Project Valluvar

About Kural:

(taken from the CD: Thirukkural in 133 Raagams by M.Yogeswaran)

It is a truism that the modem world has indisputably accepted the enduring values of The Kural of Thiruvalluvar, the greatest sage poet of classical Tamil literature. The Kural should be studied with deep reflection and steady application by people all the world over as it transcends national, geographical,religious and linguistic frontiers. Saint Thiruvalluvar was deeply concerned not so much with religion or eternity as with the welfare of humanity. The three divisions of Thirukkural namely, Virtue (Aram), Wealth (Porul) and Love (kamam) are packed with wisdom, both ideal and practical, in the most compact verse form the distinct numbering 1330 in all. The Kural is multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional as it makes a holistic approach to life. The nuances of human life are indefinable as they are rooted in the glass house of paradoxes and inconsistencies. It can be confidently stated that Thiruvalluvar is the only writer to logicalize the otherwise illogical human life. Of all the poets, writers and thinkers of the world, it was Thiruvalluvar who immensely dealt with every aspect of human life. His magnum opus The Kural therefore becomes a universal as well as an ever lasting recipe for the successful and meaningful existence of every human being on this earth. The saint-poet vehemently emphasized a fundamental fact that human life has a definite meaning and a purpose.

Manickam Yogeswaran

Music transcending boundaries. Yogeswaran is a Sri Lanka-bom, Tamil musician and now based in England who has worked in a variety of musical, dance and multimedia contexts. His contribution to, and promotion of Tamil music and ragam has been outstanding. Since debuting as a singer in Sri Lanka in 1978, he has sung Tamil and Camatic music in devotional and concert settings as a soloist and in such ensembles as the Tamil Classic Band. Apart from singing and recording in a variety of traditional contexts recordings include Exil's Tamil Classics (1997).

He championed Tamil as featured vocalist in a variety of multi-cultural music ensembles including Germany's highly toasted Dissidenten and England's fusion group Shiva Nova and the predominantly western classical 'big voice band' . The Shout under the direction of composers Richard Chew and Orlando Gough. He may be heard on Dissidenten's Instinctive Traveler (1997) and Live in Europe (1998), Jocelyn Pook's Deluge (1998) and The Shout's On Arrival (2000). As featured vocalist with Dissidenten since 1994, he has appeared at major European music gatherings such as the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Jazz open Stuttgart, the Tanz&Folk Fest Rudolstadt (Germany's largest world music festival) and the Glastonbury Festival (Europe's largest music festival).

Internationally, he has performed as featured vocalist and accompanist for a variety of Bharata Natyam dance performances and with Shobana Jeyasingh's internationally acclaimed, South Asian dance troupe in works such as Duets with Automobiles, Romance with Footnotes and Making of Maps. He is a disciple of Prof. T.V Gopalkrishnan of Chennai.Career accomplishments. Yogeswaran has introduced Tamil culture to unprecedented numbers of people through his singing, music-making.composing and contributions to other art forms. Historically, he was the first Tamil vocalist ever to sing in a major Hollywood film as part of music director Jocelyn Pook's soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's last film Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

Yogeswaran sang and recorded the Saint Thiruvalluvar's aphoristic Thimkkural set to 133 ragams. The International Movement for Tamil Culture's World Thimkkural Conference in Toronto in 1998 Yogeswaran was felicitated with the title 'Isai Valial'. In January 2000 in Tamil Nadu Yogaswaran attended the 'unveiling' ceremony of saint's statue symbolically 133 feet high, a foot for every chapter as one of the ceremony's distinguished guests alongside the event's host, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Kalaingar Dr. M. Karunanithy. The same month he performed Thirukkural at the World Thirukkural conference, organised by the Tamil Nadu Thiukkural Peravai at Thirichirapalli. This ambitious musical setting was the first of this kind and generated enormous interest and honourfor the singer from all comers of the Tamil-speaking world.

M.Yogeswaran in a concert in London

M.Yogeswaran during the interview at his residence in London

M.Yogeswaran during the interview at his residence in London

25 years of Spitalfields Music Festival in London where M.Yogeswaran participated

A poster on Stanley Kubrick's last film Eyes Wide Shut (1999). M.Yogeswaran becomes the first Tamil musician to sing in Hollywood productions.

Interview & photos:Dr.N.Kannan
Special thanks to:Mr.R.I.Pathmanaba Iyer, London.
Copyright: 26 March 2003:- Tamil Heritage Foundation

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