Chennai: Eminent musician Chitravina N. Ravikiran is close to creating a world record in composing and also setting to music all 1,330 couplets of Tirukkural.
He began his work on Tuesday (January 12) at the International Institute of Tamil Studies in Taramani and as on late Wednesday evening, he had set to tune 770 couplets in nine-and-half hours.
“I have used 91 ragas till now and tried rhythmic innovations using talas scarcely explored like Mishr Triputa, Mishra Mathya, Sankeerna Mathya and Sankeerna Chapu in addition to popular talas like Adi. By God’s grace, if I can maintain this kind of flow, I will be able to accomplish my goal of 1,330 verses by Thursday evening,” Ravikiran told DC.
On Day 1, he was able to set to music nearly 350 verses in just over 3.5 hours, an average of over 100 verses per hour. Ravikiran has used Carnatic, Hindustani and folk melodies for his tuning.
“People have tuned Tirukkural verses in various styles including classical, contemporary and films. It is an artistic challenge since Tiruvalluvar’s couplets have a unique meter with the second line shorter than the first. I found inspiration to try traditional but rare talas to ensure that the melodic beauty, rhyme, meter or meaning will be projected better. This can enable them to be performed more frequently in classical concerts by vocalists and instrumentalists and also a wonderful way to make it more accessible and enjoyable for school students,” he said.
Ravikiran, who has been acclaimed for his award-winning world music concept, Melharmony, wants to make Tirukkural global.
“I have arranged works of master Indian composers like Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi and Dikshitar for Western classical, jazz and other world music orchestras. It will be an honour to make Valluvar’s timeless wisdom accessible to global listeners through Melharmony”, he added.
Ravikiran had stunned the world when he identified and demonstrated 325 ragas and 175 talas at age of two at the Music Academy and other prominent venues across the country. Ravikiran gave vocal concerts from the age of 5 before switching to Chitravina from 11. He performed non-stop for over 24 hours without food/water or break when he was 18.
A composer of over 700 traditional pieces in Tamil, Sanskrit and other languages, Ravikiran has also created operatic dance productions like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and set to music select poems from Sangam literature as well as verses from the Bhagavad Gita.
He conducted a camp for over 31,000 rural children all over Tamil Nadu in 2006 and has also introduced Indian music in many school districts in the US through melharmonic orchestral compositions.