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Monday, February 1, 2021

Jewels of Triplicane ~ Thiru Veeramani Somu (devotional lyricist and singer)

                  Today is Margazhi Amavasai – in the morning it was Sri Andal Neeratta uthsavam day 8 and in the evening Sri Parthasarathi Perumal periya mada veethi purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni. Inside the temple was very happy to see this elderly person – he is 91, last year, he had a fall and has since recovered.  With measured steps he walked, had darshan of Moolavar and few of us enquired his health and happily spoke to him. .. .. .. wonder who ? 

பாரெல்லாம் புகழ்ந்திடும் ஓர் சாரதி – அவர் பார்த்தனுக்கு தேரோட்டும் சாரதி -

எங்கள் சாரதி பார்த்த சாரதி  .. .. எங்கள் சாரதி.. .. …    பார்த்த சாரதி

.. .. .. .. ….

தேரோடும் வீதியாம் திருவல்லிக் கேணியிலே;

ஈராறு மாதங்களும் இன்பமான திருவிழா.


எங்கெல்லாம் ஆன்மீக பாடல்கள் ஒலிக்கின்றதோ அங்கெல்லாம் இந்த பாட்டு ரசிகர்களால் கேட்டு ரசிக்கப்பட்டது.  பாடியவர்கள் :  திரு கே வீரமணி - ராதா தம்பதியினர்.

Thiruvallikkeni - is a famed land… twisted crudely out of shape by English tongue as ‘Triplicane’.  It is a place where religion, nationalistic fervour, patriotism, sports, education and the individual dignity have interspersed for the benefit of the State and the larger interests of the Nation   Our lives dwell around the Great Sri Parthasarathi Swami Thirukovil  which has existed for thousands of years, sung by  Sri  PeyAzhwar, Thirumazhisai Azhwar and Tirumangai Azhwar ~ with inscriptions  of Pallava King - Thanthi Varman dating (779-830).

Triplicane houses some best historic educational institutions driving home the point of scholastic excellence for decades. It has the Vivekanandar Illam in Marina, where Swami Vivekananda  stayed in  February 1897, and delivered seven electrifying lectures revealing his plan of campaign to restore India to her pristine glory.  There are also many famous people, some of whom live a simple life.  There have been people of literary fame – those who patronized and developed  ‘Iyal, Isai & Nataka thamizh’. 

A great landmark of Triplicane is of course ‘Barathiyar illam’ – the house in TP Kovil Street, nearer Azhagiya Singar sannathi vasal, where Mahakavi Subramanya Barathiyar lived and passed away in 1921.  A couple of houses nearer lived this gentle person seen in the photo at the start .. .. the lyricist of that famed song.  In fact he wrote and composed  hundreds of devotional songs which were sung in many places by Thiru K Veeramani, Radha & Somu.

சபரிமலை செல்லும் பக்தர்கள் விரும்பி கேட்கும், பாடும் - "பள்ளிக்கட்டு சபரிமலைக்கு கல்லும் முள்ளும் காலுக்கு மெத்தை - ஸ்வாமியே அய்யப்போ; அய்யப்பா ஸ்வாமியே" என்ற பாடலும் - திருவீரமணி சோமு அவர்களதுதான்.

Thiru K. Somu (1932) and K. Veeramani (1936) were born to MK Krishna Kunjaram Iyer and Bagirathi Ammal, who was hearing impaired. The musical lineage of the brothers came from great grandfather Kavi Kunjara Bharathigal - a saint and a Sivagangai Samasthana Asthana vidwan, who composed ‘Azhagar Kuravanji,’ Skandha Puranam and krithis on Goddess Meenakshi - and grandfather N. Koteeswara Iyer who composed 72 Mela Karta Ragas on Lord Muruga, Ramar, Ambal and Pillayar. Both learnt Carnatic Music initially from uncle Nagamani and later under Seerkazhi Sadasivam Pillai. They presented kutcheries from 1952. The same year, the siblings composed music for the Mercantile Bank office staff amateur Troup for their play, ‘Kadhalar Kangal’ with outside support from YGP and Pattu. Wanting to tap their potential, they requested Somu to write the lyrics, the brothers to compose and sing UAA Troupe’s opening prayer song and provide the background music for their first play, ‘Fabulous Fool.’ The UAA prayer song, ‘Sarva Sakthi Vinayakaney Saranam…,’ was penned by Somu. Between 1952 and 1970, they composed music for more than 500 plays. Their gurus being Thanjai Balu (drama music) and G. S Mani (Carnatic music).

The brothers remained  inseparable  - Thiru Somu joined the Manikanda Bhakta Samiti in 1960, and was famous for his religious lyrics’ Thiru Veeramani continued to sing songs for films also having joined MSV’s troupe. The brothers performed in front of the Tamil Nadu governor, Prabhudas Patwari, which turned out to be their most memorable performance.

His illustrious sons Thiru Veeramani Raju and Mani Barathi are continuing the devotional musicdom.   Both of them have been conferred the State award – ‘Kalaimamani’.  Sri Veeramani Raju is a great devotional singer and has been performing Internationally singing since 1975.  Recently he was conferred   the title ‘Naadha Baktha Sironmani’.  Thiru Mani Barathi, is a violinist having performed in more than 1720 movies and close to 10000 concerts.

Happy in reminiscing our association with these greats in my school days including partaking in dramas where Shri Raju was the star performer.  Happy to receive the blessings of Thiru Veeramani K Somu today [he was keen that he is referred as Veeramani Somu and not as Somu].  Happy in posting this about another ‘jewel of Triplicane’.  You can hear that great song on Sri Parthasarathi Perumal :  'பாரெல்லாம் புகழ்ந்திடும் சாரதி'  by clicking this link.

with regards – S. Sampathkumar


1 comment:

  1. Very nice. I too remember your assosiation with him in your childhood. Happy for you got blessings by him