Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Musical Fragrance..

Mimusops elengi.

Ever heard of this name?
No..my intention is not to threaten you nor take any class in Botany.

But somehow, I find this name to be very interesting and musical too. Remember my post on ‘Yaar Maamano’ where I had written about the musical sound of ‘Mediterranean’.

Mi mu so pu s-sounds like ma ma sa pa sa.

Well..this is the botanical name of a lovely flower.A flower that is small, stra-shaped, yellowish white with a crown rising from the centre.This flower is better known as ‘Magizham poo’ in tamizh.

‘Magizham poo’ has a very rich fragrance and the odour lasts several days. This quality of maintaining the fragrance without any change in the intensity makes this flower a very special one.
‘Magizham poo’ is also known by the name ‘VakuLa’.

More about the musical quality of VakuLa later.

Though most of Raaja’s songs have this quality,there is something very special about today’s rare gem.

The song itself is a ‘magizham poo’.It is based on Pahadi and is set to the 7-beat misram.

The prelude is enticing with a very different bass instrument. The combination of Bass Guitar and the Flute is amazing indeed! Wonder from where he gets such ideas.

The sweet voice of Yesudass now joins with the violins following him very closely.

The first interlude is dominated by the violins and the guitar in the beginning.Suddenly, the flute takes over and plays with spry freshness.It sings like a cuckoo while the guitar and the violins then gently caress us..

The Charanam is delicately nuanced with the voice of Suseela adding luster.If the first two lines are imbued with energy, the following lines are lucid and flow like a gentle stream. We swim like a fish and jump like a deer.

The second interlude has a swirl of patterns.We feel the aromatic flavour of the village garden with the stringed folk instrument and the flute. It entices us..It mesmarises us..It hynotises us..

The soft touches of guitar make us forget ourselves.
The exquisite phrases continue in the second charanam but this time with a different orchestral arrangement in between the lines..

Mimusops elengi ..

This Magizham poo will continue to spread the fragrance even after centuries.

ma ma sa pa sa..

Saturday, 17 April 2010


Cricket is a very funny game indeed!

Most of you must be familiar with the famous quote ‘Eleven fools watched by eleven thousand fools’ of Bernard Shaw(if he was alive today, he would have said ‘Eleven Fools watched by Eleven million fools’!).

Now, look at this.
A bowler delivers the ball and even when one can see the ball live, it is called as a ‘no ball’ just because his foot was outside the crease.
But a batsman can stand outside his crease and yet it is not a ‘no bat’.

Then there is a leg spin ,a leg- cutter and a leg-break..If you are wondering how a leg can be spun..here is the answer:
The leg-side is the left side of the batsman and if a ball pitches on or outside the leg stump and turns to the right, it is leg spin.

Then there is ‘swing’. No..it is not that the players sit on a swing on the ground.If the shining side of the ball moves in the air, then it is said to ‘swing’(there is reverse swing too when the other side swings later when the ball becomes older).

Let us look at these terms: Fine-leg, Square-leg, Short-leg, Long-leg.
If the uninitiated among you think that over a period of time (of playing cricket), the legs of the players become like this, you are way off the mark.
These are just names of some of the fielding positions.

There is a ‘silly point’ too (who is silly is the question).

And a person wearing all kinds of protective gears, gloves etc., stands behind the stumps(called as wickets) and while his job is to see that the wickets fall, he is called as ‘wicket-keeper’.

The bowlers and fielders also ‘appeal’ to the umpires very often as though it is a court of law!

There is something called 'Chinaman' too..China and Cricket?Am I kidding?

Well..it is the name given to a delivery bowled by a left arm spinner!

The best part is while two teams can have a game of just 20 overs each (one over consists of 6 balls), they can also play the game spread over 5 days(6 hours per day).To top it all, the one spread over 5 days can end up in a ‘draw’.Criminal waste of time, energy and money!!

Well.. if by now you have concluded that here is an heir to Bernard Shaw or that this guy hates cricket like how Aurangazeb hated music, you are thoroughly mistaken.

I am a great cricket buff and I go to the extent of seeing music in Cricket.

Then why write all these?
It is always nice to see the lighter side in any event or for that matter in life.
Laughter –the best medicine for any ailment!

In Film music, there have been some great humorous songs starting with the KalaivaNar(the one and only) NSK, Chandrababu, Manorama and a host of others.I can include Nagesh also though he only moved his lips(perfectly) for the played back voices.

These are of course comedians. But there have also been comedy songs involving heroes.

Unlike the popular perception, Raaja sir has a great sense of humour. His first song as a lyricist was ‘poda poda pokke’ from UdirippookaL in the year 1979.’Samaiyal padame’(the original of ‘Enna samaiyalo’) was written by him for the film ‘Manippoor maamiyaar’(1980) and people who do not smile after hearing this song can join the ‘most serious people’ club!

I can quote many more songs but let us look at today’s rare gem. This song was not written by Raaja sir but by Kannadasan.It is ‘Varuvai Kanna’ from ‘Pattakkaththi Bhairavan’(1979).This movie with the weird name must be already familiar to all those who follow this community very closely.

There are some specialities to this song.
First and foremost, it is composed in Kedaram ragam(though many people think that this ragam was first used in ‘Pon maalai pozhuthu’).

Secondly, in between the song, he used the tune of one of the most popular hindi film songs.. In the film 'Avar Enakke Sondham' he beautifully used ‘Kabhi Kabhi’ . In ‘Varuvai kanna’ too, the hindi film tune is used wonderfully.

Let us have a look at the song.

The prelude has the flute, veena and the violins in pure Kedaram and we all begin to expect a classical song.

The pallavi in Suseela’s voice more or less confirms this.But suddenly, we hear catcalls(donkey calls?) followed by the flute still in classical style but in a totally different ragam (traces of vakhulabharanam and punnagavarali).The western instruments like guitar and the trumpets join now.

A very different voice sings a very familiar tune.
Different voice-SPB
Familiar tune-Mehbooba from Sholay.

The interlude is classical again with the flute, clarinet playing Kedaram.
In the first CharaNam Suseela sings about ‘Srungaram’ ‘Krishna’ and ‘Radha’ followed by a beauty. The interlude of Mehbooba played in kedaram.Music for Raaja is like Srungaram to Krishna!

As the CharaNam ends, it is ‘donkey calls’ again and the song seamlessly changes its ‘Bhavam’.
The second interlude has classic touches with more focus on the laya.

The second charaNam talks about the ‘Bow and Rama’ and ‘fine arts and Krishna’.

It is ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ after this.
The orchestration is amazing here.
The same words are repeated in modern style.The song ends with claps in ‘rock and roll’ style.

It is the applause for the many dimensions of the this gentleman’s music!