Do you know the story behind the creation of these popular songs of Guruvayurappan?
There are many popular devotional songs of Guruvayur Krishna. Though most of them are very familiar to all Malayalis, do you know the story behind them? Earlier I submitted one article on ‘Oru Neramenkilum’ song. Read that interesting article here. Through this column I shall tell you the story behind a few more Krishna songs. It’s true the creators of these songs believe it to be the blessing of Lord Krishna. Yet we can’t ignore the hard work of the lyricists, composers and voices behind these songs, heard to Malayalis for several decades.
You can enter Guruvayur temple through any of the four doors. The streets are filled with shops and Krishna’s devotional songs are heard always, creating a bhakti mood in the air before you reach the temple. Most of the songs are Krishna’s favourite too. Let us go through the experiences behind the creation of quite a few Guruvayurappa songs.
Chembaikku Nadam Nilachappol
Music director Jayan used to perform in concerts with his brother Vijayan. But after brother’s death, he lost interest in concerts and singing. At that time he came to know that Yesudas has reached Thiruvananthapuram. So he decided to meet the singer in person, to get over the grief of his lost brother. In the midst of their conversation, Yesudas casually asked, ‘Why can’t we do something? Ramesan Nair is here. Request him to write songs on Guruvayurappan. I shall sing and we can release it as a cassette’.
Same day evening, he visited Ramesan Nair at his home and when presented his idea, Nair became very happy. He sat down to write the song, and wrote 9 beautiful songs in a go. Not even a single line was corrected or rewritten throughout his writing, which made Jayan astonishing, and he tuned all the songs instantly. They forgot everything in the bhakti mood, and when the work was completed, it was already 4 am. They believe it to be the presence of Lord Krishna there, and that’s why all the 9 songs of Mayil Peeli are equally popular even now.
There is one famous song, Nakshatradeepangal Thilangi from Malayalam movie, Nirakudam. In the second stanza of the song, the lines – Chempada thalathil Shankarabharanam are recorded in Yesudas’ voice in double speed. The composers used to call it ‘Katriswaram’. Same thing is repeated in this song also in Anupallavi. Ramesan Nair has penned 1000 songs exclusively for Guruvayurappan. He has been a part of 405 Bhakti albums. He tries to bring different moods to different songs, though he writes about the same Lord.
Brahma Muhoorthathin Sankholi Uyarnnu
Perumbavur G. Ravindranath composed this very popular song of Lord Krishna. It was the first album tuned by the composer for Lord Krishna, and Brahma Muhoorthathin Sankholi Uyarnnu is the first tuned song. He got opportunity to release the cassette of Lord Guruvayurappan and Chettikkulangara Bhagavati at the same time. May be the blessings of Lord Krishna and Bhagavati together, the composer believes it to be reason why this song is so popular among the devotees.
It was his friend P. G. Menon who first suggested the idea to do one devotional album dedicated to Lord Krishna. The songwriter of this devotional song, Thankan Thiruvatar used to write songs in AIR during those days. They knew each other earlier, and he handed a few songs to Ravindranath. Kaithapram Namboodiri used to visit Akashvani occasionally those days. He also asked Ramesan Nair to write a few songs.
Though he easily tuned other songs, there was some issue with this particular one. Suruti raga is used to sing Mangalam in Carnatic music. So the composer was confused how to compose a few lines which tell about Nirmalyam of Lord Krishna, and only Suruti raga was in his mind. Somehow he managed to give life to those lines and they turned to be beautiful. After that he tuned 35 albums dedicated to Guruvayurappan, and it began with ‘Panchajanyam’ – the album which included the song, Brahma Muhoorthathin Sankholi Uyarnnu.
When Perumbavur G. Ravindranath asked Thankan Thiruvatar to write two songs of Lord Krishna, an ardent devotee of Krishna wrote 6 songs. He was a regular visitor of Guruvayur temple too. The songwriter asked the composer to choose any two of the written ones. When Panchajanyam album got released, 5 of his songs were included.
When he got instruction to write the songs, it took more than a week to get the right mood. One late evening, around 10 pm, some words flashed to his mind, and he wrote those lines to a piece of paper. After 8 lines, he couldn’t get more words and went asleep. He used to visit Thiruvattar Adi Kesavaperumal temple regularly those days. Thiruvattar palace is on the banks of Paraliyaar river, on the way to his home. He sat in the front side of the palace for a while, after visiting the temple. Some words flashed in his mind, and thus he completed Charanam portion of the same song. The song was recorded in Unni Menon’s magical voice.
Guruvayur Omana Kannanaam Unnikk…
M. Jayachandran, who composed this song used to visit Guruvayur temple since childhood days. For one reason or other, he got opportunity to visit the temple at least once in every month unplanned. It was singer K. S. Chitra’s husband Vijaya Shankar who put forward the idea to do the album, Unnikannan. In those days, Jayachandran was an unknown face to Malayalam cinema, and whole discussions were carried out in Chithra’s home.
Chowalloor Krishnankutty of ‘Oru Neramenkilum’ fame sent the lyrics of the song, who described mischievous Krishna through his words, and when the composer saw those lines, his eyes filled with tears in devotion and he tuned those lines instantly. Later the same music director earned fame through Krishna songs he composed for Nivedyam, and there was no turning back after that. He believes it to be the blessings of Lord Krishna. The song was recorded in K. S. Chithra’s sweet voice.