Last month, technology websites were unnecessarily excited to find that Apple’s Siri, the virtual personal assistant that haunts all iPhones, had been programmed to beatbox. That’s fine, nerds, but your rudimentary “boots and cats” Easter egg has nothing on what these three South Indian kids living in Dubai made Siri do.
Siri never needed “boots and cats” to drop a beat, she just needed to be asked “What is one trillion to the tenth power?” And over that beat, three Dubai radio station employees made classical Indian music, a form they worried was going extinct, cool again.
That’s Carl La’Frenais as the human beatbox, Puja Unni adding the “thaka dimi tha,” and Pavritha Menon singing “Endaro Mahanubhavulu” — a famous composition in the history of Carnatic music, one of South India’s classical forms. The composer, Tyagaraja, is a legend of the form, and part of what’s known as the Trinity of Carnatic music.
Not exactly the kind of thing you’d expect to blow up on the internet, perhaps. La’Frenais didn’t expect it to, either.
“The fact that Indian classical music is dying out was the main reason why we decided to do this version in the traditional style. We didn’t think it would go viral the way it did,” he told the Deccan Chronicle.
But the trio’s modern spin on the song was an immediate hit on Twitter, and it ended up being viewed 10 million times over two days as it spread to Facebook and YouTube.
Maybe they’re not bringing kriti back all on their own, but it’s a pretty good start.