Jalatarangam exponent Anayampatti S. Ganesan, who turns 90, has been making the porcelain bowls reproduce the nuances of classical music

Jalatarangam exponent Anayampatti S. Ganesan, who turns 90, has been making the porcelain bowls reproduce the nuances of classical music

One-and-a-half dozen porcelain bowls of various sizes, crammed with water, are neatly organized in a semi-circle in entrance of him. Anayampatti S. Ganesan faucets every with two small wood sticks to provide the best sound at his jalatarangam live shows. He performs compositions full with swara phrases and gamakas. The appropriate measure of water in every cup ensures the music is pitch-perfect. Not a straightforward train in any respect. Well-known critic Subbudu as soon as in a lighter vein described jalatarangam live shows as “fishing in troubled waters”.

As Ganesan turns 90 on May 22, he can look back with pleasure at a musical life that celebrates creativity and household legacy. Apart from studying to play a kutcheri on this distinctive instrument, Ganesan got here up with particular strategies to seize the nuances of Carnatic music.

Playing gamakas

Anayampatti Ganesan performing on the occasion of Kedaram 3rd Anniversary celebrations at Raaga Sudha Hall, Mylapore on Sunday.

Anayampatti Ganesan performing on the event of Kedaram third Anniversary celebrations at Raaga Sudha Hall, Mylapore on Sunday.
| Photo Credit: R. Ragu/The Hindu Archives

Along the passages, the place the instrument generates microtones integral to Carnatic music, Ganesan would partly immerse the bamboo stick on his left hand into the best bowls. “Timing is essential right here,” says Ganesan, one of many foremost Jalatarangam exponents. “Though the instrument can’t reproduce long-drawn notes as performed on the veena or the violin, with sustained follow, you can even play these gamakas.”

The bowls are organized based on dimension in descending order from left to proper, the bigger amongst them are slotted for decrease octaves and vice versa.

As a lot as its complexity, the virtuoso is aware of nicely the historicity of the jalatarangam. Though researchers say the instrument finds point out within the Kamasutra, Ganesan is extra eager to share his household’s tryst with the instrument. “We obtained 25 bowls in 1890, when my father Anayampatti Subbayar was a musician on the Mysuru Palace. His guru Kunnakudi Krishna Iyer gifted it after lengthy use, which suggests the China-clay set is way older.” Iyer and Ganesan’s grandfather, Anayampatti Kuppuswami, have been colleagues on the court docket across the mid-Nineteenth century.

Anayampatti, 325 km southeast of Mysuru, is in present-day Salem district of Tamil Nadu. The village is a part of the erstwhile Kongu Nadu, which groomed its few unique jalatarangam gamers. There, Subbayar’s elder son, S. Dandapani, started to excel within the instrument within the early twentieth century. Ganesan used to accompany him on the violin.

Training in vocal music

In 1982, Dandapani handed away on the age of 55. The sudden finish to the collaboration prompted Ganesan to reinvent himself as a full-fledged jalatarangam artiste. Aged 50 then, he used to sing nicely too and received the appreciation of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, who inspired him to pursue jalatarangam to take his household’s legacy ahead.

“The journey has seldom been simple. You have to know not simply the density and width of the bowls, however even their circumference — starting from 9 inches to simply two,” factors out Ganesan, a recipient of the Kalaimamani award, amongst different recognitions. “The water behaves in a different way if the efficiency is in an air-conditioned corridor. The chillness provides it a unique timbre. You should handle each little factor to get the right sound,” says the veteran, who has been coaching younger fans.

Though he performs vocal live shows too, Ganesan sees himself as a novel instrumentalist, who makes the bowls sing.

The Kerala-based author is a eager follower of performing arts.

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