In memory of Palghat Mani Iyer

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Album A five-pack CD containing the pre-recorded live concerts of Palghat Mani Iyer was released in Mumbai recently.

Nostalgia: Justice B.N. Srikrishna (right) with Guru Karaikudi Mani at the CD release function in Mumbai.Photo: Vivek Bendre
Nostalgia: Justice B.N. Srikrishna (right) with Guru Karaikudi Mani at the CD release function in Mumbai.Photo: Vivek Bendre

The centenary of renowned percussionist Palghat T.S. Mani Iyer was celebrated at Shanmukhananda Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi auditorium, Mumbai, recently. Justice B.N. Srikrishna, former judge of the Supreme Court, was the chief guest who released a five-pack CD album named ‘Nada-Laya-Margam' on the occasion. The album consists of some of the rare live recordings of the maestro's performances.

Percussionist guru Karaikudi Mani, tabla player Pt. Anindo Chatterjee and ghatam maestro V. Suresh enthralled the audience with their performances, while Nithyasree Mahadevan, grand-daughter of the late percussionist, rendered an invocation at the beginning of the programme.

 “Mani Iyer was mridangam personified. He redefined the art of percussion,” said V. Shankar, president, Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha in Mumbai, while paying rich tributes to Mani Iyer.

Eminent musicians reminisced on the way he made pauses meaningful and talked about music in silence as well. They talked about his scintillating performances and the way he elevated the art and the co-artist.

“Music flowed out of his fingers. He was a genius, the uncrowned emperor of the percussion system,” marvelled Justice Srikrishna. “For a very long time, a percussion was treated only as an accompanist. But when it came to Mani Iyer, it was a concert of high importance. That was the beauty of his performance. He wasn't merely an accompanist. His performance was yoga – the peak performance level,” he said.

He further added by saying that the musicians are respected in India because music is treated as equivalent to God. “There are so many places where Tyagaraja has said that bhakti and music are inseparable.

“Mani was a man of principles. He had decided that he shall never come for a ‘miked' concert as he believed that the mike takes away the beauty of the performance. This was the greatest loss for the rasikas,” Mr. Shankar said.

The CD-compilation released on the occasion starts with varnam and ends with mangalam. The organisers described it as “a compilation of a live concert where the maestro has accompanied a galaxy of legendary musicians.”




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