‘Thirukkural Isaithamizh’ is a wonderful attempt to bring Thirukkural to life in musical form. Tamil Maiyyam, after producing Illayaraja’s masterpiece, Thiruvasagam, has embarked on its next musical journey into ancient Tamil literature.
The tunes are contemporary but mostly unoriginal. The excellent kural-selection, symphonic orchestration (Nellai Jeyaraj) , some soulful singing, a variety of musical genres and quality of recording make up for the familiarity of the tunes – these folks have definitely made use of their learning from the making of Thiruvasagam. Overall, a compelling presentation in 6 CDs with many songs still ringing in my ears.
In any case, setting aside all positive and negative criticism, this is not just about music, is it? It is a great way to introduce Thirukkural to the uninitiated and, more importantly, to kids. Aruna Sairam, singing ‘Yaathanin yaathanin’ mesmerisingly, is the standout singer and is already my 19-month old daughter’s favourite.
I liked the kural-selection as well. It had a good mix of the familiar chapters from the text books and some hidden gems on love from Kaamathupaal (Book of Love). For those, who have never read Kaamathupaal, these songs introduce a completely different facet of Kural: Thirukkural is not just a discourse on morals but a comprehensive commentary on Tamil culture 20 centuries ago.
I will now look forward to more from Fr. Jegath Gasper Raj. Hopefully, he will continue to focus on Tamil literature and not religion.
Taking 2 days off to visit Tamil conference at Coimbatore was made completely worthwhile, since, more than anything, it helped us discover this unusual combination of music and literature, soaked in catchy modernity.
5 months after this post, the 2G spectrum scam casts a shadow of suspicion over Tamil Maiyyam and Jagath Gasper. They seem to be guilty, and I will be sad, if they are. Two of my all-time favorite albums (Thirukkural and Thiruvasagam) are produced by them. I liked them and I enjoyed them – whatever happens now cannot change the past joy. Hope this nagging doubt and persistent anger, doesn’t take away anything from my listening experience in future.