From time immemorial people of India worship God as Nadha Brahmam and Music Divine.
The great sage, Maharishi Narada is an expert in Veena, a divine instrument.
In Carnatic music concerts, Mridangam instrument is an accompaniment. The great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata indicate that this instrument was used whenever an auspicious occasion arises such as victory in war, Marriage functions etc.
This book on Mridangam and the Mridangam artists is very informative and interesting.
The writer Dr K. Thiagarajan of Madurai, Tamilnadu, India started his training at the age of thirteen. He was awarded Ph.D from Madurai Kamarajar University and now working as an associate professor in Madurai Sri Sadguru Sangeetha Vidyalaya.
The book has thirteen interesting chapters enumerating famous Mridanga Artists who usually called as Mridanga Vidwans. It is very interesting to note that there are eleven syllables handeled in Mridangam and this book gives details about eleven artists.
Pudukkottai Dakshninamuruthy Pillai, Thanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer, Pazhani Subramanya Pillai, Palakkaad Mani Iyer, Ramanathapuram C.S. Murugabhoopathi, Thanjavur T.K.Murthi, Madurai D.Ramasamy Iyengar, Madurai T.Srinivasan, Umayalpuram K.Sivaraman, Trichy Sankaran, Karaikudi R. Mani are eleven well known vidwans in this field.
About each artist, the author gives full details regarding birth, education, his services, his innovative special and new style etc.
This book also gives a narrative as how Mridangam is being manufactured. This consist of many stages and methods. The main body of Mridangam is made of a wood and the right and left side of Mridagnam is tied by stripes made out of hides of buffalo, goat and cow.
The black round shaped spot on the right side of it is made of one particular type of stone called ‘Kittan Kal’ powder mixed with cooked rice. The left side of it is called ‘Thoppi’.
This instrument is considered as the life of music. There are several techniques to conserve this divine instrument.
There are some interesting details about this instrument. The woods used for this is obtained from land. The left side should always kept moist for which water is used. The right side should always be maintained above the room temperature- fire. The hollow space of it is compared to sky. And as the playing techniques involve air pressure we have air too. This means we have all the five elments namely earth, water, fire, sky and air in Mridangam and hence this is called as “Pancha Bhooda Vadyam” which means an instrument consisting of Five Elements.
The new age of technology brought new design techniques and Mridangam is being manufactured with the help of modern machines and latest materials, now.
The author deserves our appreciation for bringing out such a wonderful book with full of details.
We find a fitting foreword also by Dr Latha Varma, The principal of Sri Sadguru Sangeetha Vidayala.
After going through all the details one may agree with the author that this instrument is a ‘Raja Vadhyam’ which means ‘King of Instruments’.
It would be a delight for all the music lovers to have and preserve this book.