Book ‘Varna Varnanam’ makes understanding Carnatic music easy

Chennai: Carnatic music by itself is bliss. But how better would it be if we could actually understand its meaning?

This is where Dr Kanakam Devaguptapu’s book ‘Varna Varnanam’, comes handy. A resident of Besant Nagar for about 27 years, she is a retired head of the department, English, from Stenden University (Netherlands University, Qatar campus) and has been a Veena practitioner for over five decades; apart from being a music teacher and researcher for over 20 years.

Speaking to News Today, she says, “I have been connected with music right from my birth. My sister played the Veena, my cousins used to sing, now they are composers too. I started learning the art from the age of eight. Over time, I improved my vocals and learnt the meanings of the songs, because our teachers those days were keen that we know what we are singing. Only then, they felt, the ‘bhavam’ could come out well.”

So how did she come up with a book that even a ‘layman’ can understand?
‘Varna Varnanam’, she says, contains 20 Telugu, two Tamil, two Sanskrit, one Malayalam and one Kannada varnam. The lyrics are given in the root language, in English and in Sanskrit. A summary is given at the start of each composition, detailing the theme.

For a comprehensive understanding of the lyrics, the notation is followed by a detailed word-to-word meaning and an overall meaning of the song.

She explains the purpose behind the book is to make available the works of composers of earlier centuries (many of whom are not widely known today) to current and future practitioners of music and dance.

For details, contact 2491 0322 or 99529 49390.

Naomi N