Siri, Tyagaraja & loads of chiri

Published Jan 30, 2016, 12:00 am IST
Updated Jan 30, 2016, 7:10 am IST
Three Dubai based Malayalis have come up with a highly popular beatboxing version of a Tyagaraja kriti using Apple’s Siri for rhythm app.
Puja Unni
 Puja Unni

Three singers decide to have fun with Siri, Apple’s famous voice recognition and response programme. This question is posed to the unassuming Siri, “Siri, what’s a trillion to the 10th power?” While the programme keeps the zeros coming, seemingly unending, after one, Carl La’ Frenais begins picking up the tempo, while Puja Unni hums thaka dimi tha and Pavithra Menon renders Saint Tyagaraja’s Telugu Carnatic krithi, Endaro Mahanubhavulu.

The video, originally brought to light by a Twitter user who calls himself ‘Sheikh Spear’, lasts only 30 seconds, but has definitely taken the Internet by storm with over 14,000 retweets, and counting!


“The fact that Indian classical music is dying out was the main reason why we decided to do this version in the traditional style. We didn’t think it would go viral the way it did,” begins Carl of the trio, who are Malayalis settled in Dubai and work for a radio station there.

“10 million-plus views in two days is crazy,” he laughs, and adds that what we all saw and experienced was just a teaser and more is to come, the details of which are for another day. We can’t wait already!

Not long ago musician Marcus Perez posted a video of himself beatboxing Siri’s “onezerozerozerozerozerozerozero” and the response to the same question.


Siri, however, has been taken for a ride not just in America or Dubai, but in Chennai as well. Having experimented with this recently, Syed Mohsin, an RJ, shares his story — “Singer Nikita Thomas had come into the studio for an unplugged session with one of our RJs.

It struck that we could do an impromptu ‘Siri’ gig with her, inspired by the Tyagaraja version that was doing the rounds,” he starts off.

“We wanted to try something different and therefore went for a Bollywood/Punjabi track with Nikita on vocals. It turned out to be great fun,” says Syed. The full video was uploaded on his social media page the other day.


For her part, Nikita adds, “Though I thought this experiment with Siri was rather vague, it was quite unexpected and I just went with the flow. In the end, it turned out to be great fun.”

It is not just the singers, but listeners and music aficionados too who seem to be having great fun with these quirky additions to the vast music scene.

Says Ramachandran S, an avid fan of music, who admits to being fanatical about it: “I start and end my day listening to music. They say that life is at times like a Pedro Almodovar movie — the chaos and craziness ends on a peaceful note only at night. I could relate to the Tyagaraja composition of the trio, just what you need as a time-out when things ain’t going according to your plan. Music is indeed essential for the soul.”


Going by the reactions, we can say that Siri has, and is, keeping us entertained.