The month Margazhi also called Mrigashirsha is that time of the year when at the time of sunset in the west, the stars that rise in the east are the Orion constellation called Mrigashiras or head of a deer.
This month is named after this constellation which is the most prominent in the sky through the night.
This month is also the music season in Chennai, the place having the culture of celebrating music in this month for over 80 years.
Music Academy, Chennai
This music season has become so well entrenched that it is compared with the music festival of Vienna, Austria, where the world’s largest music festival takes place.
Open air music festival, Vienna
The culture of the music festival in Vienna came about since Vienna is the home town of the European Classical musician Amadeus Mozart.
In the Indian tradition, carnatic music has its primacy of place and is best exhibited in Margazhi Mahotsav – The music festival.
The word Carnatic in “Carnatic music” comes from Karnatakam, meaning traditional. The 2nd meaning being “ear”. Music is heard, relished and passed on from generation to generation. i.e, Carnatic music is the one that has its roots in the tradition of the land and that which is passed on, year after year, from ear to ear.
Among musical instruments, the lyre is considered to be one of the older instruments. This lyre is called the “Yazh”in the old Tamizh language. This Yazh instrument was very famous in the Eastern town of Sri Lanka from which this region got its name Yazh Paanam. The English way of calling the place now is Jaffna, which has no correlation with the ancient musical instrument Lyre, yazh.
While lyre, yazh refers to very fine metal string, which means the metallurgy should have been developed enough then, to have these metal strings.
There are instruments even prior to metallurgy. One among those pre-ancient music instruments is the wind instrument – flute. When the wind blows through a bamboo groove, a natural music whiz is created. Bamboo is, but a variety of grass.
Early man enjoyed this music of Nature and tried to create his own music with a piece of bamboo by making suitable holes for blowing air into it and by tuning the air flow with his finger to get the desired lilting music.
So, obviously flute is one of the oldest musical instruments known to man. Different cultures over thousands of years have made their own variants of the flute. There have also been great flute players.
Of all these flutists, the greatest name that readily comes to mind is Lord Krishna who was born 5000 years back.
Krishna – The Divine Flutist
In Brindavan, his flute mesmerized the cows, peacocks as well as the gopis. When played normally, the natural raga that comes from the flute is Yaman when played in the North Indian style and HariKhamboji when played in the South Indian style. Krishna was able to captivate everyone with his flute.
While one needs to be gifted to produce melodious music, it does not take much to dissolve into, melt into, unite or become laya with the divine harmony in music. India with its wide repertoire of classical, semi-classical, folk, film and fusion music has a lot to offer.