Monday, 14 May 2012

ILaiyaraaja-The Vivacious Musician..

AndaL was a great boon to Tamizh language.

The mastery of the little girl, who was just around 10-12 years when she composed 143 verses- which is now called as ‘Naachiyaar Tirumozhi’- and 30 verses of ‘Tiruppaavai’ ruled the language of Tamizh.

What makes her poems great are her choice of words, her creativity, innovation and most importantly her vivaciousness. Though these were composed around the 8th Century, the poems can be easily interpreted, understood, appreciated and enjoyed. At the same time, the poems have esoteric value too.

Look at this verse taken from her ‘Naachiyaar Tirumozhi’ (5th verse in the 9th Tirumozhi) where she describes the Lord of Tirumal-irum-solai (a place near Madurai):

‘Oh..Bees that hang in each bloom of fragrant flowers
At the Floral park that surrounds Tirumaal-irum-solai,
The springs, and the Red lotuses that toss their heads from the springs,
You remind me of Lord’s cerulean hue and his beautifully shaped eyes,
Please lead me to Him..’

துங்க மலர் பொழில் சூழ் திருமாலிருஞ்சோலை நின்ற
செங்கண் கட்டுமுகிலின் திருவுருப்போல் மலர்மேல்
தொங்கிய வண்டினங்காள்!தொகு பூஞ்சுனைகாள்!சுனையில்
தங்குசெந்தாமரைகாள்!எனக்கு ஒரு சரண் சாற்றுமினே!

Enamoured with the beauty of the place, the little girl jumps.Each and every creature in that place reminds her of the Lord. She addresses the creatures (bees,lotuses and other flowers, springs ) requesting those to show her the way to see the Lord.

True..the poem shows her unflinching and unimpeachable devotion to the Lord. But what it also does is that it transports us to that very place making us feel lively, joyful and vivacious..

After all, the vivaciousness of the geniuses is contagious…Right?

That is why, we all enjoy the music of this gentleman whose vivaciousness and energy levels are incredibly true.

On this special day when we all celebrate 36 years of his entry into film music, let us look at a composition of his which is as charming and lively as AandaL’s poems.

It is based on one of his favourite ragas (I am saying ‘favourite’ because he has composed hundreds of songs in this raga alone!).

This raag Pahaadi has already been discussed in my posts on ‘Mounamana Neram’(ILaiyaraaja- The Spontaneous Musician )and on ‘Ennaththil Edho’ (ILaiyaraaja-The Enlightened Musician).

This Hindustani raag is believed to have originated from the Tribes and it will be not be fair (I would say even a sacrilege) to mention a aroh/avaroh structure since it is not bound by any formal structure and is identified more by the feel than anything else.

However, this is one of the structures:

Pa Dha2 Sa Ri2 Ga3 Pa Dha2 Sa/Sa Ni3 Dha2 Pa ma1 Ga3 ri2 sa ni3 dha2 pa dha2 Sa.

The raag shines beautifully when alien notes are added to it.

The song of the day is ‘Pudhu VannangaL pongidum solai’ from the 1981 film ‘MurattukkaaLai’.

The composition starts without a prelude with the first two lines in the honey-soaked voice of Janaki moving with fluidity.
The alien notes are added precisely in the 3rd and the 4th line making it poetically beautiful.

The last line jumps with joy.

This composition in the Tisra pattern(3-beat cycle) also has the ‘ateeta eduppu’-that is the songs starts before the Tala cycle. The ‘samam’(beginning of the Tala cycle) is in ‘VannangaL’.

The first interlude is full of verve.

The Flute sings like a cuckoo daintily without any percussion.
The piped instruments join the flute now with the percussion nodding its head in Tisram. The strings follow suit.

The sprightly flute sings again. Mesmerised by this the birds start singing.
The strings dance and the Santoor swaggers gleefully.

The keys resonate with the strings playing single notes in the background.

As if this is not enough, the strings play in higher octave with the santoor swaying wondrously.

The CharaNam is beautifully structured and gives a rich imagery of Pahaadi.

Interspersed with the santoor, the first two lines saunter.

If the santoor for exactly 4 Tisrams at the end of the simple and beautiful 3rd line is stately, the next line that has elongated phrases is benign while the last line with the alien notes gives ineffable joy!

The anomalous second interlude is an aural treat.

It starts with the vocals-Janaki and chorus- singing joyously in folk style.

Though it is free flowing without any percussion, it follows the Tisram pattern. Exactly after 36 Tisrams, smiling santoor plays for 4 Tisrams giving way to the luscious flute that sails musically. We are transported to a village and we see the green fields, flowing water and a spotless sky.

A vicarious experience!

The colourfully plumaged strings now eddy against the guitar playfully and finally playing the same notes as the guitar.

Is this not what we call as vivacious?

புது வண்ணங்கள் பொங்கிடும் இசைச்சோலை!


Suresh S said...

Thanks for the song Raj. I don't remember hearing this, though I have seen the movie!!!

You can sort of see the Pahadi connection with 'mounamelanoyi' isn't it. Though Pahadi is more a Hindustani ragam, the way Raja adapts it to South Indian folk is amazing. No one will even guess it is an Hindustani ragam. He is anyway the master camouflager :)

Janaki, as usual, delivers perfectly. A very pleasing melody.

Raj said...

Yes Suresh.His Pahaadis have always been very special.I would even call his as 'Pahaadi Master'.

As far as I know he has composed close to 100 songs in Pahaadi alone.Surprisigly enough, not many people are aware of this fact because Pahaadi is a raag that cannot be easily identified if one goes strictly by the swaras played on the keyboard.The raag has a unique feel.

People tend to mistake Pahaadi to be Mohanam, ShankarabharaNam and even Sudhdha Saveri!

Thanks for your comment..