Sunday, 11 January 2009

Divine Dream..

The Tamizh month of Maargzhi(Mid Dec-Mid Jan) is very special.

Lord Krishna refers to this month in Gita.

Astronomically, the Sun turns towards the north at the end of this month.

Scientifically, the ozone layer is very close to the earth during this month especially early in the morning.

For people living in Chennai, it is a real bonus since the entire city reverberates with music during this month.A host of other activities also take place this month-like the Book Fair, Circus,Trade Fair etc.,

But there is one thing that is an intrinsic part of Maargazhi.That is ‘Tiruppavai’.

In my post on ‘Sundari Kannal..’ in my other blog 'Ragaranjani', I had described about AandaL , her Thiruppavai and Naachiyaar Thirumozhi.

Each day of the month is identified with one Thiruppavai finally climaxing with two Thiruppavais on the last day(there are only 29 days in Maargazhi).

AandaL followed a very unique concept called ‘Paavai Nonbu’ where she along with her friends take a vow on the second day where she says

‘Eschew all carnal and even worldly desires like eating
ghee,drinking milk etc.
Bathe early in the morning.Don't adorn your eyes with
collyrium,or your hair with flowers till the completion
of the vow’.

After 26 days, she ends the vow with the Paasuram ‘Koodarai Vellum’(the one who wins over his enemies).Sri Vaishnavas celebrate the 27th day(which is today) as a day to make friends with enemies.

Apart from the 30 Thiruppavais, AandaL is known for her 143 verses called as Naachchiyaar Thirumozhi.Though all the verses are special, the verses 61-71 are very very special because she dreams of becoming His bride and shares this dream with her friends.

This set of 10 verses is more popularly called as ‘VaaraNam Aayiram’.

While reading the verses or even listening to these, one clearly visualizes the entire wedding as it unfolds scene by scene.

That is the beauty of AandaL’s imagination and her mastery over the language.

The Maestro brilliantly used some of these verses in ‘KeLadi KaNmaNi’(1990).

There are two versions in the album-one sung by Janaki and the other by SPB.The Janaki version is Raagamaalika while the SPB one follows one Raaga.

The film has the former version only.

The song starts with Mohanam(at times it sounds like Mohana Kalyani too to me!) as she says ‘With one thousand mighty tuskers arrayed, the Lord gracefully comes in procession. The Town is adorned with beauteous festoons and welcomes the groom with gold vessels.’

The Tavil gives the wedding ambience as the Raaga seamlessly changes to Nayaki-a very special Raga not used by any film music composer.

She sings,’All the celestials including Indra, the king of Devas assemble and speak to my parents as my sister-in law, Parvati adorns me with flowers and the wedding saree.’

The flute piece after ‘Devar Kuzhamellam’ is heavenly.

The Raaga now changes to Kapi and she says’As learned Pundits chant the Mantras and spread out the Holy grass laying twigs encompassing the sacred fire, He-Lord Krishna-comes like a raging tusker circumambulating the fire holding my hand-fast in hand!’

Unfortunately, the song has only these three verses.

The SPB version follows Kalyani ragam throughout.

My Divine Dream is to listen to all the verses tuned by the Maestro!

1.Janaki's version:


Thursday, 1 January 2009

Musical Angel-She came , She saw , She conquered!

Music gives us Power..
gives us Energy..
gives us Strength..

Just imagine..

If music took the form of an angel and came in front of us, what would we do?
Or just watch with amazement?

The Film ‘Pattakkaththi Bhairvan’(1979) was a remake of a telugu movie. A very ordinary story of an orphan (certainly not Oliver Twist!) who turns ‘anti social’.

At times I wonder as to how somebody could score great music for movies that are below par.It needs that ‘attached detachment’ defined by Krishna in the Gita.
In fact, Kedaram Raga was used by him for the first time in this movie.
While reviewing this film, the Tamizh magazine ‘Aananda Vikatan’ said that ‘the Director has succeeded in caging a lion called Sivaji Ganesan and tried to cage a tiger called ILaiyaraaja.But this tiger growls and we get at least two great songs!’

One song is of course very well known to the people familiar with my other Blog-Ragaranjani-and ‘yours sincerely’ because that happens to be his most favourite composition.

For the benefit of newcomers , let me tell you that the song starts with the lines ‘Engengo Sellum En EnnangaL’whose description can be found in 'Ragaranjani' under the caption 'ILaiyaraaja-The Wonder'.

The other duet in the film is great as well..

Of course, I am not talking about the ‘Kedaram’ song-which will be taken up later.

I am referring to a song ‘Devathai.. Oru Devathai’.

Generally, I avoid talking about the technical details of a composition in this blog.

But at times a brief mention is required.

The Ragam of ‘Devathai’ is subject to dispute.Some of the sites mention this as ‘Sudhdha Saveri’ while some others say it is SankarabharaNam.

Yes…Swaras of Sudhdha Saveri are used but in Madhyama Sruti(shall explain this concept in detail in the other thread soon..).The Raga we get is Pahaadi.

He has done wonders using this concept in many of his compositions.

As Bharati says in Paanchaali Sabatham

‘ each moment is different.. different from the previous moment.. full of surprises!’(KaNam thoRum maaRi maaRi oradimatroradiyoloththalandri..), Raaja sir’s music is full of surprises and full of beauty!

Let us look at the Flute piece that appears throughout the composition. It is in fact the ‘theme music’ of the song..

The Violin piece in the second interlude.. purely in western classical style but without deviating from the tune..

The percussion in the third interlude that makes us sway.. And the flute bit that follows ..

The way each instrument speak with one another in the first interlude..

Similar kind of syllables appearing one after the other in the CharaNams(ex-‘Swargaththin pakkaththil vetkaththai vaiththuk koNdaaL’, ‘Aaramba maagattum Kaveri Koodattum Inge’)

The lilting tune..

Yes..As the greatest poet Kannadaasan says ‘The Angel came (flying), saw and conquered’ (a la Caesar?),

‘This Emperor came, composed and conquered millions of Hearts!’