It is an attempt to present Andal’s Thiruppavai pasurams through a simple and contemporary rendition. Not just the music, the school has also collaborated with artist Keshav who has given an illustration to each pasuram.
“We wanted to re-present the compositions for two reasons. Firstly, the Tamil words used in the songs are beautiful and we don’t even use certain words today. For eg, the commonly used Tamil word for mirror is kannadi. But there is another word called Thattoli. Thattu means plate and oli refers to light; so, the thattu that reflects light is a mirror. Secondly, we didn’t want to have a heavily Carnatic approach to the music series. We wanted to make the music series more contemporary and reach a wider audience. We also wanted the younger audience to listen to the music and learn Thiruppavai,” Divakar Subramaniam from SIFM tells DT Next.
A few students from SIFM have collaborated with independent singers to bring out the Margazhi Project. “Pasurams are presented by both professional and aspiring musicians from diverse musical backgrounds. The objective is to present these great works of Andal to newer audiences using a contemporary soundscape whilst adopting a minimalist approach to music arrangement. These days, we have a lot of energetic music, but what’s rare is gentleness in music. And we don’t find it very often. We have used a gentle approach in this music series. We have tried a few non-conventional instruments to record the songs — saxophone is the melodic lead instrument, then we have nadaswaram, guitar, acoustic guitar and hang drum (a Swiss instrument that sounds like a bell), and a percussion instrument kanjira. While we are aware that each pasuram is performed in different ragams, the music also differs in genres. The use of saxophone and guitar brings a contemporary feel to the music. It is easy on the listener and some numbers are even peppy,” he explains.
The team wanted to make it as a music video but later, decided to present the series differently. “Artist Keshav has given a series of drawings depicting all 30 Thiruppavai compositions. Not having a video also brings the listener’s attention right to the music,” Divakar quips.