27 March 2016

As Thaipusam was last month, I had heard this Tamil song for Murugum on the radio a while back and was much taken by its percussion parts. The DJ had taken the song from Youtube..

The Mahabharata says Murugum was a son of the Pleiades, the sisters whom the ancient Greeks thought Orion pursues through the winter sky. It would seem mythologies relating to the constellation developed independently in Mesoamerican, Bronze Age Celtic, and other ancient cultures, and the constellation was important to Mediterranean navigation, but I wonder if the importance of the sisters to Alexandrian poetry had anything to do with their empire's wanderings to the Ganges. The Balinese percussion that partially inspired Xenakis' Pléïades, like the observance of the constellation, predated the arrival of Hindu narratives there..

In Tantrism the hunter chases Shakti through the universe until sound and speech transcends thought and intuition to attain 'the transcendental level called para-vac, or "supreme speech," which is Shakti in perfect union with Shiva' (Feuerstein). These vocals backed only by percussion from last year's Thaipusam in Singapore sound good played at the same time as the Pléïades.

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