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Call Number : CMSI-239


Nalla Mathave Mariye
Sung by Thressiamma Antony Vattapparayil, Iddukki


In this recording, we hear one of the most popular devotional (non-liturgical) songs of the Syro Malabar Catholics in Kerala. The song is addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. The Portuguese missionaries introduced the practice of dedicating certain months to particular saints, for example, the month of May to the Blessed Virgin, March to St. Joseph, and June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Spiritual readings and songs are part of this devotional practice, which takes place at home (not in the church). Imitating the Hindu homes, Christians, too, followed the tradition of family prayer in the evenings (“sandhya prarthana” which, in Malayalam means “prayer at dusk”) “Nallamathave Mariye” was part of the devotion in the month of May. We do not know who wrote the song or who composed the melody. The melody uses a slow tempo rhythm of six beats. The text contains words that lost currency in the twentieth century. The Blessed Virgin is “Mariye,” which is the Malayalam version of the vocative case of “Mary.” That is a valid reason to assume that the song originated during the Portuguese era, starting from the early seventeenth century. The Syriac Christians always referred to Mary in its Aramaic form, “Mariam.” Songs such as these are essential both to linguists and musicologists.

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