|Voice as an instrument|
|T M Krishna|
More than advocating singing as an abstract means to better the public’s cultural lives, Bharathiyar used his nationalistic poems to foster national unity, freedom from foreign rule, the removal of discrimination based on caste and religion, and the liberation of women. Renditions of those songs nurtured national integration of people from all classes and creeds for one purpose –independence.
One observes in these examples the direct utility in a Voice, brought artfully together with lyrics and music. The beauty in a Voice and its ability to move, seemingly serves a different sort of ‘utility’. Say, an audience given to witness Lord Siva’s cosmic dance when the singer sings Bho, Shambo! Shivashambho! Svayambo! (Oh, Granter of Prosperity! Shiva! The Self-formed one!). Or observe an audience immediately feeling a mother’s agony when the singer sings Un Kannil Neer Vazhinthaal, En Uthiram Kottuthadi (When you shed a tear, my heart bleeds a river of blood). The capacity of one’s Voice to extract the essence of the composition remains unrivalled in its ability to fuse lyrics and melody. This enables a singer to use Voice as the instrument to allow the audience to indulge in the character of the song. Moreover, when the meaning of the song is elegantly communicated, Voice removes the listener from reality to a transcendent world. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer’s rendering of Dwaithamu Sukhama Advaithamu Sukhama (which conduces to beatitude, Dwaita or Advaitha?) undeniably invokes devoutness in the listener and brings him closer to feeling the presence of the Divine.