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..

1 comment:

Vaidy said...

Wow your take on Radha Radha is too good..
Really enjoyed reading it.....