Thursday, 30 July 2009

ILaiyaraaja-Musician with a Magnetic Charm!

Have we ever thought as to why birds make trees their abode?

Is it a sense of security?
Is it affinity?
Is it natural attraction?

By the way, why should the birds be attracted to trees?

We all know how musical birds are.
But have we noticed that trees are musical as well?

The sound of the tree rustling in the breeze..
The green leaves..
The smiling flowers..
The shining fruits..

We hear the Shruti..Swaras..Ragas..Talas..

Birds and the Trees!

Attached to each other like a magnet.

Said Saint Thyagaraja,’Oh.Rama!I am like a bird going around the tree again and again..’(Chutti Chutti Pakshulella Settu Veduku Reethi Bhuvini Puttagana Nee Padamula Pattu Konna Nannu Brova)

As a divine person, he was attracted to Rama like how a bird is attracted to a tree.

He went on to sing ‘You are the Treasure of Virtues, and the Abode of Mercy’(SuguNa Jaala KaruNaavaala).’

'I have come seeking shelter at your feet surrendering my Body and possessions as they belong to You’(CharaNu Jocchi Tanuvu Dhanamu Needeyandi Thyagaraja Vinuta Rama).

‘Oh Sitarama!Why this undue delay to protect me?’(KaalaharaNamelaraa Hare Sitarama?).

This beautiful Keertanam is in Sudhdha Saveri Ragam.

Talking of attraction, I am also reminded of the divine attraction between Rama and Sita.

As per Tamizh poet Kamban, the love between the two was spontaneous.

Though there are a lot of verses that beautifully describe their relationship (some have already been quoted in this thread!), I would like to take up one very interesting verse.

It is the night before the wedding.

Looking at the moon, the Love Struck Rama sees Sita’s face in it. For a moment he feels the moon is Sita.
And says, ‘You are the seed of my love;not just the seed but also the manure for the tree called Love.’

Then he realizes that it is the moon and not his beloved Sita.

He now says’ You have the face of Sita. Probably you are related to her. By reminding me of her face, you are troubling me so much.Why don’t you become my relative as well?’

திருவே அனையாள் முகமே! உயிரின்
கருவே!கனியே!விளைகாம விதைக்கு
எருவே!மதியே!இதுஎன் செய்தவா?
ஒருவேனொடு நீ உறவாகலையோ?

What Kamban means here is that unable to bear the torment Rama pleads with the moon not to trouble him!

Poetic Beauty..

Magnetic attraction..

I find this kind of a magnetic charm in ILaiyaraaja’s music.

Many times when I listen to his musical pieces, I ask him (of course to myself!),

‘Why do you trouble me by producing such great music?’

Trouble that is a pleasure.

Today, we are going to see yet another great composition.

It is ‘Raamudu Kalaganaledhu’ from the Telugu film ‘Rajkumar’.

The composition is based on Sudhdha Saveri.

Sudhdha Saveri is a oudava raga(raga with 5 swaras in the Aarohana and Avarohana) and is derived from the 29th melakartha DheeraShankarabharanam.

Its Structure is:
sa ri2 ma1 pa dha2 Sa/Sa dha2 pa ma1 ri2 sa.

Replace the ‘ma’ with ‘ga’ and we get Mohanam.
Replace the dha’ with ‘ni’ and we get Madhyamavati.

Sing this raga in Madhyama Sruti and we get Pahaadi.

However, Sudhdha Saveri is unique and different.

As the name suggests, it is indeed a very pure raga.

Maestro has scored some amazing songs in this ragam.

Let us now look at today’s composition.

It starts with the very auspicious Nagaswaram and Tavil.

The Veena plays with finesse.Then a surprise awaits us.It is not the violin or flute that gives a reply to the Veena.

It is the Baas Guitar that gives the repartee.
Though Maestro is very well known for his bass work (in fact he was the one who pioneered this in films), the resplendent flashes of Bass Guitar in this composition is unique and great!

The Flute now appears with beauty and grace. The violins and electronic instruments follow suit.

The Pallavi is exquisite and gives distinctive shades of Sudhdha Saveri meticulously.
Suseela and SPB give soft radiance to the already beautiful Ragam.

The last line in the Pallavi ‘Aa Ramayanam’ gives a spell of fascination!

The aesthetic flute now sings like a cuckoo while the guitar fluently expresses itself.

It is the turn of the violins to decorate the raga.
The Bass Guitar surrounds us melting us in the process!

The CharaNam is sobriety personified.

The first two lines are pithy and poignant.
The next two lines slither through wonderfully.
The last two lines stir us melodiously.

The Sangati at the end of the CharaNam shows us the finer nuances of the raga.

In the second interlude, the violins move daintily.
The alluring Shehnai is courted by the Flute.

We suddenly see a shift here as we hear the subtly shaded alien swaras. This infuses delicacy.

The modern instruments are deftly interwoven exemplifying refinement.

The composition breathes graciousness.

It is delicately eloquent.

It is piercing.

It is enticing.

It is magnetic..

Rama and Sita..
The Bird and the Tree!

Raaja’s music and us…

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Suresh S said...


Lovely description of the Rajkumar song. I discovered it quite late and couldn't get it off my playlist for a long time!!! I love the way you connect up Tamil literature with music. While I am interested in literature as well, I probably have not read as much as you on Kamban or the Azhwars or the sangam poets. Should rectify this soon.

The other two songs of Rajkumar, 'thenakanna teeyanidi telugu basha', 'toli choopu' are amazing compositions as well. A fantastic album on the whole.

Raj said...

Thanks a lot Suresh!
Yes..A lovely song indeed!!

I heard from my friends in hyderabad that though this song is popular, not many people know that it is a Raaja's composition.

I love your Blog and I request you to write more frequently there..