I recently discovered a diary of mine from the eighties containing some interesting song lists. I had a made a list of important ragams and the list of songs that I need to learn in each of them. Mukhari was one of those and right at the top of the list was Elavatara, a well known composition of Tyagaraja. My personal favorites at that time were Karu baru and Muripemu and I had sung these on quite a few occasions in concerts. In fact at a Tyagaraja festival in Trichur organized by Mridangam artist Trichur Mohan (the father of the well known duo Trichur brothers) I sang Karu baru as the main piece. A senior contemporary of mine came up to me and said ‘if you go around singing Mughaari as main piece, nobody will like your music’ – I left that outside the off stump reserving the argument for another day! This occasion I particularly remember for another reason – it was the first time Shri TVG played for me on the Mridangam. My first memory with Elavatara was my grandfather, Thyagu, singing the anupallavi of the song – ‘Aalamuseyutaka’ in the upper octave and saying this was a masterpiece of Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Iyer. I had asked my guru Shri KSK to teach me this song and after recording the song, completely forgot about it for 20 years or so. It was only a couple of years back that I dug up that recording, dusted the notation and sang the song in a concert. Songs have a way of staying with you, without being learnt or sung for years together. Suddenly one day everything falls in place and there you have it – Elavatara, Mukhari, Adi, Tyagaraja


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