When Ganesha beckons

Renowned singers talk about their first Ganesha tune.

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chavithi is a festival celebrated every year. Ganesha, also known as the Vighnaharta, is the God of prosperity, good luck and success. Ganesha Chaturdashi is an important festival and is celebrated with fun and frolic all across the country. This auspicious day celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha in the Bhadra month according to the Hindu calendar (mid-August-September). Lord Ganesha is considered to be the God of wealth, knowledge, wisdom, and prosperity.

Carnatic music concerts usually begin with the Sanskrit Kriti Vatapi Ganapatim Bhaje. The grand lady of Carnatic music, late M S Subbulakshmi's dramatic and dulcet rendition, is still a classic favourite in most of the homes in South India while the Tamil composition Mooladhara Moorthy is another Ganesha-inspired gem.

“The first Ganapathi song I learnt was mudakarata modhakam from MS Subbalakshmi Amma's cassette. My mother sat me down and taught me all the lyrics. This version of mudakarata modhakam has such divinity in it”, says Niranjana, a singer.

Gowtham Bharadwaj said “The first mantra that I always heard was Gajananam bhoota ganadhi sevitam and the other mantra was Vakratunda mahakaya mantra so these two were the first two mantras and basically I studied Sanskrit in school so every day. When our Sanskrit sir entered our class and we students had to get up and say a sloka, he use to insist on it and that's my fond memory about how I learnt them.”

Ganesh mantra is often used for wealth and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Riddhi (Hindu goddess of prosperity) and Goddess Siddhi (Hindu goddess of spiritual enlightenment).

Vinaita Sivakumar, playback singer recalls, “Being born in an orthodox Indian family, I was sent to Carnatic classes. I think I started learning music from the age of 4. In Carnatic classes it was mandatory to sing Ganesh songs and the very beginning of your training in Carnatic music it begins with Ganesh mantra for a good start. Vakratunda mahakaya and Gajananam these were first two mantras I learnt there".

American rapper, MC Yogi aka Nicholas Giacomini, is also influenced by Indian mythology, especially in the musical sphere, with tracks such as Son of Shiva and a hit album, Elephant Power. Music lovers all over the world have welcomed our little Bappa.

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