he showed promise.

In 2012, even as he struggled with his studies, he formed a music band called Vaanavil. Consisting of 18 members, the band plays Carnatic, English, Tamil and Sinhala songs. The reach of the band might be restricted, but Thuvarakan seems to be making use of social media to get noticed. “In Jaffna, we have very less media support; they do not give priority to Tamil musicians,” he writes. “We are dependent on social media to reach our talent to the world. It also helps us get exposed to different styles of music.”

After finishing his Ordinary Level Exam, Thuvarakan got a chance to use social media to his advantage. His first independent release was a song he composed for his school cricket match. Buoyed by the appreciation he received, Thuvarakan did a cover version of the ‘Yaendi’ song from Puli and uploaded it. “I got a lot of positive feedback for that,” he says. Soon, he was working on other covers of songs from hit Tamil films. The youngster, who considers Ilaiyaraaja and A.R. Rahman, as his role models, dreams of becoming a composer in the Indian music industry someday. “I will finish my university education in four years and then shift to Chennai to make my dreams come true,” he says.

Check out his work at facebook.com/T.Thuvarakan

Jaffna Oh my Jaffna! (WPC :Cover Art)

 

Palmyra  is the iconic palm  in Jaffna – the Northern Province of  Sri Lanka. The beauty of the Borassus palm  is that each part of the tree, from the root to the tip has an economic use.

 

Palmyra Palm Tree in Jaffna

Palmyra Palm Tree in Jaffna

The leaves of the palm is  fan shaped and the mono-cot could grow up to 3 meters.  A fermented drink   toddy (kallu) is also made from the sap of the  young  floweret (inflorescence). The chosen photo would be the Cover art if I had to write a book about Jaffna oh my Jaffna!

Cover Art.

Keerimalai Kerni – WPC : Humanity

“Keerimalai- Kerni”
Keerimalai Hot springs, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

"Keerimalai- Kerni" Keerimalai hotsprings, jaffna Sri Lanka

The above  shot  was taken  two years ago at  Keerimalai – Kerni  (hot springs), Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

The  hot spring pool  is a  very well known historical site in Jaffna. The springs are separated for each gender and this picture  captures the open-men-well area. The picture shows a typical day at the hot springs when public enjoys a dip.

The  wall adjacent to the ocean was open until Tsunami in 2004. Unfortunately Tsunami waves took away few lives while they were bathing in this pool. Since then the a wall has been added as a safety measure (beige colour wall)

 

The great soul  Mahathma Gandhi said:

“You must not lose faith in humanity.

Humanity is an ocean.,

If a few drops of the ocean are  dirty,

the ocean does not become dirty

 

This photo is an entry for the daily post photo challenge:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/humanity/

Jaffna thavil “vithuvaan” Thatchanaamoorthy

Thavil vithuvaan  Thatchanaamoorthy is a well-known artiste among the  Jaffna Carnatic music lovers.

For those who are unfamiliar with this type of two sided percussion, here are some details:

A hollow barrel shaped “thavil”  drum is  made of  animal skin and wood.  The barrel of the drum is made from  the wood of jak fruit ( ) and the skin is from water buffalo and goat for the either side of the  barrel. The thavil is generally accompanied  with a wood wind instrument called  “nathaswaram” .  The thavil and Nathaswaram combination is  traditionally played in south Indian and north Sri Lankan Hindu Temples, weddings and at auspicious festivals. These ensembles  have 2 thavils (1st & 2nd)  and 2 nathaswarams.

The best ensembles of T & N  are hailed from  Thanjavoor in Tamil Nadu so it  was indeed  magnanimous   for maestro  Thatchanaamoorthy   to shine among the Thanjavoor thavil  artistes.

Thatchannamoorthi was well received whenever he performend in Jaffna Hindu temples. People gather in droves from far away villages to hear his drumming and  to get a glimpse of the maestro. I have many recollections of the conversations my late father had with my uncles and the other “meLLa” fans of late Thatchanaamoorthi. Legend has it that  on one  temple occasion the genius  played  for nearly five hours!

My memory serves correct, his  recorded ensembles were broadcasted  via the South Indian radio stations almost 40 years ago.  I wish success to his family in the mammoth task of  retracing some of his performances for the future generation to cherish.

Below is an article published on The Hindu where his family is searching for his old recordings:

A Jaffna thavil maestro’s Thanjavur connection

Meera Srinivasan The Hindu JAFFNA, December 22, 2013 

Thakshanamoorthi pillai

Thavil Vithuvaan Dakshinamurthy Pillai remains a peerless giant in the world of percussion

Late Dakshinamurthy Pillai remains a peerless giant in the world of percussion

It was during his few years in Thanjavur that thavil maestro Yazhpanam Dakshinamurthy Pillai saw his career peak. It was also in Thanjavur that he got rather disillusioned with the music field. Nearly four decades after his passing away, Dakshinamurthy Pillai remains a peerless giant in the world of percussion. “He was a rare phenomenon. He came, he conquered and he perished,” said Yazhpanam Ganesan, summing up his cousin Dakshinamurthy Pillai’s life.

“Just as he conceived complex rhythmic permutations and combinations, his fingers would effortlessly execute them with utmost clarity,” said Mr. Ganesan, himself a Nagaswaram artist. But until date, the family of Dakshinamurthy Pillai has not been able to retrieve a single recording of his performance in Tamil Nadu.

“We don’t have any video recording, either,” said Yazhpanam Udayasankar, carrying on his father’s legacy. He is the only one among Dakshinamurthy Pillai’s five children to stay back in Jaffna, as a thavil artise. “My brother who lives in Canada also plays the thavil.”

A self-taught genius

Dakshinamurthy Pillai — a largely self-taught genius — went to Thanjavur on the insistence of Needamangalam Shanmugavadivel, a thavil wizard in his own right. “Appa [father] made very good friends there like musicologist B.M. Sundaram, AKP annan (thavil exponent Haridwaramangalam A.K. Palanivel) and Kaliyamurthy annan. They were all passionate musicians, constantly exchanging ideas,” said Mr. Udayasankar.

Dakshinamurthy Pillai had the highest regard for Nagaswaram giant T.N. Rajarathinam Pillai’s music. “He has played for stalwarts like Karukurichi Arunachalam on many occasions,” said Jaffna-based violinist Uthirapathi Radhakrishnan, a nephew of Dakhinamuthy Pillai. He would bring artists from Tamil Nadu to Jaffna for performances as well.

Despite such strong links and artistically rewarding exchanges, the pressures of being a performing artist began daunting him, notes Mr. Udayasankar. “He had no personal rivalry with any artist. They all supported him, but somehow, things did not work out for him.” After some failed attempts at treating his depression Dakshinamurthy returned to Jaffna. He died when he was barely 42. “It is a tragedy that such a genius went unrecognised — both in India and in Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Radhakrishnan.

All that the family has in his memory are a few black and white photographs, one family photograph that looks recently colour-processed. “I was only seven when my father passed away,” said Mr. Udayasankar.

Documentary

In an era when photographs were rare and audio or video recordings even rarer, much of Dakshinamurthy’s contribution on either side of the Palk Strait was undocumented. Only recently, film maker Amshan Kumar started working on a documentary about the maestro. While one part has been shot in Tamil Nadu, the crew will travel to Jaffna early next year for the remaining portion.

The family has another source of hope. Actor Sivaji Ganesan was a big fan of Dakshinamurthy’s performance.

“At his request, my father played at his daughter’s wedding. If only I could contact his family, I will ask them if they have a video recording of that concert. Watching my father play will be a dream come true,” Mr. Udayasankar said.

Family members of Thavil maestro Yazhpanam Dakshinamurthy Pillai.

 

:related article: http://www.thejaffna.com/jaffna/eminence/%E0%AE%A4%E0%AE%9F%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%9A%E0%AE%A3%E0%AE%BE%E0%AE%AE%E0%AF%82%E0%AE%B0%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%A4%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%A4%E0%AE%BF

 

http://www.thejaffna.com/jaffna/eminence/%E0%AE%A4%E0%AE%9F%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%9A%E0%AE%A3%E0%AE%BE%E0%AE%AE%E0%AF%82%E0%AE%B0%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%A4%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%A4%E0%AE%BF

 

 

 

Some Extinct Tamil Proverbs in connection with Dance

Bharathanatyam and the worldwide web

Disclaimer: Before you jump to any conclusion, read till the end of this post. My intentions are to give a glimpse of the past.

Recently, I came across a book titled “A classified collection of Tamizh proverbs” by Reverend Herman Jensen [1, 2]. This book was published in 1897. Yes, that’s long time back! In total there are 3644 proverbs cataloged, classified on various subjects numbering to about 300.

Reverend Herman Jensen was part of the Danish Missionary in Madras presidency. He arrived in 1887 and worked in Arcot, Ranipet, and Sallasapet (?) [3].  He left back to Denmark by 1899 [4]. In the preface, he identifies what Indians do in a regular conversation.

I had already perceived that the Indians could hardly tell a story without introducing some proverbs into it.

Hmmm….I am going to observe that in others from now on. 🙂

Proverbs give an insight into the…

View original post 1,101 more words

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!

Week day mornings are busier at our house hold. Weekends are much

relaxed but the most enjoyable mornings to cherish would be during holidays.

The scene  below, was cptured by my daughter on a morning at Chittering Valley,

WA, Australia while on a farm stay.  One could see the sheep grazing behind the

chalets on an autumn morning.

Autumn Morning at a farm in Chittering Valley

Autumn Morning at a farm in Chittering Valley

Two songs came to my mind when I checked  this weeks  Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!.

The first one was the 16th century British folk song “Early one morning” – which I

learnt at my Primary school back in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

The first four lines of the song:

Early one morning,

As the sun was rising,

 I heard a maid sing,

In the valley below……

One may query the choice of song taught in a Sub-Continental country. The fact

is that Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was a British colony for nearly 150 years!

Below is the You -Tube link for the traditional song sung by Sarah Brightman .

The second song was sung by Louis Armstrong “What a wonderful world” in the

movie ‘Good morning Vietnam’. The song was originally recorded in the late

Nineteen Sixties and later it was featured in the Eighties in the movie.

 

Some of the interesting entries:

1. Beautiful reflections on a fog morning –Sama pictures – The photo experiment

2. Pebbles the cat on Blissful Blog

3. Books before breakfast 

4. New start of the day

5. Mystical

6. Gazing-daisy

7.  Hold on

8. Carefree morning

9. My cyber house rules

10. Rathlin Island

WPC: Fresh – Pineapples

For this week’s Weekly photo challenge I would like to share the photos taken in Sri Lanka few years ago. Road side fruit vendors would slice the fresh pineapple to bite -size and add salt, sugar or spice to the taste of buyers.

Fresh pineapples  for sale

Fresh pineapples for sale

We were lucky enough to pick  a fresh fruit and  made salted and spiced with chilli powder – and they were  yummy indeed.

Fresh pineapple being sliced. (photos ; alfietDec2011)

Fresh pineapple being sliced. (photos ; alfietDec2011)

There are many street-side vendors on the way from Colombo to Jaffna.

For other entries please click: Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic – Jaffna oh my Jaffna

Remembrance of things past  

– William Shakespeare –

The city of Jaffna is in the northern peninsula of the island of Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon). I was born and bred in Jaffna  for the  first two decades of my life. A few years ago my spouse and I took our teenage daughter to show her the place where we grew up.

The swing at my primary school brought a rush of sweet childhood memories to mind.  It was a popular pastime during mid morning recess  and lunch time. It looked so high in those days – as children we found it very difficult to reach the ring of the swing so we would jump or were lifted with the help of a fellow classmate.  The screechy sound produced when this rusty manual merry-go-round was rotated is still etched in my mind.

Nearly 45 years later I was elated to  see that swing again at St. Johns College, Chundikuli, Jaffna and it hasn’t changed at all…

Image

Please check the link for other entries : Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic.

Tamil week to Monsoon Journal

Re- published on  Monsoon Journal,Canada.

http://www.monsoonjournal.com/ArticleFiles/Archives/Arch_on_1-May-2013/Archive_1-May-2013.pdf

Article  on Monsoon Journal (Page 43- may 2013)

Article on Monsoon Journal (Page 43- may 2013)

Memories of Yesteryears (2): P.B. Sreenivas (1930-2013)

By Saba-Thambi

P.B. Sreenivas (Sep 22, 1930-Apr 14, 2013)

Early last week when my spouse turned from the computer to give me the sad news of the veteran play back singer P.B. Sreenivas (PBS)passing away, the news didn’t hit me at that time until 48 hours later as I was listening to PBS songs as usual.

As a fan of Tamil movie melodies PBS’s soothing voice has been in the background of my growing up big time!

Baby-boomer generation of children, born between 1946 -1964 from the Indian sub-continent are accustomed to listen to songs on the short- wave radio, from a “tea-kadai” or barber saloon on their way to school unless the family was privileged enough to own a LP record player or the good old big armed His Masters Voice gramophone. This was the pre-era of audio tapes, compact discs, MP3 or MP4. Baby -boomers of that era from Jaffna heavily relied on the commercial services of the Radio Ceylon (now SLBC) and Trichy, Chennai and Vivitha Bharathi radio stations from South India for their daily dose of melodious entertainment.

for further reading click Ever green melodies of P.B.Srineevas remembered

Ever green melodies of P.B.Srineevas remembered

My article on  PB.Srineevas was published on Tamilweek.com
21 April 2013, 9:40 pm

Memories of Yesteryears (2): P.B. Sreenivas (1930-2013)

By Saba-Thambi

P.B. Sreenivas (Sep 22, 1930-Apr 14, 2013)

Early last week when my spouse turned from the computer to give me the sad news of the veteran play back singer P.B. Sreenivas (PBS)passing away, the news didn’t hit me at that time until 48 hours later as I was listening to PBS songs as usual.

As a fan of Tamil movie melodies PBS’s soothing voice has been in the background of my growing up big time!

Baby-boomer generation of children, born between 1946 -1964 from the Indian sub-continent are accustomed to listen to songs on the short- wave radio, from a “tea-kadai” or barber saloon on their way to school unless the family was privileged enough to own a LP record player or the good old big armed His Masters Voice gramophone. This was the pre-era of audio tapes, compact discs, MP3 or MP4. Baby -boomers of that era from Jaffna heavily relied on the commercial services of the Radio Ceylon (now SLBC) and Trichy, Chennai and Vivitha Bharathi radio stations from South India for their daily dose of melodious entertainment.

for further reading click Ever green melodies of P.B.Srineevas remembered