Thursday, 16 July 2009

ILaiyaraaja-Musician without Boundaries..

Plus a change, plus c’est la meme chose’.

This is a French term and it means ‘The more things change, the more they remain the same’.

Sounds paradoxical..

But if we delve into this we find that it does make sense.

Let us take Music.

New discoveries and inventions have taken place in the last so many years. But has there been an instance of a new Note or Swara being discovered or invented?

What is amazing is that these seven notes are universal and are present in all forms of Music though they are called by different names.

More than anything else, what this means is that Music cannot be bound by anything.

It has no boundaries.

And more importantly, Music cannot be the preserve of some people or a section of people.

Can the air present in the atmosphere be the sole property of just a few people?

Depending on its character, air takes various forms like the wind, breeze, storm etc.,
Can we say that one form is a copy of the other?

It is very unfortunate to note that certain Musical forms tend to get identified with certain communities/class.

Going back to where I started, lot of innovations and improvisations have taken place in Music but still Music is Music. It has not changed.

We are very fortunate to have one composer who is literally a living legend and who has done many innovations without in anyway spoiling the flavour of Music.

The kind of innovations he has done is not simple-though some people think it is too simple-and needs years and years of research.

One such innovation was ‘Paadariyen Padippariyen’ from Sindhu Bhairavi. I call this an innovation not without any reason.

Let us now look at the sequence in the movie.

A very popular classical musician is performing on stage.A section of the audience is not attentive and this is spotted by a lady in the audience .

She gets up and requests the musician to sing songs in familiar language to hold audience interest .The great Musician ridicules this and goes to the extent of denigrating Folk Music.

He also challenges her to sing a folk song .

The lady responds and sings ...

What should also be of particular interest is the ‘Kirtana’ rendered by the Musician just before this altercation takes place.

The Kirtana is ‘Mari Mari Ninne’ which was originally set to Kambhoji Ragam by Saint Thyagaraja.

This Kirtana and the song that follows have been set in ‘Saramati’ ragam by the Maestro.

A section of the media did not want to waste this opportunity and tried its best to provoke classical musicians saying 'Raja has insulted Thyagaraja and has brought disrepute to Carnatic Music'.

Ironically enough , another section of the people who say they want a casteless society but still cling on to the caste factor whenever it favours them hailed Raja as theone who conquered the bastions of upper caste by 'tampering' with the classical structure.

Both the sides missed a point.

'Classical Music is not the preserve of one community or religion'.

Let us first see if it was in deed a crime or a sin to change the Raga of a song from that of the original?

Annamacharaya-who lived at least two centuries before Saint Thyagaraja-composed thousands of songs in various Ragas. The Great Legend of Carnatic Music, Smt.M.S.Subhulakshmi has rendered many of these songs in completely different ragas.

So can one say that Smt.MSS insulted Annamacharya?

Songs penned by Gopalakrishna Bharathi from the ‘Nandanar Charithram’ are sung in different ragas totally at variance with the Ragas mentioned by the composer. In fact, I have heard one particular song ‘Vazhi Maraithirukkuthu’ being sung in three different Ragas.

So is it possible to conclude that the Carnatic Musicians do not respect the Musical skills of such a great composer like Gopalakrishna Bharathi?

Subramaniya Bharathiyar had great knowledge in Music and he tuned all his songs. The song ‘Chinnanchirukiliye’ was tuned by him in Bhairavi ragam.The great film Music Composer Shri.C.R.Subburaman changed it into a Ragamalika and people identify ‘Chinnanchirukiliye’ only by this tune now.

Did CRS mean any offense to Bharathi?

The Thyagaraja Kirtana ‘Manasuloni Marmamulu Telusuko’is sung in Hindolam by some people and in Varam by some others.

Does anybody know as to which one is the correct version?And are these people insulting the Saint?

The answer to all these questions is a big NO.

In a similar vein, ILaiyaraaja whose respect for Saint Thyagaraja knows no bounds will be the last person to insult the Saint.

The problem is that Music is being wrongly identified and considered as a social issue and because of this the Classical Form is being associated with a particular Religion/Community.

The Bravado of such people is ludicrous. These self styled torch- bearers of society have their own agenda and most of their arguments are nebulous.

If they feel that Raja sir has hurt the sentiments of music lovers and in the process a particular community, they are thoroughly mistaken.

And if they continue to identify any form of Music with any community, it is them-and not Raja sir- who insult Music.

Let them understand that the Music of the movie was widely appreciated by many
well-known musicians including the great legend Maharajapuram Santhanam!

And let these people also understand that Music cannot and should not been seen with a coloured glass and that it is a sacrilege to give communal and caste colour to Music.

I am writing all these because though it is easy to ignore comments made with mala fide intentions, it also becomes necessary to tell the truth so that people are not misguided unnecessarily.

Let us also get some facts right.

The tune of the song ‘Paadariyen Padippariyen’ was not lifted from any folk song.

Only the lyrics –and that too the first two lines- have been used. The original tune has traces of Karaharapriya ragam.

Raja was looking at a Kirtanam with a start (eduppu) after one and half beats and he found ‘Mari Mari’ fitting the bill.

The original raga of ‘Mari Mari Ninne’ was changed because Raja felt that Saramati would suit the sequence.

He is a Musician without any boundaries and that is why his Music is being appreciated all over the world.

Now let us look at the composition-Paadariyen Padippariyen.

As mentioned earlier, it is based on Saramati(and not Charumathi as some people choose to call it!).

Saramati is derived from the 20th Melakartha Natabhiravi and its structure is sa ri2 ga2 ma1 pa dha1 ni2 Sa/sa ni2 dha1 ma1 ga2 Sa.

The arohana is the same as that of Nata Bhairavi and the avarohana is that of Hindolam’s.

This Raga is relatively new and does not find a mention in many of the older texts. Among the Trinity, only Saint Thyagaraja has used it in ‘Mokshamu Galadaa’

‘Paadariyen..’ begins rather imperceptibly.

As the Mridangam starts in folk style, we get hooked on to it. The Pallavi itself gives a wonderful sketch of the Raga.

The Violin interlude plays the Arohana and Avarohana pattern of the Raga just to indicate the simplicity!

Words without expressions and Swaras without meaning will lead one nowhere and this is what is conveyed in the first charanam.It also says that ‘Music is from the sound of Nature’.

The sangathi following the line ‘Ellame Sangeetham thaan’ is without any frills and at the same time is gripping.

The Second Charanam pleads the Musician to also think of layman and asks him if there is anything wrong with this.

The flavour of Todi Ragam after the line ‘Sonnathu Thappa Thappa’ is Brilliant.This simple usage has layers and layers of meanings!

The Kalpana Swaras are part of a classical Music Concert and shows the creativity of the Musician and his knowledge of Talas.

Here the Folk style song has the Kalpana Swaras neatly hemmed.

It reflects the expertise and the sensitivity of ILaiyaraaja.

Swaras are corralled and are sung with gusto.

It slowly gathers momentum and it is a slew of Swaras rendered in a very fast pace indicating chockablock of emotions.

‘Mari Mari Ninne’ is rendered in pure Classical Style in the end proving the fact that Music is in deed universal and is omnipresent in a mottled form.

Yes, Music is an experience that transcends formal parameters. It has no boundaries or any divisions.

I am an illiterate..I do not know any grammar..All I know is to appreciate music in its full form..

பாடறியேன் படிப்பறியேன் பள்ளிக்கூடம் தானறியேன்
இசையை இசையாக ரசிப்பதை மட்டும் அறிவேன்!

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