Why I Do Not Like Malayalam Classical Music

I can’t stand most classical music, singers and instrumentalists in India. Make that in Kerala, which is my homeland, especially. It’s not that I am not into the music; I actually can appreciate it even if I do not particularly have a taste for it. There is a reason why I do not like it, nay hate it – it’s the attitude of Malayalam classical music lovers. They are so fucking blindly arrogant! Well not all of them but a vast majority of them, the ones who only listen to that music.

Here is their reasons as to why their music is so superior:- Classical music takes an individual many years of classes and training under a master to learn? So? It still sucks! Most music is like that, you have to practice a lot, take as many lessons on learning your instruments as you can and if you are a vocalist, your vocal chords! If you want to be really good at guitars, drums, bass, keyboards or any instrument, there is a sort of discipline and dedication that it takes. But classical music is superior? And the arrogance is even more massive; only Malayalam classic music is great and it is the most superior form of music. Please, your musical attitude sucks donkey’s balls! And the music is boring to say the least.

When I see these concerts on tv, the audience is so lifeless. It’s almost like they came there to stare like idiots and I’m not sure that they are even enjoying it. There is no audience participation and you can never feel like one with the music. It’s all standards and there is nothing of the individual in the music. Music is not supposed to be like that. It’s all about the individuals playing/singing it and their expressions and their feelings & ideas and sentiments coming through in the words and music. Classical music is so limiting in that, there are no individuals just the songs and lyrics and you have to do it in a certain way. That is so restricting and it doesn’t even remotely interests me.

But here is the biggest thing that puts me off – Malayalam classical music is very closely associated with temples and religion and gods – no chance of me ever getting into it. I can enjoy a classical music instrumental like with the sitar, sarod, tabla or sarangi. They are beautiful instruments and melodies just flow from it. I won’t ever be able to enjoy the vast majority of the classical music with lyrics. I would try it out if they change their attitude and if they be more open to other forms of music and not try to judge it as being lesser than their art form. Me? I used to be just a metalhead but I listen to a whole range of stuff now. Hard rock, pop rock, heavy metal, extreme metal, blues, alternative, flamenco, world music, some Indian classical, some jazz, even some pop and very little rap. I even have some Arabic music and celtic music in my list. I can’t say for sure but if you went through my huge mp3 list, I bet mine would be one of the most varied in terms of different categories of music, if not the one with most variety.

I’ve learnt to open my ears and heart to various types of music way back in my early 20s and developed a lot of appreciation for various artists over the years. I like bands that aren’t afraid to experiment too although not all experiments are successful. That’s ok, atleast you gave it a shot. Unlike all you Malayalam classical aficionados. Peace and Cheers! Drink a beer once in a while along with your moore!

2 thoughts on “Why I Do Not Like Malayalam Classical Music

  1. Roshan, Normally I don’t leave comments, but the facts are not true here. First of all, what you refer to here is probably the branch of Indian classical music referred to as ‘Carnatic music’ (the other being ‘Hindustani’ classical). Regarding the comment about the musician not having any personal input – the kritis are compositions, raga and lyrics are fixed, but every performer, and even every single performance is uniquely delivered according to the musician’s style and occasion. Secondly, people enjoy it tremendously. Most Indian audiences are quiet except for entertainment concerts. Besides, the musician should not be distracted by major applause except at allowable intervals, it also interferes with other people’s enjoyment (personally I was super super annoyed when a guy next to me started humming and nodding his head when everyone was enjoying a classical concert in pin drop silence – there is something to be said for those absolute silences which occur between sublime music intervals). There is a world of interpretation possible in each raga, and every performance, the vocalist’s free-ranging style, coupled with the interchange between the accompanying musician’s (called ‘thaniyavarthanam’ is improvised on the spot and must be seen live to really feel it. You have to concentrate a lot to render all of it pitch-perfect and you need to concentrate to get the feel of it (thats why the audience look so still/fixed). All of this I am saying from personal experience. And yes, the vast majority of kritis are devotional, but there are love songs too. Arrogant people are arrogant people, period. That has nothing to do with music.

  2. Raakhee – I did say mostly Malayalam classical music! I was quite specific on that but yeah you can lump in Carnatic too.
    Personal input for the way you describe it, is like just doing different versions of an already arranged song with music & lyrics. Like covers. I do agree that every individual musician/singer can give even an old standard his/her unique touch. I’ll buy that because I’m a person who loves a good cover, if done right! Rock music has their own covers done from time to time – some work some don’t!
    Seeing it live – no thanks!! Concentration – anything done with a certain level of skill requires concentration. Death metal band musicians are often very talented at their instrument of choice and they concentrate like hell on their playing – even in loud audiences with people going wild! But yeah on a lighter note I do understand what you mean – I usually require mostly silence when I am concentrating…..on take a leak or a shit!!! ROTFLOL!!
    Even the love songs in Classical music are peppered with divine analogies (“you are as graceful as the flow of hair on Devi’s head/you are as handsome as the Krishna statue next to my bed” – hey that rhymes! And I just made up these lyrics on the spot as I typed it. Classical music is so easy!!!
    And I know that arrogant people are arrogant no matter what – but classical music just has a whole lot of them!

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