Thursday, 6 May 2010

The simple musical instrument..

The 12 year boy was very excited. He was alone at home and in front of him was a musical instrument. He had been wanting to lay his hands but his elder brother would never let him do that. It was his brother’s prized possession.

What is so special about that instrument?
Coming to think of it, it just has black and white keys and is not very melodious.

But the boy was too excited with the instrument that he started playing it..And then.. suddenly his brother appeared from nowhere and needless to say what happened after this.

But that did not deter the boy from playing that instrument.He did not know the swaras.He did not even understand that.But he was capable of playing any song in that instrument.

His brother was running a drama troupe and was also an active member of a political party.One day, the instrumentalist was absent and without any hesitation, the brother asked the boy to play!

The Instrument-Harmonium
Brother’s name-Varadarajan
Boy???Do I need to say who it was?

Paavalar Varadarajan was a genius. He was a musician, a poet and an orator.
He was also very actively involved in the communist movement during the ‘50s and early ‘60s.

Daniel Rassiah (yes..this is the original name of the man whom we know as ILaiyaraaja now)used to accompany him along with his brothers Amar and Bhaskar.Rassiah would sing in the female voice.

Paavalar Varadrajan penned lot of songs on the working class.He would use the popular tunes from films, modify and make Raasaiah sing.

He also did a lot of research on folk music.

Today, we are going to see one of his songs used by Raaja sir in a film.

The song is ‘Ellorum Poranthom Onnaga VaLarnthom Enna KoNdu Poga Porom..’from Agal ViLakku(1980).

The opening sounds very humorous..

The Flute bit that follows gives us traces of Valaji Ragam.

Ha.. ..before that is the harmonium bit. In fact, no film music composer has used harmonium as extensively as Raaja sir (and don’t we know the reason?).The folk beats add spice.

And then we hear ‘We were born here and we grew up here.But finally what are we taking with us?’(rendered beautifully by Malaysia Vasudevan and Sai Baba)

Surprsingly enough, I find traces of Harikamboji in the song now.
The interludes have the Raaja trademark.Folk instruments with Shehanai and the drums!

The first Charanam take a dig at the society;at the people who cheat;who are deceitful.

The second interlude is another beauty.Very few instruments but look how the pattern changes.

The second charanam subtly attacks the so - called bonds between siblings.

A very thought provoking song with a simple but beautiful orchestration.

As simple and thought provoking as the Harmonium!