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Purity of music & Madurai Mani Iyer
CHENNAI, December 5: Lakshmi Devnath is a well known researcher and writer in the field of Carnatic music. Apart from contributing articles regularly for The Hindu and Sruthi, she has written a full-fledged biography on violin maestro Lalgudi G. Jayaraman. The book is expected to hit the stands shortly. Her latest passion is to publish pictoral books on Carnatic musicians. The recent one in this Amar Chitra Katha-type pictoral publication series is on Ganakaladhara Madurai Mani Iyer. The pictoral presentation of Mani Iyer's history, replete with juicy anecdotes, is interesting as well inspiring. Indeed, it is an attractive format, and sure to grab the attention of youngsters and adults alike. Appropriate and colourful pictures are aplenty in the book.

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In Science and other subjects, theory and practicals went hand in hand, she said at her book release function. In Carnatic music, however, the situation was different, she pointed out. Theoretical knowledge was not made compulsory. The stress was mostly on concert performance. As such, the history and contributions of many a legend remained in the realm of unknown.

Hence, she felt the need and urge to make the works of legends available to youngsters and others in an easily readable style. This pictorial representation of the artistes could even serve as a good database for younger generation artistes. Many may have heard of the spell-bounding music of Madurai Mani Iyer. However, not many would have known the history of this legend. Lakshmi Devnath has done a great job in packing the book with minute rare details from Mani Iyer’s life. It takes a reader down the memory lane, and into the golden period when even legends such as Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, GNB, Nadaswaram Vidwan Rajaratinam Pillai, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer and others made a beeline for Mani Iyer’s concerts. As Lakshmi Devnath has rightly pointed out, Madurai Mani Iyer’s music was pristine. Not just that, he was humility-personified. Unsurprisingly, many great vidwans applauded his music. Even a lay man wanted to listen to his notes. Kanchi Paramacharya had once showered his blessings on Madurai Mani Iyer, and said: “You don’t need a bath to cleanse yourself. Your music is so pure”. One could surely understand the purity of Mani Iyer’s music from this saint’s words.Well, to know more about Mani Iyer, read this pictorial book of Lakshmi Devnath.

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