Carnatic Transliterations

Deep apologies to all those who are not from South India and do not have a smidgen of interest in Carnatic music. If you belong to that category, this post will probably not make any sense. But it has been running through my mind for a while and I just had to put it down.

Carnatic music was drilled into me for almost 15 years of my life. More than the music itself, the need to preserve it in its pristine traditional glory was hammered into my head using a combination of Melakartha ragas and 9-inch nails. Therefore, it is my solemn duty as a musical anarchist to do some serious bad-ass jalsa and blasphemous jilpa of some of the most popular carnatic numbers of our times. I just think Carnatic music needs to get a sense of humour.

Having been Tamil-illiterate for most of my childhood, my music notebook was entirely written in English. Sampler:


Vaataapi Ganapathim Bhaje…hum

So imagine this scene in 1690. A British East India company musicologist happens to discover a wormhole into the future and chances upon my music notebook. Since it’s written in English, he will most certainly assume that the words are simply quaint local misspellings of the Queen’s language and thus I present to you,

The East India Company Carnatic Songbook.

Raga: Hamsadhwani

Composer: Mootusoowammy Deekshirter

What a big gun apart him budge eh? Hmm?

War an’ ah, some were uh..part him, shriek!

Raga: Hindolam

Composer: Tiago Roger

Some much a war ago man uh..

Sad who grr…

Sir a sop joe apall luck all liter wig your….


Composer: Gopaulachrisna Barretty


Where you dive’em

Some Anne amour cool maa…


Composer: Tiago Roger

Chuck any Roger..

Mar Game oooh..’n’docker

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38 thoughts on “Carnatic Transliterations

  1. Being obligatorily shunted off to ‘paatu’ class for a good 10 years of my life, I have to bow to you for the awesomeness of ‘Tiago Roger’.

    I hope Roger isn’t turning in his grave at your erm, I’ll say ‘creative’ interpretations of his songs.

  2. hey great one! but it would have been more helpful to give the original names and lyrics for carnatic-ignorant like me 😦

  3. @FJ,

    I had to leave it that way to maximize the “oh-yeah-i-got-it” effect for the carnatically inclined. But here are the originals for you:

    Vaataapi Ganapathim Bhaje Hum..
    Vaaranaa Samvaraa pathim shree..

    Saamaja Varagamana
    Saadhu Hrr..
    Saara Saabja paalaka lalita vigyor…

    Sabaa pathikku
    Veru Deivam
    Samaanamaa gumaa..

    Chakkani Raaja
    Maargamu undaka


  4. Romba nandri krish…

    and munimma – ungalukku

    munimma kayya thattu
    un varthaikku sarkarai puttu

  5. Sir,

    I humbly submit my offering, and beg to be accepted as an honorary Member of the Calamitous Carnatic Transliterators Club. While digging through the eminent and prolific Tiago Roger’s archives, I happened upon the following (to be delivered in a shriek (Sri)):

    Enter, O, Mahan, – you! Bah! View loo!

    And the reek – eee! Waah! Done a mule, you!

    Humbly and respectfully yours,

  6. Forgive me, but browsing through your madcap site has made me somewhat (more) of a madcap. And so, I am inspired to compose an Ode to Tiago Roger. A thousand pardons, but I seem to have imbibed a little too much of the poet ale, so some of the words have come out a bit garbled/truncated. Here goes:
    Tiago Roger, your guh (great) vibe, ahem!
    Your guh vibe, ahem!
    Vibe, ahem,
    Ahem, hem!
    Hic! And and a bye, Ravee!

  7. Mr Asok…I have such beautiful friends cos’ WTSIWIG 2C… tats how i bumped into ur blog!
    As u’ve mentioned carnatic music was literally drilled into me as well,but in a different fashion.Literally and figuratively a deadly combination of human talons with kick-boxing was employed…Sighhh…all those days are gone.. With due reverence,after all those sessions at the fight club,i present one more Tiago Roger

    Raga : Ab-Erie

    Nag coo mow,mooooooooo…gun A lien E ?
    Natch Ali,Delhi See?!?
    Nano brow WEGA radar
    SSsssssh-Ree rack-you-where-A Knee…


  8. I share your sentiments, having gone through most of my tender years trying to get words that made no sense to me and banging my thigh black and blue to get the taalam right!!! This is supremely funny. I remember chuckling every time I sang Entharo cos it sounded like
    Yearn to go, man to the loo!!!!!
    Well done. I’m glad to know I ain’t alone!!!!

  9. Wonderful blog !! if only our ancestors , had included such humour in ALL our scriptures , lierature, music, et al, there would be no room for the distortions of the Mangalore Gorillas, and similarly for all fundamentalists of all religions. Their pseudo-ideology is fuelled by the over-pompous gravity of many ppl associated with holy matters. Shri Jayendra S had a nice sense of humour, so did Shri Kripananda, and Gandhiji , many genuine holy ppl do. Carnatic music teachers would have produced more musicians if they had been pleasant rather than stern and colicky ( or is it choleric).

  10. Diamond, post-KAfication version :
    Jughead had a car , by Tiago Roger
    ( Original included after this , for the Car-nautic-ally challenged )
    Jughead had …. ( guess what) .. had a car , a CAR !!!
    Joy ! age an’ a keeper, a nun, a (yuk) car !

    Gagan had a pa, sat cool ! ajar ajar rash war ahhhh
    Sue goon a car ah! Sue a saviour ! Behave ya! Dayak’s ‘ad a sack, a-la —- ! ( Jughead had )

    amourata ruck a niche a yak-oo mood a hit Ahh !
    Paree poor nana gasser , a sir, a BOOO !
    Ja daddy, pa, Yo Diva Saharan, Ah !
    Sunder a tar a wad Anna Sue Damn! a ya (va)
    (Cho) Bruin Dago wind as a nun damn ah
    War ajar apt a shoo bah car ah neck ah
    Dull , carbon,Pre-KAfication version:

    jagadAnanda kAraka! |
    jaya jAnakI prANa nAyaka! ||


    GaganAdhipa! satkulaja! rAja rAjeshwara! |
    suguNAkara! sura sEvya! bhavya dhAyaka! sadA sakala || (Jagada)

    caraNam 1

    amara tAraka nichaya kumuda hita
    paripUrNA! anagha! surasurabhU – |
    ja dadhi payodhi vAsa haraNa!
    sundaratara vadana! sudhAmaya va – |
    chO brunda gOvinda sAnanda! mA –
    varAja rApta shubhakara! AnEka || (Jagadha)
    trying to create more diamonds .

  11. Thaivamey, what a thinkings of the mind, this is! K Ram – good attempt!
    clap clap and bow to thee! somehow i had missed reading this post earlier 😦 but looks like there are more jewels hidden here and there in this blog than what i thought!
    Asokku: oru dabaa dhaanks sollu illaati hand sake kodu paa, naanum unga embittu periya rasigan, adhu … (sound effect thwick swick shhhwick) indha ulagathukkey teriyum 😉

  12. @Run-ga : “Good attempt -aaa ? ” — take this Islamic song :
    Panda run, give it Allah,
    Ponder it, Nat, a wit, Allah.
    a song abt me:
    Ram a churned a , rag a wierdo, (2)
    Ram a churned a, mum a band oh ,
    Rasm a churned a, joy a sinned, oh

  13. LOL! As someone who spent sixteen years learning, loving and performing CM, I’ve never thought of it this way!!!! 😀 This is incredible imagination!!! 😀 And the follow-up commentators are doing an ever more brilliant job! 😀

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