Mahaganapatim Manasa Smarami (I remember ganapati with devotion) is one of my favourite Carnatic songs. The lyrics and meaning of the song can be found here . Below are four versions of the song – vocal and instrumental, that are worth listening on Ganesh Chaturthi (or any normal day).
In my opinion, the best voice to sing ‘Mahaganapatim Manasa Smarami’ is KJ Yesudas. If there is some other version better than this, please send it to me. His unhurried, deep and pious baritone perfectly suits this devotional song (or any devotional song for that matter). Every time he repeats the Pallavi (First Line), the song seems more convincing for someone who knows little about technicalities of the song.
The instrument Mandolin would have remained obscure if it were not played by U Srinivas. After one hears Yesudas’ rendition, one can seamlessly move on to this version of Mahaganaptim played by the late maestro. The music that emanates from a Mandolin, has the elegance of a violin and the seriousness of Veena. Of course, this is a vague and amateur opinion. But some of you might agree with me.
When I think about the word ‘heart-strings’ a violin appears in my imagination automatically. In my opinion, good music when played on a violin becomes great music. ‘Mahaganapatim Manasa Smarami’ acquires a new dimension when played by Kanyakumari. Though she wears a serious and meditative look while handling her bow skillfully, the listener can barely sit still.
Fusion music always seems impressive when it blends with Carnatic. With its highs and lows, Mahaganapatim was meant to be a fusion hit. I found this short, yet energetic version of the song accidentally. This video has crossed half a million views for a good reason. BTW, the composer, Amit Heri is a brilliant musician. I have vivid memories of his live concert in Indiranagar.
I wish you and your family a Happy Ganesh Chaturthi. May the elephant god clear all obstacles that are hindering you from realising your dreams.
P.S. I know very little about the technicalities of Carnatic music.