I then decided to go with Tamil songs for the other three deities to be featured – Vishnu, Siva & Muruga (Basically the murugan at Kumara kottam). My first source for Siva was Dr Prameela Gurumoorthy who was kind enough to selct some verses from the Tevaram on the Ekamranatha swamy. She gave me a choice of 2 tevarams and I chose Adutthaanai in Yadukulakambhoji. She also suggested that I preface the tevaram with a Thiruviruttham again referring to the Kacchi ekambaram deity however, she said there was an issue with singing thiruviruttham as it was normally rendered in Poorvikalyani or Bhairavi, so I chose the latter. Interestingly I did get to sing this in a concert and prefaced the Yadukulakambhoji with the said virutham in Poorvikalyani. Of course I had to make an announcement to clarify this before people jumped to the conclusion that this was one of my own zany modern innovations!
For the Vishnu song violinist S Varadarajan gave me a few verses with help from his father Shri Santhanam. I decided to sing the Adaikkalappatthu of Vedantha Desikar. This was a long piece, and so in true traditional style I just took three stanzas and set them up in Ahiri, Hamirkalyani and Surati and ignored the rest as they did with other such long pieces! This was quite a popular piece in Vishnu temples. I remember vividly chanting “Thirumagalum thiruvadivum” as well as “aaru payan verillaa” at the Lakshmipuram temple in Royapettah during Margazhi every day to get the wonderful pongal! The pongal dropped down from the Bhattar’s hands and made for good catch practice! Invariably when we dropped catches our seniors would advise us to go regularly to the temple for pongal!
Finally for Muruga the wonderful internet gave me direction to choose “Arivilaa pitthar” for the Kumarakottam Murugan by Arunagirinathar. I set the tune up in jaganmohini and rendered it in the sandha talam, that is putting the talam according to the metre of the lyric.
Recording albums with Charsur was a great experience then in the studio. It was a lot fighting and argument about the choice of songs, tempo sangathis etc. We really put in a lot of time and effort. I must have sung Kamakshi varalakhmi atleast 30/40 times before okaying the final version. These days I prefer doing live concerts even if they are to be thematic.
The above album is available online for sale at the below link