Monday, 15 September 2008

ILaiyaraaja-The Mystic!

Saint Thyagaraja saw the Almighty in all living and non-living things.

In his ‘Paramaarthudu Velige’-a Kriti set in Vaagatheeswari Ragam, he says ‘The Almighty is present in the Five Elements, in Animals, in Birds, in the Trees, in Good Things as well as Bad Things and in all Human Beings.

‘Gaganaa Nila Tejo Jala Bhoomayamagu
Mruga,Gaga,Naka,Tharu Kodulalo
Sagunamulo Vigunamulo Sathathamu
Sadhu Thyagarajathi Achrithulalo’.

He also saw Music in everything and strongly believed that one can attain divinity through Music.

Nothing can exemplify this than his Life itself.

He lived like an ascetic and was so steeped in Music that it was his way of life. He was well versed with all the nuances of Music and his compositions act as a reference in the Theory of Carnatic Music itself. His compositions stand out for their Mystic appeal.

ILaiyaraaja like Thyagaraja leads an ascetic life. He is focused on Truth, Goodness and Beauty. He is well versed with all Music Forms, has a deep understanding of Music and is adept in new techniques. Integrating essentials with expressiveness, he brings out the subtleties and contrast.

And yes…his compositions have a Mystic Appeal that cannot be explained very easily.

Today, we are going to see a composition, which according to me is a Marvel.

It is a colourful portrait awash with the colours of the Swaras and it glows with the Imagery he has created.

The Composition is ‘KaNgaLukkuLUnnai Ezhuthu’ from the Film ‘Thanthu Vittaen Ennai’.

There is a very interesting story behind this.

I listened to this song for the first time in FM radio last year(nearly 15 years after the release)and was mesmerized the moment I heard this song..

The pallavi sounded like Raga Gunkali, a Hindustani Raga whose structure is sa ri1 ma1 pa dha1 Sa/Sa dha1 pa ma1 ri1 Sa.

Later on, I realized that the ‘pa’ is totally absent.
The absence of ‘pa’ makes this a Raga with just 4 swaras, Lavangi invented by Dr.Balamuralikrishna .

Let us now turn our attention to the composition.

The prelude of ‘KaNgaLukkuL’ itself is mesmerizing with the Flute sounding like the chirping of Birds - a covey of birds.

Then we hear the alluring voice of Janaki.

The pallavi is a wonderful construction with just four swaras.

In the interlude, the Violins brim with energy , the Strings play as the Flute Careens the astonishingly beautiful sound of the Trumpets.

Suddenly, there is a twist. The Trumpet ends in ‘ri’ and keeping this as the base ‘sa’, Janaki sings ‘KaNgaLil..’

It is now an entirely different Raaga-Mandaari!

We have already seen the concept of Gruha bedam in ‘Vaidegi Raman’

This concept is different from Raaga Maalika where only the Swaras are changed while the Shruti remains the same.

In Gruha Bedam, one of the swaras is taken as the base(in this case, it is ‘ri’) and it becomes a different Raaga. Maestro is a Master in this and as far as I know no Film Music composer has tried out this concept.

The way he executes this also needs a special mention.

In ‘Vaidegi Raman’, we saw as to how he used only 5 swaras. Kalyani became Todi but by using just the 5 swaras of Todi, he gave Hindolam, a pentatonic raga.

In ‘KaNgaLukkuL’,he does the opposite.The 4 swara Lavangi becomes the 6 swara Mandari.

Mandari ‘s structure is sa ri1 ga3 ma2 pa ni3 Sa/Sa ni3 pa ma2 ri1 sa.

Since the gruha bedam takes place from the ‘ri’ of Lavangi, logically the new structure should have been sa ga3 pa ni3 Sa/Sa ni3 pa ga3 sa. But the Master adds 2 more swaras to this –‘ri’ and ‘ma’-and makes it Mandaari ragam.

Creativity at its best!

The Charanam is like the sky in a lovely blend of Blue, White, and Grey with the Hills in unthinkable shades of Green and Blue and there….we also see the Sea in Sapphire Blue glistening in the Golden Rays of Sun..

We suddenly feel the sky descending to converse with the Sea as the line ‘Eninintha Mayakkam Enintha Thayakkam..’is rendered as Mandaari changes to Lavangi again.

It is like the chilling pure air moving audibly into our lungs!

In the second interlude, the Flute sounds like the burst of Ivy in an uninhibited riot of colours as the Swaras whirl.

It is then an incredible combination of Power and Elegance as the Strings and Violins join and the magic happens again towards the end ….the Raaga changes to Mandari.

The Magic is repeated in the second Charanam.

The Maestro gives a mélange of two different Raagas niftily and brilliantly without in anyway sounding jarring.

It is a Grand Spectacle with Aesthetic Content at the same time giving us a sense of Tranquility.

செவிகளுக்குள் அவரது இசையினை எழுதி விட்டால் நமக்கு பேரானந்தமும் சாந்தியும் தான்.

When his Music enters our ears, don’t we attain the Blissful and Tranquil State?

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Lalithakshara said...

"The Flute sounds like the burst of Ivy in an uninhibited riot of colours as the Swaras whirl"

Just this line can speak pages on how much you've enjoyed listening to this song!

Music: Every bit of it is BLISS

Thankz for taking efforts to make us understand what we unconsciously enjoy!

dhileep said...

Good posts,I like the intensity of your raaja appreciation, As a fellow fan, bordering on fanatic, I thought you will find the following link interesting.

Srini said...

Great one!! Do you have an MP3 of this song? I tried on cooltoad and a couple of other sites but cudn't get it. pl lemme know

Raj said...

Thanks Dhileep.That blog is very interesting...
If you are a memeber of Orkut,you could go thru my posts in ILaiyaraja-The Master Community.

Raj said...

Yes Srini!
I do have the song with me.Can I have your mail id?

sangeethas said...

Came in to check why so much of the traffic is flowing from my blog into this one... Good to see this is being kept live too!
Always interesting to read yet another time...