Susie’s Fab Five | Songs of the Wandering Minstrel

SP Pillai in Aaromalunni (1972)On the journey of life, we pass through several roads – darkness and light, winding roads and straight, over land and sea. A lifetime, searching for that elusive something, perhaps even the final destination.

1. Kaadaarumaaasam Naadaaru Maasam from Ezhu Raathrikal (1968).

This song is about the misery of lives in poverty, and hope for a better future. It is from the landmark Malayalam movie “Ezhu Raathrikal” directed by the legendary Ramu Kariat. The song was sung on screen by JC Kuttikkat, later famous as Movie Director Jesey (ജേസി). I have always wondered how the non-Malayali Salil Chowdhary was able to tune this song, and all the other songs from this movie, for that matter, so beautifully. Along with Vayalar‘s lyrics and KJ Yesudas‘s voice, how can it not turn out to be a classic?

2. Kaattariyilla Kadalariyilla  from Jail (1966).

Neither the wind, nor the ocean understands the torturous pain of the unending search of the waves for the shore. The pain reflected clearly by AM Raja‘s voice, singing Vayalar‘s lyrics, set to tune by G Devarajan.

3. Munnil Mookamaam Chakravaalam from Jail (1966).

Another moving song from the same movie, even this raised desolation to a new miserable level.The silent horizon stretches before the traveller, while leaving behind the vast empty blackness, will someone eventually come to release me from this jail cell of Time? Just one of the hundreds of priceless diamonds formed by the creative trio of KJ Yesudas, Vayalar and Devarajan.

4. Ee Kadalum Maru Kadalum from Kadalpalam (1969).

SP Balasubramaniam‘s first Malayalam song.Vayalar‘s philosophical lyrics and Devarajan‘s intuitive music with SPB’s sweet rendering makes this an exquisite composition. Over the seven seas, even despite the man-made differences of religion.

5. Jeevithamennoru Thookkupaalam from Nirakudam (1977).

KJ Yesudas brings to life the anguish in Bichu Thirumala‘s lyrics, set to music by the talented duo, brothers Jaya-Vijaya. It is difficult to imagine this as a lullaby, yet it is, albeit a sad one, sung on screen by superstar Kamalhasan. ” Life is a bridge (a suspension bridge), and we are all travellers, crossing it in our own way, trying to get over to the other side.

The search for the True Man continues.

8 thoughts on “Susie’s Fab Five | Songs of the Wandering Minstrel

  1. Susy
    Thanks for the Songs of the wandering minstrel from Malayalam films. The first song i select in this genre is of course Puthooram Veettil from the Film aaromalunni. There is a second version of this song in the same film sung by P Susheela in a different tune. S P Pillai is the paanan.
    Also the song Paadunna Painkilikku (Poombaatta – Yusafali Kecheri G Devarajan) is also a song that can be included here. See the second line of the pallavi…
    Kannuneer Kavithakal Paadikondalayumi Manninte Makkalkku Vishakkunnu

    Similar to Paanan paattu in north Kerala there are pulluvan paattu also. The Pullavan, normally with an accomponying arist roam from one place to another and the main singer will be strumming the pulluvan veena. You may be knowing Sree Mahadevan Thante (Nirmalyam – written by Edasseri and music by K Raghavan), Veene Veene Veena Penne (Tottaavaadi – Written by Vayalar and Music by L P R Varma – Raju Phelix and P susheela are the singers), Alakadalil Kidannoru Naagaraajavu (Inquilab Zindabad – Vayalar Devarajan) are a few i can recollect in this class of songs.

    There are also songs of beggars who wander here and there. Janichu Pooi Manushyanaai Njaan (Kuttavaali – Vayalar Dakshinamoorthy) Qiuite a different song of V Dakshinamoorthy with a low tempo. The sarcastic lines goes like this. Marichu Chennal Swarga Kavaadam Turakkumathre Daivam… Pakshe Piranna Mannil Manushyaputhranu Niranja Dukham Maatram. There is no meaning to copy the lines here. You may listen the song further. Another song in this category is Kanakam Moolam Dukham (Interview – Vayalar Dakshinamoorthy), Aayiram Mughangal Njaan Kandu (Night Duty – Vayalar Dakshinamoorthy).

    Then there are the songs of the bullock cart rider who makes his long journey a pleasure with his songs. Aakaashathile Kuruvikal (Rebecca – Vayalar K Raghavan {Molly}), Kaalamoru Kaalavandikkaaran (Kuruthikkalam – P Bhaskaran Jayavijayan – There is another beautiful song sung by S Janaki in this film – Virunnorukki Kaathirunnu – Just enjoy the tabla and the fading out interludes) and of course the famous K Raghavan song Pakalavaninnu Marayumbol(Asuravithu – P Bhaskaran K Raghavan ), Manisan Mannil Parakodi Avante manassil saithante mugham moodi(Kayamkulam Kochunniyude Makan – Pappanamkode Lakshmanan M K Arjunan

    There is also one song i would like to include here which you may be knowing – Kudakumala Kunnimala Kuttiyadi Malayu (Tacholi Marumakan Chandu – P Bhaskaran V Dakshinamoorthy). The song is sung by Sasidharan and Ambili. In the film Bahadur and Meena appear in the scene. Its interesting to note that the male vocal is sung by Meena and female vocal by Bahadur. Unfortunately these two characters were cursed by some purohith and resultantly their voice inter changed !

    This is the second line in the pallavi in this song
    Kaadirangi Naaduchutti nagaram chutti vannu
    Veedu Keri Kayyum nokki kaalam pokan vannu!


    1. Dear Sajith

      Yes, these are exactly the type of songs I am talking about.

      I was doing a philosophical take on it, though. I did not think to include this song the reason being it was a story-telling song. (May be that can be another topic?)…but I do agree, with Remi and you that Puthooram Veettil is the typical wandering minstrel song (though it may not count in my first five favourites).

      I also feel that most songs tuned in arabic music somehow brings to life an image of the wandering minstrel and wide open spaces…..(Kaalam Veendum Mookamaay – Ghoshayaathra)

      I have never heard that song you mentioned in the last para…I have to see if it is available on the net.

      Thanks, Sajith



  2. nice selection Susie Chechi. with the picture up there, i expected Puthooran Veettil also to be in the list:) kaattariyilla kadalariyilla is a favorite. a searing one. and as for that lullaby, yes, somehow it doesn’t seem like a lullaby, seems too dark for it. while i have always felt that all lullabies have a tinge of sadness running as an undercurrent, this one is more dark than sad. but beautiful song nevertheless.

    1. Remitha

      If I had known, I would definitely have included “Puthooram Veettil” 🙂

      As I haven’t seen Nirakudam, I don’t know what Kamal’s story is in the movie. I agree, a strange choice for a lullaby.

        1. Oh? I have bought otherdvds and vcds from this company last time I was in India. Will have a look next year, hopefully. Thanks, Cinematters.

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