CHENNAI: Music and water have long since shared a ‘mystical’ connection that sometimes one cannot put a finger on, but that it exists is undeniable. This is best exemplified in Ilayaraja’s music, according to noted Carnatic vocalist T M Krishna, who by singing a popular number of the maestro, surprised all on the second day of the Chennai Water Forum on Friday.
The Magsaysay awardee started with an Ilayaraja classic from Mouna Ragam — ‘Vaan megam poo poovai thoorum”, bringing the ineluctable image of Revathi dancing in the rain. And without him having to say another word, the connection was understood.
“From love, passion, erotica to even death, water is present at the confluence,” he said. In his view, music and water were similar in the way that they come and go like magic, which one has to retain in one’s memory.
“Once I hold the tune, it is almost as if the sound comes from nowhere and goes nowhere,” he said.
Also connected in the sense is while water takes the shape of the container, music of the musician too reveals a little of his/her personality. The root of certain words in Carnatic music, which he considers as the window to establish the connection, were shared with those describing the character of water. “The root of ‘Swara’, for instance, was connected with ‘Sarathi’ that meant flow,” he said, adding, “Swara comes alive only when it flows.”
Interestingly, the connection also extends to certain areas that some members of the community might find unsettling.
The Mridangam, an instrument mostly associated with those considered to be high on the caste hierarchy, gets its skin from a place where cows are slaughtered, their skin scraped off the flesh, nailed to the ground, dried and cut in circles. In each step, water is used to dip and pull off the membrane. So, could it be that it is used as a purifying process, he wondered.