Madurai Mani Iyer’s 105th Birthday celebration was held at P.S. High School, Mylapore on 23/10/2016 and here is a brief report on the event.
The Programme started at around 3.45 pm with singer Sri. Suryaprakash kicking things off with a beautiful prayer. Sri. Kuppuswamy then introduced the guests of honor and welcomed them onto the dais. Cleveland sri. V.V. Sundaram was asked to honor the chief Guest for the event, Sangeetha Kalinidhi Dr.T.K. Murthy and speak a few words on him. Sri. Sundaram spoke that words like “Genius” and “living legend” are being too casually thrown around these days but Dr.T.K. Murthy really is a living legend, and fondly recalled his 40 year association with the veteran Mridangam artiste. One rasika was quick to point out that no one can match Dr.T.K.Murthy’s Mridangam skills while playing for Pancharatna Kritis. Mridangam Vidwan Sri. K.S. Kalidas was the next speaker, and he said that though people usually only speak about the “sowkhyam” aspect of Mani Iyer’s music, Mani Iyer has also done a lot on the “laya” side of the music. He also stated that though accompanists were initially wary of accompanying Mani Iyer since he sang in a simple sarvalaghu style, devoid of any rhythmic complexities, They later understood the true greatness of his music and clamored to accompany him.
Dr.T.K. Murthy spoke next and said he considered it a great privilege to speak about Mani Iyer, and his music was the embodiment of su-swaram (pure sounds). He also touched upon how great Mani Iyer was as a person, that he would never speak ill of any artiste, took care of his accompanists in the best way possible, and would never let others pay for anything while traveling with him for a concert. The whole speech can be watched here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC_bDT9y9iQ
Anchors for the day Sri. Lalitha Ram and V.Vishnu took over and played some select clips of Mani Iyer while explaining the greatness of the music contained within each clip. Sri. Lalitha Ram started off by playing the famous 1967 recording of Ma Janaki and followed it up with the Abhogi rendition Manasunilpa. he said that this particular rendition was the reason he became a Mani Iyer fan. Meru Samana, Madhar Pirai in Arabhi, Venkatachalapthe in Karnataka Kapi, Nithya Roopa in Darbar , Thodi RTP, English note formed the rest of the clippings played. Lalitha Ram explained that these songs were selected to show rare/unusual renderings of Mani Iyer. The event concluded with Mani Iyer’s Mangalam.
The event was a grand success with around 100 Rasikas and Madurai Mani Iyer fans attending the event.