Musical phenomenon

by Sairam Iyer

I was once asked to define “Lata Mangeshkar”. My response was…. The Essence of Music encapsulated in a human form is Lata Mangeshkar….!

Have tried really hard, over the years, to understand this Musical Phenomenon (as I call her)… The more I try… the farther it seems to get.  My parents and my Music are an integral part of me and my life… so is Lata Mangeshkar. “Music = LM” has been my formula.

I started singing as a child and had a sweet girl like voice which later went through the natural course of transition when I stepped into adolescence.  Later I went on to sing in both Male and Female voices, which I continue to do now. Have been appreciated a lot, since childhood, for my ability to replicate the minutest nuances of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle… though for some unknown reason LM always remained my favourite even as a child. I would stick my ears to the Radio and Tape recorder… trying to grasp every note that she sang… a modern age Ekalavya. Have sung some of her songs more number of times, than probably she would have even thought of…. like “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”. But believe me… even today, after so many years of singing this song time and again, when I listen to the original one sung by her… I feel I am yet to learn this song… Frustrating indeed….!

It is not about the intricacies…. Technical mastery… Gayaki  and Harkat as they call it in Hindi…. It is the Perfection of Sur (In tune)…  Taal (Beats)….  Laya (Timing)…  Expressions…  All this in Perfect Unison… with that added “Something”…. which seems so humanly impossible to achieve…

Which Only She has…. !!!  

Talk about today’s Songs.  All technically tuned and tutored… Cut/Paste- Copy/Paste –Edit- Re Edit-Pre Mix-Re Mix- Mastering and what not . . . still the Final Product has as much Life as would a body with everything working right… but the “Soul” missing. On the other hand, you have a Lata …. who, with just her seamless singing,  infused Life and Soul into so many, otherwise Dead, songs and Immortalised them.

One has heard of many western classics having been re-done and sung by others. Some have even managed to do a better version than the original. Many Lata songs have also been sung and re sung by so many singers over the years. But sadly none of them has managed to get even anywhere close to where she has. They would have got the tune right…. The lyrics right…. The beats…. Everything but that Evasive Something…. which no one seems to be able to fathom, understand or even point out . . .

 Only She Knows What… !!!

70+ years of Innumerable Lilting Immortal Melodies and counting….

The Indefinable . . Mysterious . . Mystical . . Musical Phenomenon called . . . “Lata Mangeshkar!

Musically Hers,


(*Sairam Iyer is an acclaimed singer who has this unique ability to sing in both, male and female voices. He has performed all over the world to rave reviews. To get a glimpse of his amazing singing talent just watch the video posted here where he sings the classical Lata-Rafi duet Kuhu Kuhu Bole Koyalia.)

About the author
Sairam Iyer

Sairam Iyer is an acclaimed singer who has this unique ability to sing in both, male and female voices. He has performed all over the world to rave reviews.