The Sabarimala Season has started bringing with it songs dedicated to the deity.S.SHIVPPRASADH

The Chennai music and dance festival coincides with the Sabarimala season and artists never fail to include a song on Aiyyappa. Are there favourites and how do they plan the itinerary? Here is the response from a few musicians:

Every year, P. UNNIKRISHNAN releases a CD on Aiyyappa. ‘Sabarimalai Va Charanam Solli Va,’ his latest, has songs composed by Manachanallur Giridharan and produced by Gaananjali Recordings. The album has a song on Mukkal vattam where Aiyyappan learnt kalari before the Lord went to wage war with Mahishi and Vaavar.

“‘Harivarasanam,’ strikes a chord with the audience straight away,” says Unni. “I have sung it in three styles and all have been well-received,” he adds. For Unni, the padi puja accompanied by charanagosham during the pilgrimage, has emotional significance. “When I see the long queue of devotees, I always wonder whether I’ll be able to make it to the shrine. But some official would recognise me and take me to the shrine for a darshan. I thank Aiyyappa for that,” he says.

VANI JAYARAM: My cassette series released by Vani Music Co., includes ‘Ambigai Varuvaal,’ ‘Durga Lakshmi Saraswathi’ and so on that has lyrics written and tuned by Veeramani Somu. She recalls her own evergreen hits such as ‘Thiruvaabaranam Chaarthiya Ninmeni Kanikaanenum Ayyappa’ sung in 1970 for HMV and ‘Sabareesan Paamalai’ sung with P. Jayachandran for Sruthilaya.

SRIRAM and ANOORADHA: ‘Hari Hara Puthran’ of Muthuswamy Dikshitar in Vasantha is something special. This song is in Vilambakala and therefore contemplative. Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Appan Avadharitha Kadhaamritham’ in Kharaharapriya and ‘Saranam Aiyyappa’ (Bilahari) are the other songs we will be singing.

BOMBAY SISTERS: For over three decades we have been singing in praise of Lord Aiyyappa. Apart from Papanasam Sivan’s kritis, we always sing ‘Hari Hara Sudhaney Ayyappa’ in Abhogi written by Periyasamy Thooran and tuned by our guru T.K. Govinda Rao (TKG). ‘Haranumaagi Hariumaagi’ – a Kavadi Sindhu tuned by TKG - ‘Ayyappa Saranam’ in Behag written by PST and tuned by TKG are also our favourites.

TRICHUR BROTHERS: On December 1 and 2, we will be in Mumbai for Saastha Preethi. This season, our list will include ‘Kanivodu Nammai Izhukkum Kanthamalai’ in Dharmavati, ‘Swamy En Jeeva Veenai’ in Malayamarutham and pallavis such as ‘Vikasitha Mukham Subha Bala Pradham Hari Hara Sudhan Sadhaa Bajeham.’

T.V. RAMPRASADH: I come from a bhajan sampradaya family. For the past three decades I have been singing on Aiyyappa. I will be singing Meenakshi Sutha’s ‘Bhuvanathreyanutham Saasthaaram’ in Kalyani, ‘Dhimitha Dhimitha Dhimi Nacho Ayyappa’ in Hindolam, ‘Ayyappa Saranam Endrum’ in Sivaranjani to name a few. I feel rewarded when devotees join me in the naamavali.

NITHYASREE MAHADEVAN: I grew up listening to Veeramani’s songs on Lord Ayyappa. I will also be singing ‘Varavendum Pon Aiyanae,’ in Revati, ‘Maniyaana Oru Paadal Vendum Adhu Manikandan Meedhu Irukavendum,’ in Mohanam, apart from the songs of Papanasam Sivan.

VIJAY SIVA: I will be singing ‘Anudhinamum’ in Desh, ‘Solla Solla Thithikkumae’ in Khamas and ‘Hari Hara Sudhanae’ in Abhogi.

SHANKARMAHADEVAN: My teacher T.R. Balamani had composed in Madhu Ghosh, a rare raga, ‘Pandhala Raja Kumara Sree Sabareesaa’ that I always sing. ‘Endrendrum Ayyappa,’ a song tuned by Veeramani Somu, has a portion that has to be rendered in one breath. When I sing ‘Swamiye Ayyappo’ and ‘Pallikattu Sabarimalaikku’ at the Delhi Ayyappa Samajam, the response is fantastic. I’m waiting for an opportunity to visit Sabarimala.