On the occasion of the centenary celebrations of mridangam vidwan Palghat Mani Iyer, his grandson Palghat Ramprasad reflects on the musician’s genius

For an artiste to be respected, loved and admired by musicians and common men alike, even 31 years following his demise speaks volumes of his calibre. Having heard anecdotes and stories of my grandfather

Palghat Mani Iyer from people as close to him as my uncle Rajamani, and my father Rajaram, I often have mixed feelings. Sometimes it is pressure — I realise that a portion of the audience will probably attend my concerts to assess the performance of a legend’s grandson. It’s likely that those people have witnessed his magical talent in the very platform that I now occupy. Other times, it is sorrow — that I cannot watch him play live, or hear him talk about his concert experiences.

A musician par excellence

He was an artiste who consistently delivered unmatched performances for six decades. He accompanied with equal ease the slow pace of MDR, the sarvalaghu of Madurai Mani Iyer, the refined style of

Ramanuja Iyengar, just to name a few. Those who have heard him play live in concerts are of the opinion that the recordings bring out less than a tenth of the actual concert effect. This is understandable, because recordings cannot replicate the concert ambience, or the impact that such greats create on stage, nor can it capture the subtle changes they make on sensing the pulse of the audience. Simply put, the spontaneity in a live concert can only be experienced at that point in time.

All in the family

On this occasion, many of Mani Iyer’s family members including his children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren will offer their tributes. The morning and evening prayer are sung by his great grand daughters, Lavanya Sundarraman, and Sowmya Sundar. And for the first time, Nithyashree

Mahadevan and I (his granddaughter and grandson) will perform together publicly.

While this celebration would have been even more enjoyable had my grandfather been alive, I realise that he would have never allowed such a function to take place, being a modest man. On the occasion of his 100th birthday, we look forward to celebrating his astuteness and reflecting on the life experiences that made him the brilliant musician that he was.

Centenary celebrations at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha on June10, 2012:

• Reflections on Mani Iyer off-stage and on-stage by his sons Palghat Rajamani and Palghat Rajaram

A powerpoint presention followed by a speech by Vidwan Sri Karaikudi Mani

• Evening session presided over by former Chief Election Commissioner S. Krishnamurthy, and

director of Kasturi and Sons K Balaji.

Vidwan Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman shares his most cherished memories of Mani Iyer

A talk by Vidwan Sri Alleppy Venkatesan, followed by a speech by Kittappa Iyer

Journal release on Palghat Mani Iyer’s life experiences.

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