Saturday, 13 July 2013

ILaiyaraaja's Music- Instantly Attractive!

The world of poetry and therefore that of the poets is very interesting.

One may not even believe in what is being said but will love the poem because of the way it is said. Take ‘Love at first sight’ for example. Personally, I am not sure if this is possible. Love has to happen and for it to happen, there has to be perfect chemistry between the two. Why only chemistry, a little bit of Physics(remember Newton’s law), some Mathematics,  History & Geography and Languages also play a role. Will all these subjects act instantly, find that there is a match and send out the signal? Somewhat difficult to believe. But when one reads it in a poetic form , one likes it not because he/she believes what is being said but because of the love for poetry( see, whether one likes it or not, there is love here too!).

Looking at how Kamban describes the first meeting of Rama and Sita, one cannot but help feeling, ‘Oh, if only this was true!!’

Sita, the incomparable Beauty,  is standing and watching a male swan play with its mate. Rama passes by. The two pairs of eyes meet, clamp, and devour each other. Their feelings merge and they become one. He sees Her. She sees Him.

எண்ணரு நலத்தினாள் இளையள் நின்றுழிக்

கண்ணொடு கண்ணினை கவ்வி ஒன்றையொன்று

உண்ணவும் நிலைபெறாது உணர்வும் ஒன்றிட,

அண்ணலும் நோக்கினான்,அவளும் நோக்கினாள்.

Wonder what made Kamban choose his words and use them most appropriately. Though it is very clear that they meet each other,  Kavi Chakravarthy chooses to mention this only in the end. ‘Eyes’, he says through his poem, ‘Eyes speak the language and that is more than enough for my Hero and Heroine,’.

And why wouldn’t we fall in love instantly with such poems?

Same is the case with ILaiyaraaja’s music. Like a great poet who knows where and how to place the words, he knows where and how to place the swaras. This comes to him naturally without his having to waste time thinking about all this. Because of this, the music too does not waste its time and gets into us instantaneously leaving us stumped.

 The Kannada song ‘Modalane baari’ from ‘Naanavanu’(2009) is no exception. Based on KiravaNi, the song enters our ears and pierces our hearts. The synth instruments speak with love in this composition rendered with aplomb by SPB and Bela Shende. Technology in sound has also been applied as and when required enhancing the experience.

The prelude gives a brief sketch of the entire composition what with the keys jumping with love, the brass flute interjecting with succulent charm and the female voice singing the brief akaaram in KiravaNi.

The Pallavi is a delightful fare with the superimposed voices appearing at the end of first line and the discerning bass flute which after showing up in the middle of the second line continues it love journey along with the voice.

Backed by its brothers and cousins and with a touch of delicacy, the violin gives some quiet and exquisite expressions in the first half of the first interlude. The soft synth instrument that follows is graceful and gentle like love itself. The keys and the flute-that appeared in the prelude- complete the interlude but not before stealing our hearts.

The CharaNams are comely with some beautiful passages. The inter lacing of instruments with the vocals in the first four lines and in the last two lines make it an exhilarating experience. The sharp percussion at the end of each line and the guitar like sound just towards the end make elevated musical statements. One gets to see insights into the niceties of the raga too in all the lines with higher octave touched in the fifth line.

Laya Raaja comes to the fore in the second interlude. The composition is set in the 4-beat Chatushra ekam. The second interlude starts with some soft, melodic and zestful beats of two synth instruments that seem to go on a free trip not following the TaLa pattern. But a more careful observation suggests that though it does go ‘freely’, it is bounded by the tala. After 2 cycles, a sharp sound prompts the synth VeeNa to take over which it does but only at the second beat. Chatushram is on now even without a percussion instrument aND the VeeNa plays softly with a fervent plea even as the two synth instruments continue their free fall.After exactly 5 cycles, the VeeNa shows its exuberance and moves vivaciously backed by the percussion. The synth flute and the strings give some quick artistic strokes to this beautiful musical painting.

Love at first sight! Why not….