Monday, 15 April 2013

ILaiyaraaja-The Instinctive Musician..

One of the many virtues a genius possesses is spontaneity.
A genius does not waste time in breaking his/her head. Yet, the output is something unimaginable.

ThoNdaradipodiyaazhwar, one of the 12 great Vaishnavite saints, looks at the reclining posture of Lord Ranganatha and decided to sing ‘PaLLi ezhucchi ’to ‘wake him up from sleep’.
‘Blowing gently from the East, the wind embraces the jasmine creeper spreading the fragrance. Flapping the dew-soaked wings the swans get up from their flower beds. Oh, the one who saved the elephant(Gajendra) from the poisonous and gory teeth of the crocodile! Please wake up’.
கொழுங்கொடி  முல்லையின்  கொழு மலர்  அணவிக்
      கூர்ந்தது  குண-திசை  மாருதம்   இதுவோ
எழுந்தன  மலர்  அணைப்  பள்ளிகொள்  அன்னம்
        ஈன்பனி  நனைந்த  தம்  இருஞ் சிறகு  உதறி;
விழுங்கிய  முதலையின்  பிலம்  புரை  பேழ்வாய்
        வெள்  எயிறு  உற, அதன்  விடத்தனுக்கு  அனுங்கி,
அழுங்கிய  ஆனையின்  அருந்துயர்  கெடுத்த
        அரங்கத்தம்மா!  பள்ளி   எழுந்தருளாயே.
This is one of the 10 ‘ThiruppaLLi ezhucchi’ verses sung by the Aazhwar and is part of the ‘Naalaayira Divya Prabhandam’.
‘Waking up the Divine’ is of course symbolic as the Divine is always awake. But what should be noted here and appreciated is the description done with fertile imagination. We feel the aroma of the ‘mullai’ flowers, we watch and listen to the flapping of wings of the swans feeling the wetness of the dew, we experience the excruciating pain of the elephant as the wily crocodile holds its leg and finally we feel the compassion and love of the divine.
The contrast-pleasant fragrance/ dew against poisonous teeth/sorrow- cannot be missed. Nor can the poetic usage and description be not appreciated.
It is said that the Azhwar sang these verses in the sanctum sanctorum even as he was looking at the Lord.In other words, he did not sit down, think, refer any tamizh dictionary and then wrote. Words flew from him instinctively.
And yet, the entire verse is a poetic beauty.
‘Arjuna mantram’ from ‘Sitara’(1984) is a musical beauty.
Composed spontaneously by ILaiyaraaja and rendered by SPB and Shailaja, the composition is classical, is folksy shows the contrast, shows the similarities and is melodically superior.
We see a pentatonic raga changing to a sampoorNa raga, a native Andhra folksy tune followed by a rare raga, all seamlessly done.
The composition starts with the divine Omkara.  The sloka is set in AmritavarshiNi, and the omkara being rendered as the ‘Shadja’ at the end of each line ( upper ‘Sa’ before the sloka, and after the first and third line and lower ‘sa’ at the end of second line) symbolically suggests that the PraNava mantra is the basis for everything in the Universe.
With aesthetic spontaneity, the Pallavi moves in Pantuvarali(AmritavarshiNi plus ‘ri1’ and ‘dha1’).The Veena that appears between the two lines shows flashes of brilliance as it shows the ‘chaaya swaras’ of the raga.
The Veena continues its journey in the first interlude as the zestful Jalatarangam joins it with splendour.The dainty flute takes over and the musical spectacle is rounded off with a ‘saval-jawab’ of Veena and Jalatarangam.
The first CharaNam has some enlivening patterns. The first two lines are felicitously fluid while the following lines move like a beautiful breeze.
The raga’s resplendent domain is shown in the akaaram that lasts two full avartanams. The beauty of this segment is the superimposing of the female voice over the male voice with each singing a different set of swaras.
The charming swaras alternate with the dance jatis towards the end.
The song now acquires and aromatic flavour. Andhra folksy tune in Tisram beats. The dainty Shehnai and the dexterous Flute are followed by the vocals. Fertilely imaginative!
The Veena now gives a classical touch playing ‘Karnataka Khamas’. It is a janya of Harikhamboji and avoids ‘ri’ totally. It may be noted that this is different the more popular raga ‘Khamas’ which has some very distinct phrases.
The Veena and the flute have a brief conversation in Karnataka Khamas before the beginning of the next CharaNam.
The CharaNam rendered by SPB gives a soft veneer and is fascinatingly attractive.
With a classical comeliness, the flute moves daintily and the veena nods with awe.
The last CharaNam is invested with considerable ardour with the male voice singing the sahitya while the female voice singing the swaras.
It is astonishingly beautiful!
Music of the ‘Omkara’.
Apuroopa sangeetam..



Vijay said...

Arumai arumai! Listening to this song after a while. Thanks for unearthing this song and educating about the raagams in it.

I have this song, but there is a minute more on the song at the end with chendai, mridangam avarthanam followed by SPB's aalapanai.

Raj said...

Thanks Vijay.Can u pl mail me that version?