Wednesday, January 15, 2020

VEENA FACTS


Chi. Sumithra- True tone of Veena

I found this little one's (Chi.Sumithra) impressive rendition of a Pancharatnam on Veena at such a tender age  (on youtube). Purity of true, acoustic tone of her Veena were added features that caught my attention. May God bless her!

MAGNETIC PICKUP- Gives lot of gain in the amplifier. This pickup is sought after for providing artificial depth and continuity of tone, facility for gimmicks (usage of only left hand without plucking with right hand) and it picks up only strings and rejects the core of Veena which is jackfruit wood. Consequently the  Veena sounds like an electric guitar or a mandolin or a sitar.

ACOUSTIC PICKUP- Picks up the wholesomeness of true tone that comes from seasoned jackfruit wood. Tone is enhanced by the combined energies of the Veena player and the jackfruit wood. For details please  refer to -1) Miracles of Veena, 2) Grace of Veena, 3) Acupressure on Veena for tonal enhancement, 4) Eternal Grace, 5) Deiva Veena-Maanushi Veena, 6) Cruel act of dismantling Veena, 8) Veena/Gayathri Mantra/Upanishads,9) Veena Rahasya and 10) About the Veena in this blog.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Moola Nakshatra - About the Veena (4)



                                                       THIRUGNANASAMBANDAR

Veyuru Tholibangan Vidamunda Kandan
Migha Nalla Veenai Thadavi 
Maasaru Thingal Gangai Mudimel Anindu Yen
Ullame Pugunda Adanaal
Naayiru Thingal Sevvaai Budhan Vyaazhan Velli
Shani Paambu irandum Udane
Aasaru Nalla Nalla Avai Nalla Nalla 
Adiyaaravarkku Migave


MEANING:- The Divine One who has taken into His Body His feminine soulmate (Goddess Parvathi) with bamboo like shoulders, Whose throat has stains of the poison He swallowed, Who plays the Veena faultlessly, Who wears the blemish-free Moon and the flowing River Ganges on His Head, He has entered my heart! Therefore the planets Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the the two Nodes (shadowy planets) Rahu/Ketu will not harm me in anyway. They will only do good, good and very good for me!!

The above is the first stanza of Kolaru Pathigam authored by one of the brightest of 63 Nayanmars, Thirugnanasambandar. In the first verse itself the great Nayanmar has established not only the supremacy of Veena in spiritual texts, the fact that Lord Shiva plays the Veena in tune with the Universe has also been stressed here.

Thirugnanasambandar was born in the Nakshatram Moola. His birth took place at a time when Jainism and Buddhism were strong religious influences in India.
A child prodigy and God-gifted, Thirugnanasambandar at a tender age of 3 sang Thodudaya Seviyan which is the first Thevaram Verse when Goddess Parvathi fed him milk in the Sirkazhi temple.  

Thiruneelakantha Yazhpanar one of the 63 Nayanmars. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and an exemplary Veena exponent. Thirugnanasambandar would compose the lyrics and Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar would set the tune for Sambandar's lyrics and render the same on His Veena. Thirugnanasambandar's heart always melted at the divinity of Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar's rendition of the Veena. Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar felt very fortunate to be with Thirugnanasambandar and together they travelled to many temples, spreading Saivism through Their divine music and literature. rics and render the same on His Veena.      
Slowly Yazhpanar started developing a sense of ego when he mastered the art of composing music for Thirugnanasambandar's lyrics. That was when Lord Shiva wanted to rectify Yazhpanar's egoistic thoughts. At this juncture, Thirugnanasambandar and Yazhpanar reached Lord Shiva's temple in Dharmapuram, (presently in Puducheri district). Inside the temple, Thirugnanasambandar in divine ecstasy started to recite verses in praise of  Lord Shiva. Despite supreme efforts Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar could not reproduce on His Veena whatever Thirugnanasambandar was chanting. In frustration and humiliation Yazhpanar wanted to break the Yazh (Veena) and end His own life. Lord Shiva appeared before the duo of Thirugnanasambandar and Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar and took the Veena from yazhpanar. Lord Shiva Himeself set the tune for Thirugnanasambandar's lyrics and played them on the Veena and danced to the tune at the same time. This divine spectacle shattered the pride and ego of Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar. Due to this divine incident the Lord in this temple is known as Yazh Muri Nathar. In this temple Lord Shiva is shown playing the Veena!! All Veena aspirants will benefit from worshipping here.

YAZH MURI NATHAR TEMPLE, DHARMAPURAM, KARAIKAL DISTRICT


In Yazh Muri Nathar temple Thirugnanasambandar's birth star is celebrated as Guru Pooja in the tamil month Vaikasi on the day when moon is in the constellation of Moola.

Thirugnanasambandar's heart always melted at the divinity of Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar's rendition of the Veena. Thiruneelakanta Yazhpanar felt very fortunate to be with Thirugnanasambandar and together they travelled to many temples, spreading Saivism through Their divine music and literature. 

The Veena developed from Yaal or Yazh ( harp without frets which is played with both hands) during the period of Thirugnanasambandar. The Veena with frets and the concept of gamakas originated during the lifetime.

Dr. Premalatha, musicologist states (in her thesis Music through Ages), "The biography of Thirugnanasambandar marks an important stage in the development of the concept of gamaka and incidentally of the fretted Veena. The strings of the yazh were tuned to the notes of suddha scales. Since it was a plain instrument there was no provision to manipulate the grace and quarter tones in Megharaga Kurinji."

P.S: Kolaru Pathigam contains powerful affirmations. The word "Nalla Nalla" (Good Good) is repeated in all the verses. In modern times we have authors like Louise L.Hay writing about the manifestations of affirmations. The practice of positive affirmations has been implemented many centuries ago by saints like Thirugnanasambandar. Thirugnanasambandar's affirmations invoke nothing less than the planets and above all the Divine Grace of the Lord Almighty Shiva and His Divine Consort, Goddess Parvathi! Kolaru Pathigam is a magic sloka for mitigating problems arising due to planets in transit as well as in the natal chart.


Monday, January 6, 2020

VEENA FACTS

NEED FOR DISTINCTION BETWEEN ACOUSTIC ORIGINAL VEENA AND ARTIFICIAL ELECTRIC  INSTRUMENTS IN THE NAME OF "SARASWATHI VEENA"

Magnetic pickup/strings use the " Saraswathi Veena" only for the sake of appearance and as a disguise. The magnetic pickup/strings reject the acoustic properties of jackfruit wood. The"kudam" or "resonator” is reduced into a dummy piece as it’s energy is not picked up by the magnetic pickup/strings. Magnetic pickup/strings depend wholly on the amplifier for artificial tonal adjustments. Where the magnetic pickup/strings are concerned the form or shape of the instrument and the kind of wood used in making the instrument are of no significance and therefore totally negligible.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Roots


                                                                         ROOTS
Late Sri. M.B.Srinivasan was the General Secretary/ Treasurer of Cine Musicians ‘ Union. I was probably one of its youngest members who had joined the Cine musicians  fraternity in mid 60s! (this membership card is dated March, 1970). This card is a treasure as I had learnt lessons in versatility from the field of Cinema.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Sri Viswaguru Vidyaranya Swami, Narasaraopet, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh

SRI VISWAGURU VIDYARANYA SWAMI ASHRAM

Main Temple Inside Ashram Where Bhagavanji's Samadhi Is Worshipped

Bhagavanji Sri Viswaguru Vidyaranya Swami
Pooja on Bhagavanji's Brahmaleena Mahotsavam Day
Serene and peaceful morning in the ashram- walking around the ashram I tried to capture the moments on my mobile camera..... Mathaji's Samadhis, Yaagashaala, the distant temple of Medha Dakshinamurthy on top of the hill (Kotappa Konda) which is not visible due to cloudy weather......
BHAGAVANJI SRI VISWAGURU VIDYARANYA SWAMI, NARASARAOPET, ANDHRA PRADESH

Starting from left (Mathaji Chidvidya Prabhadevi (attained siddhi), Mathaji Vidyasukha Prabhadevi (attained siddhi) and Mathaji Sadvidya Prabhadevi).

Bhajans rendered by MALLADI BROTHERS
Music composed by A.K.RISHAL SAI
Album produced by my husband E.V.RAMAKRISHNA

My husband, Sri.E.V.Ramakrishna with Mathaji Chidvidya Prabhadevi

Myself with Mathaji Sadvidya Prabhadevi
Bhagavanji, as He is reverentially called by His devotees, Sri Viswaguru Vidyaranya Swami attained Brahmaleenam (Immersion in Brahman) on Sapthami thithi in the month of May, 1999. Shortly I will be posting translations of His works ( in Sanskrit)- Anugraha Bhashanam and Bhagavad Bharathi


Saturday, December 21, 2019

Total solar eclipse in Moola Nakshatra- Veena practice

                                                           GODDESS SARASWATHI
Total solar eclipse is going to take place in Moola nakshatra on 26th December roughly between 8.00 am to 11.30 am. Eclipse of Sun in Moola nakshatra, 4th pada (in transit at 09:46 degrees) occurs when Moon (in Moola, 4th pada) passes between Earth and Sun, completely blocking Sun from Earth's view. Other planets involved in the eclipse and transiting Moola nakshatra are Mercury, in Moola, 1st pada  (00:53 degrees) and Jupiter in Moola, 4th pada (11:09 degrees). Two other planets Saturn in Poorvashadha 4th pada  (26:34 degrees) and Ketu in Poorvashadha 1st pada (14:26 degrees) are in the same zodiac (Sagittarius/Dhanur Rasi) though not in the eclipsed constellation which is Moola.
Moola being the seat of Saraswathi is ideal for practising original acoustic Saraswathi Veena and listening to Saraswathi Suktham of Rig Veda. Practice of Veena during this particular eclipse will yield abundant benefits. Prayers to Lord Anjaneya ( belonging to Moola Nakshatra) also yields great results

Friday, December 20, 2019

Acoustic Veena in Cinema


Earlier Veena functioned entirely as an acoustic instrument. Veena never had a contact mike    (or even an acoustic pickup) while recording in studios.  In studio recordings Veena was recorded by a normal voice mike (placed on a stand) and facing the instrument. Amazingly this proved to be the best and most sensitive mike which had the capacity to pick up the most minute details and nuances of Veena music. In recent times Veenas are plugged in even inside recording studios, whether it is in Cinema/All India Radio/Compact Disc recording studios. The Veenas use pickups/contact mikes that are directly plugged into the recording console or into a portable amp/speaker in front of which a voice mike is placed. Veena loses its natural tone when plugged in for studio recordings.

Late Sri.Chittibabu had recorded his Veena in many films of my father, film music director, late Sri.G.Aswathama.
                                                         LATE SRI.G.ASWATHAMA
In all my father's songs Sri.Chittibabu'sVeena was recorded directly by a stand mike and without the usage of contact mike/ pickup. 
LATE SRI.CHITTIBABU

My father's hit song from the telugu film "Annaa Thammudu" in the year 1958 -Veena by Sri.Chittibabu (Use earphones)

Myself
All through my involvement in the field of Cinema (films in Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil from the year 1965 to 2000) I had used the voice mike for my Veena and I had never used the pickup/contact mike for recording and re-recording sessions. My concerts for the All India Radio were also recorded through the voice mike and without pickup/contact mike.


MY ACOUSTIC VEENA (WITHOUT PICKUP/CONTACT MIKE FOR THE TITLE MUSIC OF A TAMIL FILM IN 1976) (Use earphones)




MY ACOUSTIC VEENA (WITHOUT CONTACT MIKE/PICKUP FOR A TAMIL FILM SONG, 1977) (Use earphones)

MY ACOUSTIC VEENA FOR A TELUGU FILM SONG (1998) RAJAHAMSA (Use earphones)


MY ACOUSTIC VEENA AND MY VOICE ( the song required an amateur female singer. Primarily I was assigned to play Veena in this song and after much thought from my side the decision to mix my amateurish voice was taken in the last minute.) WITH S.P.BALASUBRAMANIAM IN RAJAHAMSA (1998). 
(The English wordings I sang as shown on screen are wrong and hilarious!!) The correct words are- First BGM "Is this love or is that how I feel? Is it magic or is love so real? I want to find this place of ecstasy so is this love, someone tell me please." Second BGM-" Love is a special thing it never grows old. It can make you laugh, it can make you sing, it can't  be bought, it can't be sold!" 
(Use earphones)


Sunday, December 15, 2019

ABOUT THE VEENA

                                                              AKG Contact Mike

ENHANCEMENT OF DIVINE FEATURES-
There are 2 types of contact mikes. The acoustic contact mike (for eg., one of the many acoustic contact mikes is AKG as in the above photograph. Percussion instruments like ghatam make use of AKG for their instruments) picks up the essentially acoustic nature of an instrument, in other words the sound waves and frequencies conducted within the wood grains are also contacted and picked up by the acoustic contact mike. The divine qualities of the Veena are not sacrificed as this mike enhances the true tone (including sound frequencies in the wood grains which lend an unique aura to the resonance of strings).

HOW TO RECOGNIZE BY SOUND- Essentially acoustic. The wholesome tone due to the combo of wood and string make the Veena nadam ethereal. The player's penance is evident in the enhancement of nada (resonance) due to transmission of life force energy from player into the Veena.


LOSS OF DIVINE FEATURES-
The magnetic mike is bigger and rectangular in shapr. This is most often placed bang next to the topmost fret (or Tharasthayi shadjamam) of the Veena and right under the strings where the player uses his/her right hand forefinger and middle finger to pluck the strings. In some cases it's placed right next to the bridge too.The magnetic mike does not pick up resonance of wood. Therefore the acoustic nature of an instrument like Veena is stubbed out and the instrument is transformed into an electric instrument. When Veena transforms from acoustic to electric, the instrument loses its innate divine qualities. The nabhi (the prana shakthi arising from the mooladhara chakra) involvement of the player fails to establish contact with the Veena. 

HOW TO RECOGNIZE BY SOUND-Sounds like a guitar, sitar, or an alien instrument depending on the levels of tone adjustments on the mixer-mike system. Absence of aura and body provided by wood are starkly evident. Monotonous and even tone which are uncharacteristic features of a Veena. Gimmicks like producing sound through left hand movements (without plucking the string with right hand) is a common feature.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

ABOUT THE VEENA


                                                                  JACKFRUIT TREE

VEENA WITH MAGNETIC PICKUP -A MOCKERY OF JACKFRUIT WOOD

There is enough evidence of sacredness associated with the Jackfruit Tree. Lord Krishna has always chosen the Jackfruit tree to either appear under it as Guruvayoorappan or to instruct the King of Manipur (in the 18th century) in his dream to carve out His images from it. 7 images of Lord Krishna were carved out of the Jackfruit tree and placed in temples in Manipur and Assam. In Imphal , Sri Govind temple has one of these 7 idols.
Lord Krishna had appeared as Guruvayoorappan under Jackfruit tree and the same is being worshipped in Sri Krishna temple in Neyyattinkara, Kerala.
Jackfruit tree is recognised as a sacred tree of Kaliyuga and known as the "Protector Tree" (Chaitya Vriksha). The leaves of the Jackfruit tree are an antidote for snakebites. One of the Pancha Mahavadyas used in rituals in Kerala temples  is Idakka (originating from Lord Shiva's Damaru) which is made out of Jackfruit wood. Idakka is also known as God's own instrument! It is believed that the divine vibrations of the Jackfruit wood Idakka activates the kundalini  (life-force energy) of the player as well as the listeners.
Another instrument made out of Jackfruit wood is the divine thavil, which is a percussion instrument for nadaswaram. Senior most and renowned thavil vidwans swear by the quality, age and seasoning of the Jackfruit wood. They highly recommend Jackfruit wood from Sri Lanka. Mridangam, the masterly percussion instrument gets its majestic tone from Jackfruit wood. 
While the Idakka, Thavil and Mridangam respect their God-given timbre and revel in the wood-generated tone by using only acoustic mike, it's surprising that many Veenas have disregarded the divine significance of  Jackfruit wood by patronising the usage of magnetic pickup.  
The magnetic pickup recognises only magnetic strings. Magnetic pickup has no use for the  Jackfruit wood and disconnects itself from the God-given vibrations that emanate from this sacred wood. The true tone of Veena is lost once the Jackfruit wood's resonance (naadam) is cut off. Therefore Veena loses its original richness of tone while the skeletal magnetic strings serve only in transforming the tone of the Veena into that of an alien electric guitar. 
On the other hand magnetic mikes facilitate gimmicks like the rendition of the entire gamut of 2 octaves on the Veena dandi and producing sound by using just the left hand and without using the right hand for plucking the string (owing to its uncharacteristically even and continuous tone) which is often misinterpreted as virtuosity and technical brilliance. Further, due to the inaccessibility of  Jackfruit wood, the magnetic mike seeks to replace the tonal richness of Jackfruit wood through advanced mixer-amplification system in order to glamourise the anaemic tone of strings sans wood. 
The true tone of an acoustic Saraswathi Veena is not unnaturally even and monotonous like that of a magnetic-pickup Veena , the true tone of an acoustic Saraswathi Veena comes from Jackfruit wood. The rich wood-vibrations bring out wholesome nuances and musical aesthetics through tonal modulation that elevate the player spiritually.

Refer to previous postings ( Pure tone of acoustic Saraswathi Veena and Golden Era- Glory of Original Acoustic Saraswathi Veena by Yesteryear Legends for true tone of Veena).



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VEENA FACTS

Chi. Sumithra- True tone of Veena I found this little one's (Chi.Sumithra) impressive rendition of a Pancharatnam on Veena at such a ...