Recently I came to know that Vishnu Sir’s friend had a site on M.K.T, and with Vishnu sir associated with it I knew it would have at least couple of lines about Mani Iyer in it. Sure enough, I found it. Visit the site http://raja1630.tripod.com/ for a more comprehensive info on M.K.T.
You can understand that M.K.T’s peers regarded him as good a carnatic musician as any other stalwart of his era.
Thiruvengadu Jayaraman who was closely associated with Madurai Mani Iyer from 1949 till the demise of the latter in 1968, recalled that Mani Iyer would hear a lot of radio concerts, including MKT’s concerts. Jayaraman remarked that Mani Iyer has lavishly praised MKT for his adaptability to any style of music and Gurubhakti. He has also recollected that MKT has visited Mani Iyer’s concerts and both of them have had discussions at the end. Once at the end of a radio broadcast, somebody criticised MKT’s and T R Mahalingam’s music in the presence of Mani Iyer. Mani Iyer, who was not known to lose temper too often, quipped ‘Are the thousands of people who come to listen to Thyagaraja Bhagavathar mad ?’. Mani Iyer, on a different occasion, remarked ‘Thyagaraja Bhagavathar paattula oru gouravam irukku, mariyaatha irukku’. ‘Gouravam’ and ‘Mariyatha’ are, his fans say, the laudatory words which Mani iyer often used.
Another close associate of Mani Iyer, Late Sri Ananthanarayana Iyer of Golden Rock has often recollected that Mani Iyer did hesitate for a long time to sing Eppo Varuvaaro after the release of Sathvaguna bothan. Mani Iyer said ‘Thyagaraja Bhagavathar ennamaa paadi irukkaar paathela, enakku paadave thona maattengarathu’. This is not only a tribute to MKT’s singing but also shows the innate humity of the venerable Mani Iyer.
Few points to be noted: Sri Ananthanarayana Iyer mentioned here is Vishnu sir’s Grandfather and he was a very close friend of Mani Iyer, and Sathvaguna bothan sung by M.K.T was adapted from ‘eppo varuvaro’ in Jonpuri popularized by Mani Iyer (has the same ‘eppo varuvaro’ tune from start to end).
This Tribute cum anecdote was found courtesy of Goplalam Karamchedu sir’s Blog Lokabhiramam. It was written by Sri Thiagarajan Rathakrishnan. Here it goes,
Tribute to the late madurai mani iyer
By Sri Thiagarajan Rathakrishnan
I have had the privilege and pleasure to get acquainted with the late Madurai Mani iyer . I wish to record my great respect and regards for him through your site.
My wife kamala thiagarajan and I were in Calcutta from 1952 to 1969. We had a friend and a well wisher the late n viswnathan of the Calcutta electric supply corporation, he and his wife were also a distant relation to us.
The late madurai mani iyer whenever he came to Calcutta for concerts, he was the honored guest of viswanathan. In one of his visits my wife and i were introduced to him. The first words mani iyer said was that nannu palimpa by my wife on veena in the all India radio concert was good. It was indeed a great complement. He said he keeps on the radio on throughout the day, and listens to the concerts, irrespective of the grade of the artistes.
He had come to Calcutta for a concert on 27.10.1962. We met him as usual. We were however very much disturbed to see him shivering in the cold. That was the beginning of the winter in the north. We suggested he must have a razaai and offered to get him one.. It was a Sunday. Most of the shops were closed. We went round bhowanipur and found a shop open. We got a razaai, though not a very good one, and gave it to mani iyer. I cannot express in words in words how he felt comfortable in the razaai. He thanked us so much. In the evening he was on the stage with his razaai on. He called it a razaai kachcheri. He did not stop with that. He sang kamalambike in thodi and thyagarajaya namaste in begada. A great tribute indeed to us. I had the recordings of the concert kindly presented to us by viswanathan. And I preserve them even to day..
We used to visit him often in Chennai. He was an excellent conversationalist. He narrated several of his experiences. We became good friends with his mother, sisters and the late vembu iyer. i am not competent to speak on his concerts, but the one I remember is his concert in the sai baba temple in alamelumangapuram, next to our house, during the navarathri festival. The entire place was full with no space to move about. What is more inportant was the people of the poorest section (from the slums if I may call it) had gathered to listen to him in pin drop silence. He sang a ragam tanam pallavi – gandhi mahan vazhi nadappom – in shanmukhapriya. A superb one. I believe this one is in sangeethapriya. In one of his concerts in calcutta I requested him to sing shanta muleka in sama. He said I must hear it from alattur but he did swaraprasthara in the pallavi..
I can write more. But I do not want to take your space. May his soul rest in peace.
you can visit the blog http://lokabhiramam.blogspot.in for more interesting articles on carnatic music
The great Master’s 49th Anniversary will be celebrated on 11th June ( Sunday) at 4.25 p.m at P.S. High school. All are welcome!
Next Mani Iyer Listening session on 28th May (Sunday). All are Welcome!
This great Presentation on Mani Iyer was prepared by Sri. Vishnuramprasad and presented on 26th Febraury 2017 at the Listening session. It is a must see for anybody who is looking for an introduction to the great man and his music.
This event report is admittedly a month overdue, but better late than never. so here we go.
The event roared to a start with ‘karunai seivai’ in Hamsadhwani raga. ‘O jegadhamba’ in anandabhairavi followed. The first recording had palani Subramania pillai on the mridangam while the latter had palaghat Mani iyer accompanying Mani iyer. The chosen recordings for the day starred only these two mridangam vidwans and Lalgudi Jayaraman as the violinist.
V.Vishnu sporadically intervened in between the excerpts to share a piece of information on Mani iyer and/or anecdotes. One such anecdote was T.N. Rajarathinam Pillai praising Mani iyer’s Bhairavi by quiping ” I play Bhairavi for an hour or so, but you sing the same in fifteen minutes and that stays in the mind forever”. Vishnu also shared a presentation that he prepared with the rasikas, which contained Mani iyer’s contributions to the carnatic world.
Back to the recordings played, next was the navagraha kriti ‘Suryamurthe’ in raga sowrashtram since it was Sunday. A brilliant koluvai unnade in Bhairavi and seetavara in devagandhari took the rasikas on a nostalgic ride.
The highlight was yet to come. A Ragam Thanam Pallavi in Lathangi was the highlight, sweeping the rasikas to a state of ectasy for about 30 minutes. Maye, note and Kansan karunai concluded the event. The event also had a brief speech by Hamsadhwani secretary sri. Sundar in which he remarked that all his family members were Mani iyer fans and that he plans to conduct more of these listening sessions moving forward featuring all the stalwarts of the bygone era.
Invitation for the Madurai Mani Iyer listening session on 26th Feb. Report on the event will follow.
There was this post on YouTube by Sri. Yesh Prabhu who apparently had been learning under Sri. T.N. Bala for many years. In this post, he mentions how T.N. Bala became Mani Iyer’s disciple. I will simply quote his post here.
“I am so happy to see that Sri Madurai Mani Iyer is respected and so revered even now, after all these years of his passing away. (He passed away on June 8, 1968). Sri Mani Iyer was my guru’s guru. My guru, the late Sri T N Bala (composer of the famous kriti Vilaiyada idu nerama? in Shanmukhapriya raga), was a very senior disciple of Sri MMI. My guru told me how he was chosen by Sri MMI to be his shishya: Sri MMI was sitting in his yard one Sunday morning, listening to Madras AIR. Two young boys were singing Shree Muthuswami Dikshitar’s kriti Surya murthe in Sowrashtra raga. Impressed, he called the radio station to find out who the boys were, and was astonished that the boys were the sons of his neighbor across the street. He then approached their father to express his wish to teach the boys. Their father was only too happy, of course, and consented. Occasionally, after my lesson, Sri Bala sang for me, imitating Sri MMI’s voice, a Navagraha kriti or a Navaavarana kiti. It was as if Sri MMI sat in front of me and sang; and it was an amazing experience! I have learnt Carnatic vocal from Sri T N Bala for more than 29 years. YeshPrabhu, Bushkill, Pennsylvania “
This is a synopsis of the event that took place at P.S. High school on 22nd January 2017.
The event kick started at 4.25 p.m with V.Vishnu’s (anchor) prayer. Then S.venugopal in his welcome address spoke about the event being a tribute to ariyakudi ramanuja iyengar as it was his remembrance day.
So not surprisingly the first excerpt that was played was ariyakudi’s thodi. It was followed by Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer’s kamas ( kriti Brochevarevarura). A rare recording of Musiri Subramania iyer singing without accompanists was next on the playlist. Chembai’s booming voice was heard in the kambhoji kriti sri subramanyaya namaste next. A brilliant semmangudi’s dwijavanthi kriti Chetasri was played subsequently. The highlight of the kriti was the incredible swaras. Two recordings of G.N.B was played next. One was the amritavarshini kriti Sudhamayee and next was a hindolam raga alapana sung without accompanists at his home. The great madurai Mani iyer’s mohanam rained next ( Kapali). Alathur brothers then held sway with their purvikalyani kriti Deva Deva. M.S. Subbhulakshmi was next with her Annamacharya’s kriti. The event concluded with D.K. Pattamal’s begada.
All in all over a hundred rasikas attended and it was like having an assorted platter of the best dishes in carnatic music.
Madurai Mani Iyer Rasikas Association Proudly presents ” Great South Indian Carnatic Vocalists of the 50’s”. All are Welcome! Review of the event to be posted later in this site.