Friday, 28 November 2008

ILaiyaraaja-Nation's Pride!

‘Our True Nationality is mankind’ said H.G.Wells.

‘Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first’ said Charles de Gaulle.

What is this ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’ all about?

In this modern fast paced world, do we really care for the nation?Do we really care for the mankind?Do we care for anything at all??

Let us first see what the Nation means to most of us.Though we have a tendency to criticize and at times even abuse our nation, we all stand united whenever there is a crisis..and whenever there is Cricket match!

Sounds strange?

Yes..But most of the facts are strange..

Is it not a fact that most of us have prayed-and continue to pray- (even if we are non-believers) whenever there is an interesting match involving India?

And when the Team wins, don’t we celebrate it in a big way?
We hardly look at the caste or religion of these national heroes.What matters is they are Indians and that they play for our country!

They are the pride of our Nation!

In a similar vein, whenever there is a national calamity, our hearts bleed. We are concerned about our people-our own people, our own brothers and sisters!

The last 48 hours have been traumatic for all of us and we wish that the ordeal comes to an end very soon.

As Subramaniya Bharati said,

‘There are many castes and divisions here.Though we fight among ourselves, are we not brothers born to the same Mother ?’

ஆயிரம் உண்டிங்கு ஜாதி எனில்
அன்னியர் வந்திங்கு புகல் என்ன நீதி?ஓர்
தாயின் வயிற்றில் பிறந்தோர் நம்முள்
சண்டை செய்தாலும் சகோதரர் அன்றோ!

He also sang,

‘We all belong to the same creed. We are all part of the same clan…We are all citizens of India!’

எல்லோரும் ஓர் குலம்; எல்லோரும் ஓர் இனம்.
எல்லோரும் இந்திய மக்கள்!

At a time when the entire nation is looking at Mumbai and praying for the welfare of all the people in the city, it is also imperative that we do not let our emotions take control of heads.

Be a patriot but not a ‘nationalist’.

Condemn terrorism and not a particular religion just because the terrorists owe allegiance to that religion.

Vow not to fall a pray to the machinations of our great political leaders and ‘cultural nationalists’ who enjoy giving colour to everything (because their eyes are already jaundiced).

Let us spread Love and not hatred.

Let us realise that terrorism and terrorist sleep within us and it just takes a moment of madness for these to wake up, assume gigantic proportions and become a Monster.

That brings me to the subject that is very close to everybody’s hearts.


It is the unifying force..It is the omnipotent force..

It calms our nerves..It makes us think positive..

It makes us mellow..It makes us love others..

Many musicians have made our country proud.

The Gentleman from a remotest village in Tamizh Nadu has been giving music that mellows us; that melts us ; that makes forget ourselves ; that makes us love others.

Musicians across the globe have poured encomiums on him. People in the world have saluted him. He was the first Asian to compose a symphony for the Royal Philharmonic. The world famous Budapest Orchestra played for him.

Paul Mauriot, a very famous composer from France remarked ‘This is something different and wonderful’ after listening to ‘How to Name it’.

Alexander, another famous conductor of a Symphony Orchestra was enthralled when he listened to ‘Etho Mogam’(Kozhi Koovuthu) and said ‘This is not Indian Music.This is International Music’.

Is he not our national pride?

The song for today is also based on a Raga that literally means the Nation.
It is Raag Desh.

It is a Hindustani raga and is capable of melting anybody(including the terrorists).

Interestingly, Bankim Chand Chatterjee’s Vande Maataram is also set in Raag Desh!

Desh’s structure is
Sa ri2 ma1 pa ni3 Sa/Sa ni2 dha2 pa ma1 ga3 ri2 ga3 ni3 sa.

Like most of the Hindustani Raags, it uses alien swara(ni3) in this case.In Carnatic music parlance, such ragas are called as Bhashanga Ragas.

The main prayogas(called as ‘pakad’) in the Raga are ‘ri ma pa’ ‘ni dha pa’ ‘ma ga ri’ ‘ga sa’.

In the Hindustani system, we also have Vaadi and Samvaadi swaras-the sonant-consonant pair of notes.While the Vaadi swar is the most important note, the Samvaadi is the second most important and significant note.

In Desh, the Vaadi swar is ‘ri’ and the Samvaadi, ‘pa’.

Let us have a look at the composition.

It is ‘Vizhiyil Pudu Kavithai Padiththen’ from ‘Theerthakaraiyinile’(1987).

The Satin like softness of the Desh is personified by the Shehnai and we close our eyes involuntarily.The gentle breeze kisses us as we listen to the strings, and violins.

The very short piece in the flute says it all!

Again a word or two about Laya Raja.

I have been talking about his sense of Tala(rhythm) time and again in this Blog.What makes his compositions unique and great is this.It follows a structure even when there is no percussion instrument.

This prelude is no exception!

The five-beat khanta pattern adds to the beauty of the composition.

The Pallavi has a sense of freshness-typical of the Raag- and at the same time is very vibrant.

The tenderness continues in the first interlude as the chorus sings.The Flute plays with precision while the string emerges subtly but powerfully.

The CharaNam shows us the endearing features of the raga as the sangatis flow.The structure is also interesting as it becomes a kind of question and answer session between the male and the female voices(Samvaadi and Vaadi?).

The chorus embellishes the CharaNam.

The second interlude also follows an excellent pattern.

The Chitra Veena plays the same swaras as the one rendered by the chorus in the first interlude. The Tabla replies exquisitely.The Flute dazzles ,the bass guitar smiles and the strings sparkle.

It is intensively detailed and effectively punctuated with the beautiful swaras.

We see a clear natural stream.

We see the iridescent hues of the Raga.

Musically Musical!

Niches of quietude!!

Desh- a beautiful serene raga..our Nation.
ILaiyaraaja-the brilliant refined musician.. our pride!

விரலில் புது கீதம் படைப்பார்.
செவியிரண்டில் அமுதம் இசைப்பார்.

He gives us new music that flows like nectar.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

ILaiyaraaja-Musician par Excellence!

‘Love my enemy Oh!
‘Love my enemy.’

Sounds odd?

These are the words of the great Subramania Bharati.

Addressing this to his mind, he goes on to say ‘Don’t we see the shining flame amidst the darkening flame? The Lord lives in all the souls.. yes in my enemy’s soul as well..?’

பகைவனுக்கருள்வாய் நன்னெஞ்சே!

புகை நடுவினில் தீயிருப்பதை பூமியிற் கண்டோமே
நன்னெஞ்சே பூமியிற் கண்டோமே!
பகை நடுவினில் அன்புருவான நம் பரமன் வாழ்கின்றான் நன்னெஞ்சே
பரமன் வாழ்கின்றான்!

Now, how many of us can even think on such lines leave alone write a poem?

There are lots of philosophical overtones in the poem but the simple thing that strikes me is the nature of the mind.

After all, there is only one mind. And we get positive and negative thoughts from the same mind.


Are we the mind? Or is mind different from us?

Anyway, without getting too philosophical, let us all accept the fact that there is positive in negative and negative in positive!

Going back to the ‘enemy factor’, it will surprise some of you if I say that in Carnatic Music too there is something called ‘enemy’.

No.. I am not talking about people who smirk and frown on just hearing the word classical/carnatic Music.

I am talking about what are called as the Vivadi Swaras.

There are 12 swaras in all-two variants of ri,ga ma,dha,ni with sa and pa having no variants.

These 12 swaras or notes are part of any Music.

Each swara has its own position-called as swarasthana-and has its own shruti value.

Though the Mela system of ragas was first invented in 1550 by Raamamaatya,it was Venkatamakhi who revolutionized the system by introducing a new concept in the 17th century.

He introduced a third variant of ‘ri’,’ga,’dha’‘ni’.

This third variant is called the vivadi swara.
Vivadi means dissonance-as opposed to Vadi/Samvadi.

Why is it dissonant and why was it introduced?

It is dissonant because it is very close to the other swara in terms of the Shruti value thereby producing a rather different sound.

Now using all these three variants, Venkatamakhi propounded the 72 Raga Melakartha system.

Vivadi was introduced to make the already beautiful Music more beautiful and more systematic.

‘Make the enemy your friend by loving him..’

Bharthiyar and Venkatamakhi-Can we miss the similarity?

I cannot think of any other form of music that is as systematized as Carnatic Music.

Though in the Hindustani system, it is common to use the two variants of a particular swara in some(many) ragas, the Shruthi value does not change and therefore they are not vivadi swaras.

The 72 Ragas are divided into 12 groups-called as Chakras-each group consisting of 6 ragas.

Out of these, 40 are Vivadi Ragas(majority in the assembly!)

Let us also understand that the third variant of the 4 swaras is not new. It is already existing in some other name but with a reduced Shruti value.

Just to quote an example, in the first Melakartha, Kanakangi(Raga of ‘Mogam Ennum’..) the first ‘ri’ is followed by the second ‘ri’.The second ‘ri’ is sung as ‘ga’(ga1).Similarly, the first ‘dha’(d1)is followed by the second ‘dha’, but is sung as ni(ni1).


The Shruthi values are different and therefore the swaras sound different.

‘Make the enemy your friend by loving him..
There is fire behind the smoke’

Bharati and Venkatamakhi-Can we miss the similarity?

Well, why am I discussing these things?

Three reasons.

One-As fans of the Maestro, I thought it is essential for all of us to understand some basic concepts in music.

Two-Raaja sir is the only film music composer to have used many vivadi ragas.

Three-Today’s composition is based on a beautiful Vivadi Raga.

I also see lot of similarities between Venkatamakhi, Bharati and ILaiyaraaja.

Multi dimensional, Revolutionising an existing system, Innovative approach, Intelligence..

Mathematics, Poetry, Music.

Three different personalities, three different eras ..

That is the beauty of life!

I was mentioning that today’s composition is based on a Vivadi Raga.The composition is ‘Sangeetham en Degamandro..’ from Bala Nagamma(1981).

It is based on Chitrambari-the 66th Melakartha.

It is next to Kalyani in the Melakartha system and only the Vivadi swara-Shatshruti Dha-separates the two.

The structure is

sa ri2 ga3 ma2 pa dha3 ni3 Sa
Sa ni3 dha3 pa ma2 ga3 ri2 sa.

ILaiyaraaja is the only film music composer to have used this Raga.

As a matter of fact, except for a composition by Koteeswara Iyer-who has composed in all the 72 melakartha ragas-there is no other known composition in this Raga.

‘Sangeetham..’ starts with the melodious Veena.The sedate atmosphere continues as the music from the violins blossom like a flower...

Suddenly, Chitrambari is borne forward by the fascinating Flute.
As the prelude reaches its climax, we see the beauty of the raga that is adorned by pretty robe and ornaments..

We now hear the honey soaked voice of Vani Jeyaram.

The pallavi flows with lucidity showing us the grandeur of the Raga.
‘Aalilai meloru noolidai megalai..’and ‘Isai Ezhaga..’ use only the normal swaras giving us a Kalyani flavour.

In the first interlude, the Veena is serene and sparkling and the violins bend gracefully. The flute spins a web around us. The Veena now plays the Vivadi swara in combination with other swaras and we spin with it.

The Charanam gives us the subtle shades and the nuances of the Raga.
It moves like a breeze gently caressing us.

Is our thirst quenched with the sangathis?

No..we want more of the Raga..

And we get this in the second interlude.

It is suffused with the colours of the Swaras.

It is a cascade..

It capers about with ecstasy..

It runs around..

It dances..

It prances..

The clarity, grasp, emphasis and laya control is amazing..

This is what is called Tempestuous Virtuosity!

The composition is filled with linear motif.

It decants the essence of the beautiful Vivadi Raga.

It is dazzling and vibrant..

It transports us to a spiritually elevated level..

Raaja’s body is Music, his heart his music, his Mind is Music, his breath is music his soul is music..

சங்கீதம் அவர் தேகம் அன்றோ.. அவர் இதயம் அன்றோ..அவர் மனம் அன்றோ..அவர் மூச்சு அன்றோ..அவர் உயிர் அன்றோ..
" name="movie">">>

Sunday, 23 November 2008

ILaiyaraaja-The Divine Musician!

Saint Thyagaraja says to Rama,

‘You are my light; you are the beautiful smell.
You are the crux of my Life’.

‘Naa Jeevadhara Naa Nomu palama,
Naa Joopu Prakasamu, Naa Nasika Parimalama..’

In another Krithi, he says,

‘Can anything be more blissful than being with you?
Dancing and singing about you is more than enough for me’

‘Inthakanna Aanandamemi O Rama Rama!
Aaduchu Naadamuna Paaduchu Ethutara Veduchu Manasuna Koodiyundutta Chaalu’.

Thyagaraja saw the Almighty everywhere.

To him, Music and Rama was everything and he strongly believed that Music is the vehicle to attain Divinity.

I am reminded of Subramania Bharathi who sang ‘I see you in the feathers of the Crow.I see you in the Greenery.’He even went on to sing that when he touched the fire, he felt the pleasure of touching the God.

Only people who are divine are able to produce such divine words and works.

That is why, Thyagaraja’s compositions are still alive after more than 150 years.
Bharathi ‘s works are relevant after nearly 100 years.

In a similar vein, ILaiyaraaja, who sees Music, feels Music, breathes Music, and gives Music is a Divine personality. Like Thyagaraja, he believes in Naadopaasana.

Not many people know that during Dasserah(Navarathri), he invites great Carnatic Musicians to perform in his house.

All the Musicians enjoy their concerts there because of the Divine Experience they get.

Today, we are going to see another divine composition of his that is based on a beautiful and a Majestic Ragam.

The Ragam is Bilahari.

The two Thyagaraja Krithis quoted in the beginning are also in Bilahari.

Bilahari has 5 Swaras in the Aarohanam and all the 7 in the Avarohanam.

This kind of a structure is called as ‘Oudava Sampoornam’-‘oudava’ meaning 5 and ‘sampoornam’ meaning complete.

The structure of Bilahari is

Arohanam: sa ri2 ga3 pa dha2 Sa
Avarohanam:Sa ni3 dha2 pa ma1 ga3 ri2 sa.

The Arohanam is the same as that of Mohanam.

Bilahari is also the Sudhha Madhyama counterpart of ‘Mohana Kalyani’ another beautiful Ragam.

As per some texts, there is a sparing use of the other ‘ni’(kaisiki) in Bilahari.

Singing or listening to this Ragam makes one very fresh. It wakes us up from the slumber making us shed our laziness.

No doubt, Bilahari is also considered to be a Morning ragam

There is a very interesting story behind the composition we are going to discuss today.

Raja sir and his Guru TVG sir were in Kollur in Karnataka, the place where Mookambika temple is located. They were in a cottage when suddenly they heard the chime of the temple bell. It sounded like the ‘ri’ to TVG sir while it sounded like the ‘ga’ to Raja sir.

Sa ri ga ..

And this was enough to trigger a conversation between the two Maestros. The topic was on Bilahari ragam and they went on and on discussing the beauty of this Ragam.

Within a week of returning to Madras, TVG sir received a call from his disciple requesting him to visit the Recording Studio.

The Disciple played this song and the Guru was spellbound.

With tears rolling down the cheeks, the Guru told the Sishya that he had never listened to anything better than this in Film Music..

In Indian Classical Arts, Guru occupies a very special place and it is said that whatever be the talents, one cannot shine unless one has the blessings of the Guru.

Raja sir has the blessings of all his Gurus.
That is why his Music sounds so divine despite being in a commercial set up like Films.

Let us now turn our attention on the composition that rendered his Guru speechless.

It is ‘Koonthalile..’ from ‘Bala Nagamma’(1982).

The opening itself is beautiful.

As one hears the ascending notes, the Lady voice (Sasirekha) hums and Violin plays with lilting grace.

The Pallavi starts with the silky smooth voice of Yesudass.

There is a unique delicacy in the structure.The first line moves in the normal pace while the second line has short pauses in between making it look majestic.

It is Rounded Mellowness as Yesudass sings the ‘Koonthalile..’ again adding some sangathis.

The Interlude has Galloping phrases, Humming, Impassioned Veena, Flute and Percussion all giving the niceties of the Raga Swaroopa.

The first Charanam is ornately structured.

It looks like a Pillar-strong at the same time very smooth.

Bilhari takes a meandering stroll with Veena and the percussion.
The stroll is depicted with the change in the gait of the line ‘Nadanthaal..’


We reach the higher plane and are lost there as we hear ‘Mel paathi thanai Paarkka..’

In the second Interlude, Bilahari swirls, twirls, and prances.

The delectable long spree of Thaanam gives us a wonderful Rhythmic Sway!

The second charanam has deft phrasings with multiple matrices of beautiful sangathis.

We see the Sculptures of Krishnapuram and Maamallapuram.

We see the paintings of Ajanta/Ellora.

We see the precious Gems.

We see the Lotus in the Moonlight.

We hear the euphonic Veena.

We drink the Nectar.

It is Divine Music...

தெய்வீக ராகம்!தெவிட்டாத பாடல்!!

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

Thursday, 13 November 2008

ILaiyaraaja-The Lovable Musician!

'Bigger Than The Earth, Certainly,
Higher Than The Sky,
More Unfathomable Than The Waters
Is This Love For This Man
Of the mountain slopes where
Bees make rich honey from the flowers of the Kurinchi
That has such black stalks'.

நிலத்தினும் பெரிதே வானினும் உயர்ந்தன்று
நீரினும் ஆரள வின்றே சாரல்
கருங்கோற் குறிஞ்சிப் பூக்கொண்டு
பெருந்தேன் இழைக்கு நாடனொடு நட்பே.

The Sangam Tamizh Poetry from the early classical era (100BC-AD250) is among the finest India has ever produced. Not to know them is not to know a unique and major poetic achievement of Indian Civilisation..

The aforementioned verse is from Kuruntokai-which is part of Sangam Literature.This poem is about lovers’ union but the union is not talked about nor is it described. It is enacted by the inset scene of the bees making honey from the flowers of Kurinchi.

This technique of using the scene to describe is called as ‘ullurai uvamam’ in Tamizh meaning ‘hidden or implicit metaphor’.

Furthermore, the poem opens with large abstractions like the Earth, and the sky, but it moves towards the concreteness of the black stalked Kurinchi flowers. This progression moving from the first elements to native elements to human feelings forms the intellectual framework of the poetry.

I was reminded of this verse when I was listening to.. Raja’s music…

Our love for him and his music is unfathomable. His music pierces the Heart and touches the Soul.

His era, like the Sangam era is among the finest Indian Film World has ever produced. Not to know him or his music is not to know a unique and major achievement in the Music World.

His music also moves subtly from abstract to concrete to human feelings.

It is a well- known fact that he is an erudite person with profound knowledge in Music. But what stands out is the way he conceives and composes Music intuitively.

Today, let us take up another beautiful composition of his..

It is ‘Radha Radha’ from ‘Meendum Kokila’.

The composition is based on Suddha Saveri, a pentatonic Raga.The structure of the Raga is:

sa ri2 ma1 pa dha2 Sa/Sa dha2 pa ma1 ri2 sa.

The Hindustani equivalent(with a slight variation in avarohana) is Durga.

Sometime back, we saw the Raga Mohanam. If the ‘ga’ in Mohanam is replaced by ‘ma’, it is Suddha Saveri.

However, Suddha Saveri has a beauty of its own.

One of the most popular krithis of Thyagaraja, ‘Dhari ni Telusu Konti’ is in Sudhha Saveri. Thyagaraja, the Genius composed this on Tripurasundari ,the goddess at Tiruvotriyur. The first line itself gives the avarohana of the raga-Sa dha pa ma ri ….In the next line , he wonderfully adds the phrase ‘Tripura Sun..dari nee’. Sundari means one who is beautiful.

That is Thyagaraja.

ILaiyaraaja has also done some wonders with this classical raga. He has composed many songs in this raga and my personal favourite is the evergreen ‘Kovil Mani Osai’ from ‘Kizhakke Pogum Rail’. In fact he even composed a duet in this raga in a typical Rajini Masala movie (‘Sugam Sugame’ in ‘Naan potta Savaal’).

That is ILaiyaraaja.

Radha Radha’ starts with the wonderful aalap. Sometime back, I had mentioned as to how his aalaps too follow tala beats(without any percussion).

The ‘ aa.. aa.. aa..’ of Janaki and SPB follow the 3 beat Tisram.
He has beautifully used counterpoints and the harmony is smooth and sublime.

We see two horizons at the same time!

The love struck violins appear now and the Flute celebrates Love singing like a Honey Bird!

The Tabla watches the lovers and starts playing only after the first ‘Radha Radha’.
The Tisram beats follow a wonderful pattern
‘Ta ta-‘.
The stress is on the first Ta and the third is left alone…

In the first interlude, the Violins play with eloquence. The solo violin plays with grace to the ‘Ta - - Ta ka dhi mi Ta - - ta ki ta’ pattern with the flute enjoying the spectacle. The Guitar comes marching in to join the party playing Ta Ka Dhi Mi Ta Ka with stress on the first ‘Ta’,’dhi’ and the last ‘ka’.

The Charnam is like the Shimmering Silver Waves glistening with the beauty of Suddha Saveri. And we travel with the waves that follow ‘Ta – Ta ka dhi mi Ta ki Ta’ and then ‘Ta ki ta Ta ki ta Ta ki ta’ with the third ‘Ta ki ta’ equaling the first two ‘Ta ki ta’.

It is Romance personified as Janaki renders ‘Kanna Kanna’..

The Guitar piece in the second Interlude is clothed in phrasings that abound with Melodic Tints!It is Laya Raja again as it plays ‘Ta ka dhi mi ta ka’ 4 times followed by ‘Ta - Ta Ta Ta - Ta Ki Ta’

The brief excursions of the Raga are shown in the Question –Answer Session that follows this.

The composition is an eloquent delineation of the structural beauty of Suddha Saveri..

It is vibrant.

It is resonant.

It is Lovable.

It is Adorable.

In his Music, even the subtle sound of the feet is melodious..

அவரது இசையில் காலடி ஓசையிலும் யாழிசை கேட்கும்..

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

ILaiyaraaja-The Complete Musician!

The great Sanskrit Poet Bharavi -while talking about the greatest things in the Universe said,

‘Pushpeshu Jaathi
Purusheshu Vishnu
Nareeshu Rambha
Nagareshu Kanchi’

Among Flowers, it is Jasmine
Among Men, it is Vishnu (Purusha has deep meanings and we are not getting into that now)
Among Women it is Rambha
Among Cities, it is Kanchipuram.

If Bharavi was alive today , he would have said ‘Among Cine Musicians it is ILaiyaraaja’.

The completeness of a Man is determined by many factors.

Music being Universal, a complete Musician should be well versed with all kinds of Music. ILaiyaraaja has immense knowledge in Carnatic Music, Hindustani Music, Western Classical, Jazz, Folk .

Though he considers Carnatic Music as the best in the World for various reasons, he has lot of respect for other forms of Music.

Having knowledge and respect in one thing. Applying these in Life and profession is quite another.

In a span of 32 years and 850 Films, he has used his knowledge to give us some mind boggling compositions.

He has given us pure Carnatic Ragas.In fact, no cine musician has used as many Ragas as Raja has used.

He has given us pure Western Classical.

He has given us Jazz.

He has given us Folk.

But what sets him apart from others is his ability to blend all forms of Music to give us unforgettable everlasting compositions.

One can take up many of his compositions to show that his music is Universal.

‘Edalolaya’ from Anveshana(Paadum Paravaigal-Tamizh) is one such composition.

Here he has used the natural sounds of birds and shows that birds do sing with Swaras.

Birds may not know Pa , Ga, Sa, Ni, Ma, Ri…But they sing these Swaras to exhibit their moods.

Only a Master Artiste/Musician can interpret Nature.

At times when we look at the clouds , we tend to discover the different shapes , figures and formations !

In a similar vein he listens to the birds and interprets the Swaras.This requires tremendous skill and to use it in a commercial set up like Cinema needs a lot of guts.

The raga usage and the change of scales in this composition are amazing.

The song starts with traces of Nata Bhairavi, touches GowriManohari from the lines ‘Kokila Geetham’ and goes to Keeravani in the third Charanam.All the three Ragas are very close to each other –Nata Bhairavi being the 20th Melakartha, Keeravani , the 21st and GowriManohari, the 23rd.

But he has changed them so effortlessly that it is difficult to even believe that the ragas change.

Please recall my yesterday's post on these scales and ragas!

Coming to think of it, the Birds do change Ragas as well.But do we notice this ever?

The interludes –especially the 2nd and the 3rd-are fast paced and the orchestration with the Violins, String instruments, the Flute and most important, the Sound of the Birds is out of the world.

The gradual ending of the song is another beauty.

I feel the whole composition teaches us the Philosophy of Life!

Another composition where we see the change of Scales is ‘Paniyil Nanaiyum Malargal’ from Priya Oh Priya(Pallavi AnuPallavi-Kannada).

The Pallavi starts with Keeravani.But in the interlude, the scale is changed and the Swaras of Mohanam are used.

The Charanam also has Mohanam with a sparing use of Ni and Ma-alien Swaras.
Generally, when the tune undergoes a change, it does sound jarring.But this does not happen whenever the Master does it.This is debatable and -some may say- is very subjective.

It does require an objective listening and analysis !

The sound of Bass in the composition, the Strings, Flute and Violins in the second interlude and the Pallavi itself-that has a string of three Swaras – make this a beautiful Garland!

We have seen Keeravani in different moods in the two compositions.

Let us now turn our attention to a composition where this raga is used in a pure form.

‘Keeravani’ from Anveshana(Paadum Paravaigall) is a romantic duet where the contours of the raga are shown wonderfully.

The song itself starts with the rendering of Swaras and the Counterpoints.

If the Pallavi sees the stringing of same Swaras –RiRiRi, GaGaGa-,the Charanam sees a stringing of four Swaras-three same Swaras with an additional Swara like SaSaSaRi, NiNiNiSa, DhaDhaDhaNi, MaMaMaDha.

It is like the lovely Drizzle swaying here and there with the Breeze.

The interludes have Western Style Orchestration to prove the point yet again that his Music is Universal.The Piano , Guitar and the Flute do give us a feeling of Meloncholy.

We see the same Keeravani turn out to be sober yet melodious in ‘Kodiyile’.

Here he chooses a combination of 5 Swaras in the first two lines(until ‘Thavikkiren’).Like an Artist -painting a picture- mixing different colours to suit the mood , he mixes alien Swaras –the other Ma and the other Ni- in ‘Nenjukkulle Koochcham’.

In the Charanam, the ending words are dragged with what is called as Sangathis in Carnatic Music.There is also a wonderful mix of alien Swaras –especially in the last two lines which almost sound like another Raga Karaharapriya-but as I mentioned earlier, this is does not sound jarring .

It sounds very beautiful.

The pauses between the lines follow a wonderful pattern.

The second interlude is full of melancholy, the Flute Piece in particular.

Avarathu Isaiye Paadum ParavaigaL pola thane!

His Music itself sounds like the song of the Birds..Does it not?

Monday, 3 November 2008

ILaiyaraaja's Music is Rich!

Wealth’ and ‘Richness’ are very interesting words.
Generally we associate these words with money.

Materialistic outlook!
Good or bad?

Without getting into this debate shall we look at these words and see if they show us(or give us) what money cannot buy.

We say he/she brings in a wealth of information.
We say ‘wealth of knowledge’
We say ‘wealth of experience’
We say ‘wealth of knowledge’.

We say ‘rich texture’.
We say ‘rich colours’
We say ‘rich design’.

What exactly is wealth? What exactly is richness?

I would say anything/anyone radiating positive energy is wealthy and rich.

Incidentally, the Goddess of wealth in the Hindu tradition is Lakshmi.
We again make the mistake of misinterpreting the qualities of Lakshmi. People with money are considered to be having ‘Lakshmi Kadaaksham’.

But Lakshmi is beyond all these.

Poet Bharati is said to have lived in penury.

While singing about Goddess Lakshmi, he says

‘You are in the Yagnyaas,Fame,Intelligence,Novelty,Great Music, Dance,and Paintings(all art forms).’

‘Punniya VeLviyilum uyar Pugazhilum
Mathiyilum, Puthumaiyilum, pannu naarpaavaiyilum
Nalla paattilum Kooththilum padaththinilum,
Nanniya Devi’

See how rich his poetry is.. Is this the voice of a gentleman who lived in poverty?
He was in deed endowed with Lakshmi Kataaksham.
His poems live even after hundred years.

This is real wealth!

Muththuswami Dikshithar’s compositions have great musical value, rich structure and magical power.With this power, he could have even made the entire world his slave.
But he never hankered for money or any material things.

It is said that once his wife-knowing the mystical quality of her husband’s music-requested him to get all kinds of jewellery .He sang’Hiranmayeem Lakshmim’ in Lalitha ragam.

That night Goddess Lakshmi appeared in his wife’s dream fully adorned with rich jewellery and asked her if that was enough or she wanted more.

His wife realized her folly.She understood that her husband’s music was capable of even bringing the goddess in her dreams. And that she without realizing the real value went after materialistic pleasures.

Was Dikshithar rich?

Of course he was.. He gave us very rich compositions that can transport us to an esoteric world.

Though he composed some great Krithis on Lakshmi, one of his Krithis is special.

It is

‘Sri Varalakshmi Vasupradhe
Sri Saarasapathe Rasa Pathe Sa Pathe Pathe Pathe..’

One of the specialities is the Ragam itself.It is in Sri Ragam.

The second speciality is the pattern in the second line. Look how he has played with ‘Saarasapathe..’.(this pattern is one of the ‘Yatis’).

Going back to the Ragam, ‘Sri’ in Sanskrit denotes Goddess Lakshmi.

That is why we Indians prefix any name with ‘Sri’ or ‘Srimathi’(so that all of us get ‘Lakshmi Kataaksham’.

The Raga Sri is therefore very rich.

Considered to be one of the oldest ragas, this Raga-as the name suggests- is very auspicious and is considered to bring lot of good things.

It is derived from Karaharapriya and its structure is
Sa ri2 ma1 pa ni2 Sa/Sa ni2 pa dha2 ni2 pa ma1 ri2 ga2 ri2 Sa.
Some say the‘pa dha ni pa ma’ usage is a later addition.

However, it is a fact that this prayoga and the ‘ri ga ga ri sa’ prayoga give a very special feeling.

Saint Thaygaraja beautifully shows us the contours of Saama Veda in Sri in the very first line-Saama Gaana Lola-in his inimitable Pancharatna Kriti, ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu’.

The beauty here is that the structure of this charanam follows the Saama veda pattern.

Rich Composer! Rich Music!!

One of the modern day composers who is also very rich in terms of knowledge, and in terms of Music has done wonders with this Raga..

The song is ‘Devi Durga Devi’ from the Telugu Film ‘Sankeerthana’.

It has a very special prelude with the dance jathis creating an ambience of classicism.The silent phrases in between and the sound of the bell give a divine feeling.

A Dancer’s entire body is the vehicle of expression and this is ‘Aangika abhinaya’.’Vaachika Abhinaya’ is the expression through song, music and poetry.
We see both these abhinayas in full swing.

The Pallavi is effulgent with rich lyrics, bright voices of SPB and Vani Jeyaram and the pulsating Mridangam.

In the first prelude, he weaves a silken thread of Sri as the violins and flutes dance with the Mridangam giving a repartee.The ‘ri ga ri sa’ phrase towards the end of the first part of the prelude is enchanting.

If we observe closely, even the Mridangam sounds like Sri Ragam.

The first Charanam is delightful.

If the line ‘Kaala Bhayakara..’ is vibrant, the following line is resonant and the last line is tender.

It gives soulful touches.

The Mridangam reverberates and then begins a swirl of Swaras.

It glides.

It gives us verbal images.

It is appealing.

It is revealing.

It captures the special fragrance of the Raga.

It encapsulates the essence of the Raga.

It shows us the glory of the Raga and music.

It shines like a glittering sapphire.

And this is what is richness!

Raaja..Sangeetha Raaja Aangikam Vaachikam Anni Meere..

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA