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Music has no language

Updated on June 27, 2017
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Sunil Kunnoth loves reading and writing apart from his other hobbies of music and travel. He is an active hubber.

Jean Paul Richter observed: Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of Life.

Music is a vast subject and can be described in many ways. World famous poets have beautifully stated what is music in many ways. It is a good topic and all will enjoy it as they love the music. Music has no language too. All like it and enjoy it better than anything else. Normally we listen to music in our own language. Apart from our mother tongue we may listen to music in the English language also. This is the case in all regions of this world; whether it be Asia, Europe, Africa, North America or Latin America. English being the universal language, it is quite natural too.

Then, can you guess a region where music from seven languages are religiously listened and followed? You won't even suspect such a place exists in the world.

Then believe, it does exist. This place is called Kerala, a small state in the southern part of India. This practice is more seriously done in the Malabar (Northern) region of Kerala. It has got another feather too on its cap: the achievement of 100% literacy!

K.J. Yesudas-The best male voice being heard for the last 50 years!
K.J. Yesudas-The best male voice being heard for the last 50 years!

The language of Kerala is Malayalam. People usually speak here that language only. But the people of Kasaragod, Trivandrum and Palakkad use some other languages also such as Tulu, Kannada and Tamil. It is for the reason that these districts share its border with states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

You cannot see a Tamilian listens to Malayalam songs. But Malayalees listen to Tamil! Nor you can see a North Indian listens to Malayalam. Again Malayalees watch and listen Hindi movies and music. A North Indian never pays his attention to any music from a South Indian language.

S.P. Blasubramaniam
S.P. Blasubramaniam

Here comes the Malayalees (People of Kerala) with an impartial mind when it comes to music and film. They don't mind the language. What they consider is only the quality. Almost all Keralites love Tamil Songs as well as Hindi songs. They also prefer watching Films too from these languages. The Malayalees enjoy music from seven languages-Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, English & Arabic. They will sing beautifully Tamil and Hindi songs. They are great fans of S.P. Balasubramaniam, Ilayaraja, A.R. Rahman. They also love Rafi, Kishor, Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha from Hindi.

Lata Mageshkar
Lata Mageshkar
MJ, Emperor of Pop Music
MJ, Emperor of Pop Music

Tamil and Hindi music and films do good business in Kerala. Malayalees have up to date data of the Tamil & Hindi Film industry with them. But sadly no Tamilian or North Indian can boast of such a claim as Malayalees do. Hindi being our national language, there is no much relevance for Keralites' love for Hindi. All Indians should love Hindi. But what is surprising is Malayalee's love for Tamil songs and films. Most of the Malayalees follow Tamil programs on Radio and TV. They love it and enjoy it well. Tamil Nadu is their neighboring state. So naturally the love can be justified. But Kerala is a neighboring state for Tamil Nadu as well. But the Tamilians are least interested in Malayalam.

Now the question arises: Why it doesn't happen in the reverse way? Means, why Tamilians don't like or follow Malayalam songs or films? They can't even sing a single song. There may be a certain exemption. Their knowledge too is so weak when it comes to Malayalam music. They stick on to their own language. They love only their language. The Tamilians know well that Malayalees are great fans of Tamil music and films. Still they don't reciprocate even in a remote way. The reason is simple. They are narrow-minded. Linguistic chauvinism is what govern them primarily. (My criticism is limited to this topic only).

Had they been as open minded as the Keralites ( music only), they too could have enjoyed beautiful Malayalam songs and films. The loss is for them only as Malayalam Film industry produces some of the best movies in India. What the Tamilians miss is an opportunity to listen to some quality works from Malayalam. On the contrary, Malayalees, being broad-minded are enjoying good Tamil movies and great melodies from Tamil.

Khalid, the Arabic Singer
Khalid, the Arabic Singer

And English being a universal language all love and follow it. It is more so about the Keralites. They watch Movies and music from English though the number of followers is lesser when it compares with Hindi and Tamil. Mainly students and the male folks love it.

A large number of Malayalees have migrated to Arabian countries for job and business purpose. It must be the reason for their love for Arabic music. Justifiably, it is Muslims, who are mainly the fans of Arabic music. They are also great fans of Gazals, which is mostly in Urdu. Pankaj Udhas, Jagjit Singh and Umbayi are great artists rendering Urdu Gazals and they have a large fan in Kerala. Similarly, the Punjab folk songs also are so popular in Kerala. The fast Punjabi numbers have good takers here and Malayalees love Daler Mehndi as their own singer. What magic music performs among the intelligent Malayalees irrespective of languages! It is Kerala's unique record and no other states follow such a healthy practice in music listening.


People from other regions may be surprised when they come to know that the showcase in almost every homes in Kerala are stocked with Cassettes and CDs of so many languages with equal passion. It is done in an impartial manner too. To the doubtful minds on this unusual scene, there is only one answer the Keralites can provide: Music has no language!

© 2012 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth

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    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 21 months ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Brother, let's love and respect all languages. That is what the Malayali folks always do and the essence of my article. If you can love Tamil and Malayalam, you must love Hindi too. More than any other languages, what unites the Indians are Hindi like what English serves as a universal language.

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      Arulselvan 22 months ago

      Brother I agree your post.but there is no linguistic Chavunism in Tamil Nadu.we don't know either we love Tamil or rigid nature of Tamil language we listen Tamil songs only.

      One more thing Hindi is not national language it is official language of India.

      You said Indian should love Hindi

      No Brother we should love our language first respect other languages.

      I have recently watched idea star TVs singer program where a malayalee girl sung Muruga songs wonderfully.the same girl sung a Malayalam song which is first I heard Malayalam songs also very good.

      There is many great Singers from Kerala jesudas,Jency,swarnalatha ,Chitra are sing Tamil songs as we Tamils enjoy our language.

      Our heartful thanks to all malayalees to sing and listen Tamil songs.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      You are right. Thanks for your visit and comments.

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      MAnoj 2 years ago

      kollywood movie is incomplete without malayalee singers and actress

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      Arun 2 years ago

      I agree Kerala has phenomenal singers, but it lacks phenomenal music directors, which Tamil Nadu has, that is where the difference is. I think no other film industry in India has got music directors of the caliber that Tamil Nadu has. Music Directors are like painters and singers are like paint brushes, the latter has no value without the former and the former can always pick and choose any kind of the latter. Simply put, music directors are creators and singers are part of their creations.

      Also, I think Kerala should compete with Tamil Industry instead of following them, that's how you better yourself, if you are going to follow someone you are never going to be better than them.

      Kerala has to produce lots of music composers and they have to compete hard to produce high quality musical pieces. In TN, young composers compete with each other for products of international standards. I don't know if it is in the genes or something, but they always set up their standards very high.

      Let me just leave a sample for you - listen to the following musical bit, composed by an youngster aspiring to make it big in Tamil film industry. This is how it is done - check out the tune, the orchestration and check out the overall quality and contemporary factor(use good quality speakers ear phones)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZEfnBthD9I

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 2 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Thank you Arun for stopping by and leaving a in-depth comments. I do admit that now a days Tamil produces better songs than what we have in Malayalam. But still I must say that Malayalam film industry ahead in Indian films with tons of awards for best feature films, actors and technicians, etc. Malayalees do accept quality work and hence they love Tamil songs. But why Tamilians never listen Malayalam songs of high quality nature is still an unanswered query. The most famous and loved voice of the song Industry is now of KJ Yesudas and he is a Malayali. He has captured the hearts of Tamilians too with his brilliant rendering. We love SP, Janaki, Susheela, etc and all of them are not Malayalayees. Here in Kerala, people alike will say one thing: Music has no language. I hope and wish the rest of the nation too follow that mantra.

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      Arun 2 years ago

      Never knew that most Malayalis follow tamil songs and movies, in fact most people in Tamil Nadu don't even know the basic happenings in Kerala. And regarding why the love is not reciprocated - I think it might be because of music richness. If Kerala can produce consistently high quality music like in the Tamil Industry, not just Tamils, everyone would start listening to Malayalam songs. I've listened to some Malayalam songs, they are good, but I feel when they compete with Tamil songs, they fall short in orchestration richnesss, melody depth, melody variety, etc. Also Tamil Nadu consistently produces extra-ordinary musical geniuses such as MS Viswanathan, Illayaraja, Rahman, Harris, Yuvan, etc, who are renowned across India.. To add to it, there have been a recent onslaught of new breed composers who are just setting the already very high standards, even higher. I think every other Industry look up to Tamil Industry when it comes to films, especially music and film making technicalities. Don't think people in TN will ever listen to Malayalam songs for these reasons.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      @Kalai,

      Thank you so much for reading this hub and leaving some positive comments. I am happy on knowing that a few people like you are listening Malayalam films and songs. Keep up that spirit. Let's welcome all that is good irrespective of religion, language and boundaries All the best.

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      kalai 3 years ago

      Agree with this post. I have noticed people(keralites) dancing as well as singing tamil songs in reality shows. Very nice to see Tamil songs being followed outside of TN. FYI there are few people in TN like me, who likes malayalam songs as well. It started with swapnakoodu.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      @Selvam

      I am sorry to say that your comments are utterly wrong and it shows your negative thoughts only. You say Malayalam songs are boring and Tamil is fine. Then what about Hindi songs? That also boring? No in is not that but your mad passion towards your mother tongue. We all are Indians and try to love and respect the sentiments of all people irrespective of language, caste and religion brother. While I am a Malayalee and wrote that we love Tamil songs very well, you have replied it is bad and boring. I hope you change your negative set up at the earliest and welcome all languages as you love your mother tongue-Tamil at least a little bit.

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      Selvam, Sivagangai 3 years ago

      First of all, one likes a certain music, regardless of language, only because it is good. For a Malayalee to like Tamil songs, Tamil songs are upbeat and great. But for a Tamil person to NOT prefer Malayalam songs, Malayalam songs are simply boring. Secondly, the reason for an awareness of Tamil songs in Kerala is that most of the leading singers (male, female and child) in Tamil industry are Malayalees. I believe these singers have imported Tamil songs to Kerala by their own popularity in Kerala.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Sajai

      No such intention as you alleged. And no political agenda too. What I stated is a fact only. A Tamilian can enjoy Tamil in Kerala as much as he enjoy it in TN. But a Malayali has no such luck or chance when he visits TN bcoz Tamilians never enjoy Malayalam barring a few. That is a reality and fact, which no one can deny. I had experienced it many times. We love Tamil songs and movies. Thanks for your comments.

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      sajai 3 years ago

      hi, Mutual feelings here, although iam a tamilian ... i feel shame that tamilians and malayalees are separated to this extend just for political reasons, although they are brothers for time with much similar languages...

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      Azhartou 4 years ago

      It is an interesting thing, what you have mentioned here. I think you aree not aware that urudu songs are also enjoyed in kerala. Especially in north kerala. It was a good given by you. It gives a new height to malayalees.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image
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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hi Easyethiopriatrave

      Thanks for stopping by and the comments. Glad to note it touched you.

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      easyethiopiatrave 4 years ago

      Interesting topic, when I wrote about Ethiopian music in my hub I was thinking of this in the back of my mind.

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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 5 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hello Alphagirl,

      There is a surprise for you. Hope you will love to see it. Await your comments.

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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 5 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hi Traslochimilano,

      Happy to note nice comments. As u said Akon songs loved by many....yes my son Amal Dev is great fan of him. Thank you for your comments.

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      traslochimilano 5 years ago from USA

      Music have not any boundary nor any languages. Every one like Michal Jackson and akon songs while most of people don't understand with songs. Nice Hub

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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 5 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hi Alphagirl,

      Glad to note your nice comments and thank you for the same. I understand you have a lot of doubts about India and Kerala. I will write soon featuring all the points of interest soon. Anyhow check on my other hubs also for understanding our life style and culture. Thank you.

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      alphagirl 5 years ago from USA

      Really Interesting hub. You are writing something I have never heard about. Are the keralites like the the different people from different districts of India, like China? There are 27 dialects in China. Yest the language is written the same. I t would be great if you could give us more hisory about the culture and people. many here I am sure would be interested. I love learning about other cultures. Thanks for sharing. I plan to follow you

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      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 5 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Hi Harinarayan, Nice to note your comments. Let's hope they too behave in a similar way sooner or later.

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      harinarayan 5 years ago from Kerala, India

      sure, the music has no language especially for keralites, we are just open minded na. If we try to translate some tamil song it's having full of blunders, but we enjoy the music in it. It is nice u are telling your criticism is limited to this topic only. Whatever they do we love and consider them as our neighbour, this prove our love and saying God's own country. Voted up and beautiful.