Tuesday, 5 February 2008

ILaiyaraaja-The Guiding Force!

I wonder how many of you noticed the rainbow last evening? It was just over the water, and one came upon it suddenly. It was a beautiful thing to behold , and it gave one a great sense of joy, an awareness of the vastness and the beauty of the earth.To communicate such joy one must have a knowledge of words, the rhythm and beauty of right language, mustn’t one? But what is more important is the feeling itself, the ecstacy that comes with the deep appreciation of something lovely; and this feeling cannot be awakened by the mere cultivation of knowledge or memory.”

These are the words of one of the greatest thinkers of 20th Century-J Krishnamurthi.

It conveys many meanings and I was reminded of this quote when I listened to one of the greatest compositions.

I shall come to that later but I feel what has been said by JK applies to Music as well. Mere knowledge is not enough to appreciate Music. What is important is the feeling itself .Any analysis devoid of the sense of ecstasy is like a beautiful body without soul.

In the recent past , many of my friends have been telling me that they consider their lack of knowledge of Classical Music a weakness and a kind of a stumbling block. But it is my strong belief that if one is able to appreciate the inherent beauty, other things like understanding the nuances happen naturally.

In fact this is much better than being an ‘expert’ in the theory of Music which gives some people a self –assumed halo and in the process stopping them from having an open mind to appreciate finer elements!

Now coming back to the composition that reminded me of JK’s Quote.

Shankarabharanam is one of the most versatile Ragams. One can find this Ragam in Folk Music, in Tamizh Pan(called as Pazham Pancharam),in Hindustani Music-as Bilaval- and in Western Major Scale.

Carnatic Music is replete with compositions in this Ragam.

Muthuswami Dikshithar-one of the Trinity- was a perfectionist.He composed Keertanams in Hindustani Ragas after learning Hindustani Music.

He also learnt the basics of Western Music from his brother Balu Dikshithar–who introduced Violin to Indian Classical Music- and composed some Keertanams in Western Classical style.All these compositions follow the Major Scale. ’Shyamale Meenakshi..’ ‘Sakthi Sahitha Ganapathim’ are some of the examples.

ILaiyaraaja who has a firm grasp of all forms of Music has given us (and continues to give) countless gems .His Music acquires Kaleidoscopic Dimensions mesmerizing and bewitching Listeners.

One of his more recent compositions is stunning and is sitting transfixed in me. In the limitless world of Music , this composition is unique simply because it combines all major forms of Music.It proves the fact that Music is the same irrespective of the form it acquires.

‘Kaattu Vazhi Kaal Nadaiya Pora Thambi’ from the film ‘Adhu Oru Kanaa Kaalam ‘ is like the Rainbow JK saw.

The composition is based on Shankarabharanam.

It is rendered in a Tamizh Folk Style.The interludes sound Western Classical(somehow I get a feeling of Four Seasons by Vivaldi though there is a lot of difference!) and European Folk.

Is it an amalgam , a blend or a juxtaposition ?

I feel it is something more than all these…

It is simply Divine!

It has an elusive fragrance of a Rain Washed Breeze.

The composition penned by the Maestro teaches the Philosophy of Life in a matter of four Minutes.Rendered in a Base Voice(called as Manthra Sthayi), it is a continuous probing of unseen layers.As the composition unfolds, one by one do the layers peel….

We feel that we are desolate in an alien land caught in a Quagmire longing for somebody to guide us. Suddenly we hear a Marble like voice and we discover that this is our Guiding Force.

The Voice says

‘‘Reach your Destination before it is too late.
Watch your Steps.. .
On the Way, You will Discover and Learn New Things ...
If you are Focused, Future is yours’’

Amidst the Rustle, Hissing and Crackling sounds in our Journey, we see a Clear Stream of Water …

And the Voice continues,

‘’Life is like the endless Stream of River-the banks are your Faith.
Let it run Ceaselessly..
If there is a block, open it.
Remember!Time is like the River.
One moment you see the Wave.. the next moment ..it vanishes..’’

As we Swirl and Twirl , the Voice Continues,

‘‘You have a Dream and See your Dreamgirl,
She Promises To Be With You Forever,
You Wake Up only To Find That These were Just Your Thoughts
Life is Neither a Dream nor Thoughts
Life Is The Truth!’’

The brilliant use of the Swaras Pa Dha Sa repeatedly and the simple but quaint Orchestration handled with Dexterity and Finesse gel very well with the theme...

I have never come across such a composition where the Tune symbolizes World Music and the Lyrics Symbolise our Life!!

Do we need to worry about Life as long as his Music is the Guiding Spirit?


Sangeetha said...

"In fact this is much better than being an ‘expert’ in the theory of Music which gives some people a self –assumed halo and in the process stopping them from having an open mind to appreciate finer elements!"- So well said. I have usually seen that when one is too much into the dissection and bisection of ragams and swara prayogams, you don't usually end up feeling the music. It kind of becomes another exercise.

Mr. Raj you write so well (probably because of the intensity of your feelings) that you keep me reading your entries for hours till I realize too late that my time is up.

Raj said...

Thanks so much Sangeeta..

My objective is to create awareness about 1.Indian Classical Music,2.Music of the great Genius
3.Our rich literature..

With support and encouragement from friends like you, I am sure I can get closer to achieving my ambition and objectives..

Sangeetha said...

Thanks for sending the song accross.
"Is it an amalgam , a blend or a juxtaposition ?I feel it is something more than all these…
It is simply Divine!It has an elusive fragrance of a Rain Washed Breeze." - You really got quite close, closest to what is possible in capturing the feel."Rain washed breeze"- chellamaga varudichellum eera katru, I love that.

Did you also notice the takita-takita-thaka beat, simple and repititive and mesmerising , kind of like simple sufi music.
pp, dns, pmg, mpd, mgr, m,gr g,s,-these notes in the orchestration remind me of some western composition . Cant place it right now.
Dosen't the blogger allow you to attach audio files to your posts? If you added one for the posts, it would be so much easier for the readers.

Vasu said...

Hi boss,
There is a song composed by illayaraja on Kollur Mookambika Devi..."Ennakoru Annai Padaithanal Ennai...". Could you please let me know the actual title of the album?
Thanks v. much!

Anonymous said...

good god! who are you. and why do you not have a mail id on your profile?

Raj said...

Who am I?I have given a detailed description about myself in the profile page.

I grew up with his music and therefore his music has become part and parcel of my system.

Please let me know who you are..

Anonymous said...

awed. someone who passed by, reading and re-reading and getting the songs you've mentioned. someone very new to this.

Raj said...

That is nice to hear.Please read all my posts and give your feedback.

Let me also know in case you require any song...

Anonymous said...

awesome. ok to have your mail id?

Raj said...

Ok if you could also send yours...