Suddenly feeling very comfortable with Tamil Songs

Singlanguages/ February 28, 2022/ Music

I’m in the process of moving my old pages over and adding in new ones. For now, however, I wanted to talk about something that’s happened to me.

I haven’t listened much to Carnatic music or music from India in general. I started listening to some Tamil music on spotify when I started learning Tamil. It didn’t really help me with the language at that point because I was still a beginner and couldn’t read the lyrics, but it did help me get used to the musical tropes employed in India.

Today, as I listened to the Tamil radio station here in Singapore, I realised I now felt ‘at home’ with Tamil music. It didn’t feel foreign to me anymore, it didn’t feel like something “out there”.

I suspect the process of getting used to music in a foreign language is like trying to like a new genre of music in general. This happened once to me long ago, when I first started listening to Metal music. I remember at first that I thought the music was loud and noisy, but I really admired the lyrics and singing, so I stuck with it. Eventually, I fell in love with the one or two metal albums I had access to, and have expanded my Metal repertoire since. Similarly, I think this is the point where I feel comfortable with Carnatic music and can start enjoying it for its own sake.

I also think that part of the reason I’m comfortable now is that I have progressed in Tamil over the last 7 months or so, having slowed down recently because of work commitments and health reasons. I recently took up Tamil classes again after around a 2-month hiatus and had a very wonderful lesson with my teacher Aung Myo (Krishna). I can now make out the words when people speak quickly in Tamil documentaries. This also means I can distinguish Tamil lyrics, rather than hearing a continuous stream of ‘vocals’.

This act of ‘distinguishing’ is very important, and I think it is a theme that I will return to. For now, I will enjoy feeling at home with Tamil.

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