Tuesday, 11 December 2012

ILaiyaraaja- The Adventurous Musician- III

காதல், காதல், காதல்,

காதல் போயிற் காதல் போயிற்

சாதல், சாதல், சாதல்.

நாதம், நாதம், நாதம்;

நாதத் தேயோர் நலிவுண் டாயின்,

சேதம், சேதம், சேதம்.

These verses are part of the ‘Kuyil Paattu’, which is considered to be one of the greatest philosophical works in Tamizh poetry.

Mahakavi Bharati –whose 130th Birth anniversary is celebrated today-, is something more than the usual terms like Poet, Visionary, Revolutionary..

He gave a new lease of life to Tamizh poetry by using very simple words and broke many conventions with courage of conviction and with a spirit of adventure.

The ‘Kuyil Paatu’ verses quoted above talks about the extreme contrasts- Love and Death, Music and Cacophony.. ..

Though it is said that ‘Kuyil Paattu’ is a kind of tribute to his idol Poet Shelly, the fact remains that ‘Kuyil Paattu’ is considered to be one of the greatest philosophical works in Tamizh poetry. But what is more important and relevant here is that this kind of structure was entirely new to Tamizh poetry then. It maybe noted that this structure and the ‘Vachana Kavita’ of Bharati set the tone for the emergence of ‘Pudhu Kavitai’ in Tamizh, a totally new form.

Bharati did it because of his adventurous spirit and mastery of Tamizh language.

In the previous two posts, we saw how ILaiyaraaja with his deep knowledge used some new scales in music with a sense of adventure.

The third part in this series too features a song which follows a new and a different scale.

In fact, the notes of the song of the day -‘Adho mega oorvalam’ (Eeramana Rojave-1991).- are almost the same as the ones used in ‘Oru Poongavanam’ and yet are used differently.

Just to recap, the latter’s scale is ‘sa ri2 ga3 dha1 ni/ ni1 dha1 ni1 pa ga3 ri2 sa.

'Adho mega..’ follows a scale that can be put like this: sa ri2 ga3 pa dha1 ga3 ni1 ni1 Sa/Sa ni1 dha1 pa ga3 ri2 sa- the swaras of the 25th melakarta ‘Maara Ranjani’ without the ‘ma’.

Note how the arohaNa is devious with ‘ga ni ni’. You will be amazed to see how this phrase adds a special colour to this song. More about this soon..

Another speciality is the ‘Hamsadhwani’ shade by using ‘ni3’- only in the prelude and the interludes and not in the Pallavi/CharaNams.

The sympathetic strings in the beginning pull the strings of our hearts with the ascending notes and the three descending notes of Hamsadhwani. The chorus along with the ennobling Veena nurses us and takes us to the Pallavi.

The Pallavi which starts with the ‘sa’ uses ‘ri’, ga’ and ‘pa’ making us believe that the song is in Hamsadhwani. But the ‘dha1’ in ‘ange’ hits us with a force. Even then, ‘it could be Vaasanti’, with the prelude in Hamsadhwani’, Or it could also be ‘TaaraLam’, like ‘Kaalam maaRalaam’’, we think.

The first part of the first interlude with the mellifluent twin flute in two different octaves is in Hamsadhwani. The zestful strings too move in this raga until the flute interjects and plays the ‘dha1’. The romance between the flute and the Veena also has the ‘dha1’. It is surely ‘TaaraLam’, we almost conclude.
We find the swaras of Vaasanti in the first two lines of the CharaNam with the ‘ga pa dha pa’, ‘ga dha pa’ phrases even giving the flavour of Bowli(common notes anyway). The defining moment arrives in the third line as the vivadi note ‘ni1’ is introduced. This note joining with ‘ga’ in the third, fourth and the fifth line and as a ‘janta swara’ once in the last line make it placid musical experience.

Time for a small clarification: The logical question in the minds of some of you is:

‘How can you call it as a new scale? Is it not Hamsadhwani/TharaLam/Vaasanti plus a vivadi note?’

Yes, it is Hamsadhwani’ in the prelude and Hamsadhwani/TharaLam/Vaasanti in the interludes.

However, the Pallavi and CharaNams do not have the ‘ni3’ at all. And the vivadi note in the CharaNam follows a certain pattern. Therefore, I feel it-that is the Pallavi and the CharaNam- is surely a new scale not hitherto used.

Continuing with the description of the song, we hear the notes of Hamsadhwani zealously played by the sympathetic strings twice. It then overlaps with the chorus that hums Hamsadhwani with the endearing flute imitating the chorus musically. The bells then move in Vaasanti with the subtle strings in the background.

It is an illuminating spectacle.

A musical procession.

ராக மேக ஊர்வலம்..