D.K. Pattammal Is Dead, Long Live Her Music
CHENNAI, July 16: A pall of gloom has descended on the city of Chennai, the Mecca of Carnatic music, as the news spread about the demise of D.K. Pattammal. As we at www.carnaticdarbar.com join others to pay our tributes to the giant of a musician, artistes across the spectrum are in a state of shock. Her demise has left a huge void in Carnatic music world.
AN IRREPARABLE LOSS - Mridangist Umayalpuram Sivaraman
"The vacuum created by her passing away is really an irreparable loss to the music fraternity, music lovers, music rasikas and music institutions,’’ sums up veteran Mridangist Sangita Kalanidhi Umayalpuram Shri K. Sivaraman. Paying glowing tributes to the departed musician, Shri Sivaraman said, "Pattammal is a fine example and amalgam of rare quality a great musician must possess in one’s musical career.’’ He went on to say that "her (Pattammal) repertoire is so vast, expanse and covered a full gamut of great composers.’’
"Be it a kriti, a nereval, swarprasthara, pallavi singing, light classical songs, national songs, virutham, kavadi chindu varieties as also the hymns of great Arunagirinada Swami – she excelled in all branches of this ocean of music,’’ he pointed out. He said his association with the great singer dated back to over five decades. "In all my years of association with her, I found her to be the epitome of humility, dedication and sincerity. And, her divine music was laden with bhakti,’’ Shri Sivaraman added. As a human being, as a Carnatic musician and as a legend, Pattammal had very few peers, he pointed out. "Whoever combines these three rare qualities must be a legend in his or her life time,’’ he asserted. "Pattammal was a fine human being, a unique performer and a trend-setter in Carnatic music,’’ Shri Sivaraman said.
END OF AN ERA - Vainika Kalpagam Swaminathan
Veteran vainika Kalpagam Swaminathan said Pattammal had a vast repertoire. She not only excelled in Carnatic music, but was also largely responsible for popularizing Bharathiyar songs such as “Theerada Vilayatu Pillai” and other patriotic songs through films. "I knew Pattammal since I was a child. She was five years older to me. My mother took me to her concerts and also made me sing in front of her. Pattammal felicitated me on my 70th birthday. Her husband and my husband were working in PWD and were known to each other. Pattammal’s husband resigned his job to help her in concerts. She used to give lots of concerts in those days and formed the female trinity in vocal singing along with MLV and MS. Pattammal was especially gifted in Dikshitar kritis. She had learnt from Ambi Dikshitar. We three - late Rajam Iyer, DKP and myself - had also learnt from T.L.Venkatrama Iyer, who was also a descendant of Muthuswamy Dikshitar. Pattammal’s passing away makes me feel that an era has ended in Carnatic music.
UNRESERVED IN GIVING – Flautist Sundaram
Senior flautist S. Sundaram paid encomium for the way Pattammal approached the concert with her apt rendering at a time when speed was the focus. Pattammal, according to Shri Sundaram, was a very fine human being and unreserved in giving to others. "She was very helpful by nature,’’ he said. Shri Sundaram fondly recalled how Pattammal was instrumental in getting him a concert opportunity at The Music Academy. More than anything else, Shri Sundaram was very much impressed by her approach in creating students. "She even sang with her brother D.K. Jayaraman and ensured that there was shruthi alignment,’’ he pointed out. She would sing a kriti the way it should be rendered or it would have been rendered by Dikshithar himself.
A TREASURE DISAPPEARS – Mridangist Thanjavur Kumar
Senior mridangist Thanjavur Kumar felt as though `a treasure’ had disappeared with the demise of Pattammal. Her patantharam, its purity and her tireless dedication – all these combined to make her a giant among musicians. Shri Kumar, too, was impressed by her simplicity. Describing her as a "revolutionary woman’’, Shri Kumar pointed out how Pattammal assiduously struck to the tradition even as she broke new grounds without compromising even a bit on the core values of Carnatic music. According to Shri Kumar, Pattammal always encouraged and appreciated others. She always spoke auspicious words. "She was an era in music,’’ he added.
DICTIONARY FOR MUSICIANS – Dr. Ganesh
Vocalist Dr. Ganesh was sad that an era had ended. Describing Pattammal "as a dictionary for musicians,’’ he said that he himself had learnt the song "Shanthi Nilava Vendum’’ by playing the tapes of Pattammal. "She sang with social responsibility,’’ Dr. Ganesh said. She was known for her `authentic patanthara’, he said. She never deviated even a bit from the patanthara, he added. What had stood Pattammal out in the crowd was her simple and down-to-earth personality, he said. "She set the standards for musicians,’’ he said and pointed to her no-nonsense and gimmick-free approach to music. "Pattammal may have gone into the pages of history, but her music will live on for ever,’’ Dr. Ganesh said.