Blogging 2017

Always on Repeat (Part – 5 The Devotional Songs for Travel Playlist)

This is a list that will shock purists of Carnatic Music who swear by their ‘original’ singers. Even though I grew up in a household that appreciated the renditions of Maharajapuram Santhanam, M L Vasanthakumari, M S Subbulakshmi and the other names known in the classical music industry, I developed my own taste and started branching out in search of variety.

The songs in this list are not exactly fusion, but they are not the perfect classical renditions either. They are a mixture of folk, electronic music, and other things I cannot quite name. The list is my travel playlist for devotional songs. Because they are all based on popular classical devotional songs or sung about deities. They have unique flavours I love and would give me the right mood for travel.

Maadu Meikkum Kanne by Aruna Sairam

This song is the first on this list because I loved to hear this during my school and college days. I love Aruna Sairam’s version the best because there is a lilt to her voice while singing this song. I love how she puts expressions into the song as if she is really talking as the mother and the child. My favorite of all the songs she has sung, including her famous Kaalinga Narthana Thillana.

Sree Rama Namam by K S Chitra

This was a random song I stumbled upon in YouTube because I was browsing through another channel in which a part of this song was sung as fusion. This song made my day immediately, and I listened to it continuously for two days before I could get enough of it. This song still tops my list of favorite songs of this versatile singer.

Jagadhodharana by Bombay Jayashri

The same singer has sung various versions of this song. But I love this particularly long version because her voice just strikes my soul and settles down whatever excess emotions I am feeling, be it happiness or sadness. The song is the one I turn to when I am going on long drives because even with the tinny distortion of the speaker, Jayashri just speaks to me with her words in this rendition. This song is even more special because I love the original song, I also love MS Subbulakshmi’s version of this song. This made the list as a close cut just pushing out Srinivasa Thiruvenkadamudaiyan by Bombay Jayashri which is another eternal favorite. God. I love her voice.

Raghuvamsa Sudha by Sikkil Gurucharan (Raaga Expressions)

I heard this song first as a fusion when some band performed it. I have quite forgotten who that band were, (thanks to my abysmal memory, not because their performance was lesser in any way) but then I saw this song in the ‘related songs’ section and it was immediate love.

Poonkuyil Koovum by Nityashree Mahadevan (Kurinji)

This one is a slightly older memory. The song is part of an audio cassette I own. I remember listening to this song when it played on the huge audio cassette player / tape recorder at my house in my preteens and early teens. Once I got older, and the technology became obsolete, the search for the audio CD of this album came to fruition only after 5 years and 10 months after I first started searching it. The album is a favorite as a whole and other notable numbers include Thanjam Endrale, Indha Paramugam, Ramanukku Mannan Mudi.

Kannan Mana Nilayai by Nityashree Mahadevan (Brindhavanam)

This song is a favorite because of the lyrics. It speaks of the yearning of a Gopika towards Krishna who sends a messenger to know about Lord Krishna’s mindset. I don’t know who the lyricist is, but I love the words of the song sung from a woman’s perspective. Nityashree Mahadevan’s voice spells it out just the way I love it and I have not gone in search of any other version of this song, even if it exists, because I respect this version so much.

Nrithamadu Krishna by K S Chitra

One of the songs I heard as the caller tune of my aunt. My mother handed over the phone to me excitedly the first time she heard it, asking me if I could find the song, and we had a nice time after instructing the aunt not to pick up the phone. We kept calling the number repeatedly until we had a hang of the words using which we could then search for the song. I associate this song with happy memories and laughter. This is a favorite.

Rama Rama Rama Seetha – Unnikrishnan

Why do I love this song? There are many reasons. The voice, the lyrics, the way the tone makes the song so special. I heard this on recommendation from an aunt who is close to my heart and I shall forever love this for many reasons. I think of a lot of good memories when I hear this song and it takes me back to the golden days of my life (thus far). An eternal favorite.

Theruvil Varaano by Sikkil Gurucharan

This was a fairly recent find. From a friend who has a music taste I admire and love, this song came as a random YouTube link that was given after some discussion about the song. I watched this particular video (the one given in the link) first and it was an immediate favorite. The song was effective in both headphones and speakers and car audio sets and every medium I heard this with.

Kanne En Kanmaniye by Bombay Jayashri

This was a song I always liked. But it became an eternal favorite recently when I felt the emotions behind the lyrics and the words. There are many versions of this song I love, including one sung by Nithyashree Mahadevan, but from my perspective, this is an easy winner. There is something about the voice that suits the mood of this song so well. Though this is meant as a lullaby, I hear this song more to calm myself than to actually fall asleep.

The above list is the best part of my travel companions in this genre. I have 17 such playlists consisting of various combinations of songs each of which I wish to make a post out of. I love music and I love travelling (especially long drives). When both of these combine, I am unstoppable.

*Happy Hagrid*

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