Looking for a fun way to learn Tamil? What about listening to some of the greatest Tamil songs of all time and singing along?
It might sound too good to be true, but research consistently shows that reproducing the words of a song helps us assimilate the syntax of any given language and incorporate new vocabulary.
This is because songs are generally made of colloquial expressions and phrases that we would encounter on a daily basis in conversations in the target language.
Plus, since listening to music is an entertaining and emotionally rewarding experience, we are much more likely to remember language from songs than if we were reading boring texts about uninteresting topics.
I mean, didn’t we learn our own alphabet through music when we were children?
So, what are the best songs to learn Tamil? We have tried to come up with an eclectic list so that, no matter what kind of music you’re into, there will be something for you in it.
Disclaimer: We have used Latin script throughout the article to make sure that the characters are rendered correctly by all browsers.
Tamil Songs for Beginners
Stephen Zechariah ft. Srinisha – “Adi Penne”
The Tamil TV series Naam presents a group of six mismatched characters who connect through music. “Adi Penne” is one of the unique songs that you can hear in the show. It’s a soaring, dramatic melody masterfully sung by actors Stephen Zechariah and Srinisha.
Unlike “Enjoy Enjaami”, this song has a slow tempo and simple lyrics full of repetitions, which makes it great for beginners.
Adi penne oru murai nee sirithal
Smile once in a while, girl
En nenjin kulle mazhai adikkum
Can’t you see it’s raining in my heart?
Dhanush & Dhee – “Rowdy Baby”
“Rowdy Baby” is the main single from the 2018 comedy film Maari 2. A few hours after its release, the song became viral and it eventually broke streaming records. It is currently one of the most-viewed Tamil language songs of all time.
Musically, according to Karthik Srinivasan, it has an interesting African-style guitar riff and some great funky vocals. Its catchy and simple tune makes this song ideal for beginners. As you can see, the lyrics are also quite simple:
Hey, My Dear Rani, En Dream La Vaa Nee
My beautiful princess, you rock my dreams,
Namma ønna Seraa, Fire Pathikkiruchaa
Every time we are together, it’s fireworks.
Silambarasan – “Mangalyam”
Eeswaran is a 2021 Tamil-language action film about a man whose simple and happy life turns into a nightmare after an astrologist offers him a cryptic prediction. Though the movie itself was a flop, its main song was an instant hit.
Full of joyous beats, traditional instruments and vibrant vocals, “Mangalyam” is a great song to both sing along and dance to. And if you want to learn Tamil grammar through music, this is a great song to revise imperatives!
Chellakutty Rasathi Poradhenna Soodethi
My sweet princess, don’t leave me on my own.
Kanne Un Kadhal Kadhava Vaikkadha Sathi
Dearest, don’t stop me from loving you.
Vellaikatti Nee Athi Vekkamennu Yemathi
My sweet candy, don’t pretend to be shy
Tamil Songs for Intermediate Learners
Shreya Ghosal and Naresh Iyer – “Munbe Vaa”
In the 90s, there was “I Will Always Love You”, by Whitney Houston. In the 2010s, there was “All of Me”, by John Legend. Every decade, a hit song comes along that becomes the anthem for all the people in love out there.
The romantic duet “Munbe Vaa” has done something similar for Tamil speakers. With direct, romantic lyrics, and a pair of great voices, this one is the perfect song to learn Tamil if you’re in the mood for love. Sing along and learn a few phrases!
Munbe Vaa En Anbe Vaa
Come in front of me, O my darling!
Poo Poovai Poopom Vaa
Let’s blossom as flowers in the garden of love.
Naa Naanaa Ketten Yennai Naane
I asked my heart “Who am I?”
Naan Neeya Nenjam Sonnathe
It replied that I’m yours.
KJ Yesudas – “En Iniya Pon Nilavae”
This 1980’s song boasts some of the most exquisite lyrics you will find in any language. Penned by Gangai Amaran and beautifully performed by KJ Yesudas, this ballad is about a man in love who delights in the wonders of natural beauty. As if he’d just been born into the world, he observes life unfold around him in awe.
Though the song has rich and complex vocabulary, the grammar is fairly simple, sticking to present tenses. Besides, the way in which the singer seems to pause after every word makes it quite easy to sing along.
Thaneerai toovum mazhai
The raindrops that sprinkle the water
Sillendra kaatrin alai
along with the cool waves of breeze
dance together now
En nenjil ennenavoo
My heart is in awe
Vannangal aadum nilai
witnessing crazy colours dance around
Tamil Songs for Advanced Learners
Dhee ft. Arivu – “Enjoy Enjaami”
If you’re a fan of the Spanish singer La Rosalía, you’re up for a treat with Dhee’s debut single. This Sri Lankan singer has paid a beautiful homage to Tamil culture with a pop anthem with elements of hip hop and oppari, a traditional music style of Tamil Nadu.
With this song, you can learn a lot about the Tamil civilisation and its natural resources, as well as vocabulary related to animals and the natural world.
Cuckoo Cuckoo Tha-tha Tha-tha Kala Vetti,
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Grandpa is weeding out the land.
Cuckoo Cuckoo Pond Hula Yaru Meen Kothi,
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Who’s in the tree hole? It’s the kingfisher.
Cuckoo Cuckoo Than Niyil Odum Thava laikki,
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! A frog is swimming in the river.
Silambarasan – “Yaaraiyum Ivlo Azhaga”
By now, it’s clear that some of the best Tamil songs out there belong to the soundtracks of popular movies. Sulthan is a drama film about a motherless child who is raised by a group of criminals but grows up to despise violence and find true love. “Yaaraiyum Ivlo Azhaga”, the hit song from the film, is just as exciting as the plot of the movie.
Also, if you want to learn Tamil grammar through music, this one is a great choice as it features a lot of tenses, including phrases in the past, present and future. Check some of these in the lines below:
Hey Yaraiyum Ivlo Azhaga Parkala
I have never seen beauty like this
Unnai Pol Evalum Usura Thakkala
No one has ever touched my soul the way you have.
Kadhula Vera Edhuvum Kekkala
Love has clouded me and left me deaf.
Galithan Anen Pora Pokkula
I’ll be entranced if I keep like this
Why Learn Tamil With Tamil songs?
Do you want to learn Tamil in a way that feels meaningful and fun? Here are four reasons why learning languages through music is a great idea.
1. Music Helps You Memorise Bits of Language
Surely, you had a cool language teacher at high school who brought great songs into the classroom so that everyone could sing along? Actually, it’s likely you still remember some of those songs. That’s because musical notes stay in your head in a way that spoken language doesn’t. Plus, by listening to Tamil songs over and over, you might even end up learning them by heart.
2. Singing Improves Pronunciation
Studying grammar rules and vocabulary is great, but will you learn Tamil pronunciation if you don’t get real exposure to the sounds of the language? Singing along with Tamil songs is a wonderful opportunity to mimic the sounds of words that you can then use in all kinds of conversations.
3. Tamil Songs Provide Practice Anytime, Anywhere
The great thing about learning with Tamil songs is that you can carry them with you wherever you go. Whether you’re commuting, taking a shower, or eating lunch at work, you can get extra practice even on a busy day.
Want to go beyond Tamil songs and learn Tamil in-depth? Contact us now and we’ll pair you up with a Tamil teacher. Whether you go opt for group lessons or one-to-one sessions, we’ll make sure you get a personalised plan based on your interests, current skills and learning style.