A Quick Intro to Mani Iyer and his music

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.


Event synopsis (Listening session on 26th Feb at Hamsadhwani)

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.

How T.N. Bala became Mani Iyer’s Disciple

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 “

Event report ” Great south Indian Carnatic Vocalists of the 50’s”

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.

Mahatma Mani Mozhi Vazhi Nadappom

After Gandhiji’s death, Mani Iyer asked his good friend ‘Chitti’ to compose a song on the Mahatma. Chitti obliged and composed the following song, which was often sung by Mani Iyer in the raga Shanmugapriya. Madurai Mani Iyer was an ardent follower of the Mahatma and was called “Gandhi” by his close associates.




Mani Iyer Concert review, Courtesy Pasupathy sir’s blog

Source: Pasupathy sir’s blog, source link: http://s-pasupathy.blogspot.in/2016/10/96_25.html

Presenting here Mani Iyer’s concert review by a popular critic “Neelam” (Neelamegam). You can see the published date as 15-4-1945 and the newspaper as “Swadesamithran”. Mani Iyer was severely ill during 1944, at the young age of 32 and could not perform in concerts for nearly a year. This review reflects it.

Concert review in 1945
Concert review in 1945
continuation of the concert review, in 1945
continuation of the concert review, in 1945

Newspaper clippings on Mani Iyer, Courtesy Pasupathy sir’s blog

Source: Pasupathy sir’s blog, source link : http://s-pasupathy.blogspot.in/2016/10/96_25.html

Mani Iyer was awarded the “Ganakaladhara” title in 1943. Here is a report from the newspaper “Swadesamitharan” covering it. Published on 26-12-1943.


Here is an advertisement for Mani Iyer’s new LP records released during 1948. Published in the 1948 edition of “Vellimani”.