Wednesday, 20 February 2008

ILaiyaraaja-The Beautiful Musician!

Thithath thaththath Thithath thithithaathai thaathathuth thithath thitha
Thithath thaththath Thithath Thithithitha Thethuthu Thithi thatha
Thithath thaththath Thithathai Thaathathi Thethuthai Thaathathathu
Thithath thaththath Thithithi TheeThee Thithithuthi Thee Thothathe.

திதத்தத்தத் தித்தத் திதிதாதை தாததுத் தித்தத்திதா
திதத்தத்தத் தித்தத் திதித்தித்த தேதுத்து தித்திதத்தா
திதத்தத்தத் தித்தத்தை தாததி தேதுதை தாததத்து
திதத்தத்தத் தித்தித்தி தீதீ திதிதுதி தீ தொத்ததே

Let me tell you that this is not the Morse- Code or any other Telegraphic code. Nor is it the language of Martians.

This is a verse from ‘Kandar Anthaathi’ written by the 16th Century Tamizh Poet Arunagirinathar.

Arunagirinathar has given us 9 gems including the popular work Tiruppugazh , Kandar Alangaram, Kandar Anubhoothi etc.,

He had an amazing knowledge of Music –especially the Talas-and it is said that he composed verses in all the 108 Talas.

His verses eulogized Lord Muruga. But they cannot be simply brushed aside as Bhakthi Literature because the lyrical values and the musical values are quite unmatched.

Take the aforementioned verse for example.

It gives a Tala Pattern but within that it also says

’’Lord Muruga!You are worshipped by the Dancing Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. Please remind me to worship you even when the Fire destroys my physical body full of Bones and Flesh .’’

That is the beauty of the language.

That is the beauty of Music as well.

Incidentally, Murugu in Tamizh means Beautiful.

While talking about such great people like Arunagirinathar, I am reminded of ILaiyaraaja.

With his immense knowledge in World Music, and his boundless Creativity, he has given us beautiful compositions.

He has also used many Ragas and Talas and their different patterns.

His compositions have a Mystic Quality. We are surrounded by the Compositions and get entangled by them.

Today we are going to see a Composition that is based on a Raga called ‘Shanmukhapriya’.

The word ‘Shanmukha’ refers to Muruga since it is believed that he has six faces.

Shanmukhapriya is the 56th Melakartha and is the Prathimadhyama Raga of Natabhairavi. This Raga is also known by the name Chaamaram.

ILaiyaraaja has used this Raga widely in Films as well as in his Non-Film Albums like ‘How To Name It’ and ‘Thiruvaachakam’.

He used it for the first time in ‘Tham Thananam Thana Talam Varum’(Puthiya Vaarpugal).

The Composition follows a lovely pattern and it moves like the Waves.

There is a very interesting story behind this. During the composing session, Bharathiraaja was not too happy with the various tunes given by Illaiyaraaja.

They shut down everything, went to the Beach and spent the whole night talking about their Childhood and other happenings in their life. After this Nostalgic Trip, they went back to the composing session and ‘Tham Thanan Nam’was born.

Creativity blossoms when the mind is uncluttered, when we become Children again and when we spend time with the Nature.

Does one need any other proof for this?

The ‘Wavy Pattern’ in the song could also be because of the Sea seen by Raja.

Veena is a lovely instrument and the playing of what is called as ‘Thaanam’ in Carnatic Music on Veena is very pleasing to our ears.

The Composition starts with the Veena speaking to us. The Chorus appears from nowhere and it is like the Low Tide becoming a High Tide!

The Cohesive Design of the Pallavi gives us the essence of Shanmukhapriya.

It is stacked with the Main Swaras of the Raga and we are drenched by the waves of these Swaras.

The Violin Orchestra in Western Style and the Bass work in the interlude look like the Spume from the Sea.

And it is a Lullaby as the chorus sings ‘Thanana Thana Laali..’ followed by the Flute giving Ripples of Melody. The Chiming of the Bells gives a divine feeling.

The Charanams teem with beauty as one phrase after another moves like waves unequivocally telling us that it is Shanmukhapriya in full flow.

The lines glide and curve making us float on the waves.

The Tenacious Veena and the Chorus appearing in between the lines gently make us sway.

The use of the Traditional Instrument, Jalatharangam -which is played with water cups-is exquisite and makes us go underwater.

The Resplendent Veena takes over followed by the Chorus Voice and we spin around in a circle.

The Western Movement in Violin Orchestra is amazing as we traverse the Sea.

The prolonged Sojourn is Gentle, Feathery, Vibrant, and Breezy.

We hear new melodies, new expressions and feel the aroma and new flavours in his Music!

புது ராகம் வரும் பல பாவம் வரும் அதில் சந்தன மல்லிகை வாசம் வரும்...

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