Tuesday, June 7, 2011

IR's different approaches for composing songs - a perspective

Some people complain Raaja does not use some ragas....Regarding non-usage of certain ragas, I think IR does not find the need to use them in the first place. As he says repeatedly in his interviews, he writes music as it comes to his mind. If it happens to be in a particular scale/raga, then you can take it as a bonus.

I think this accidental occurrence of a definite pattern or raga is there in 25% of his songs. It just happens...For instance, rakku muthu rakku in Natabhairavi is probably not intentional. Same with several of his Natabhairavi or shankarabharanam numbers. Sikkaadha sittonnu from film sedhu in Abheri is probably another such case.

In another 50% of the cases of his songs, he uses his unparalleled, god-gifted talent in following a strict raga pattern. These songs are water-tight & compact, within the boundaries of the scale & the intention to remain within the scale is clearly visible, while he yet succeeds astoundingly in answering to the emotion that the song needs to convey. Umpteen examples come to my mind..Partha Vizhi in Pavani raga from Guna to depict a lover in trance like feeling, kanakaangi raga in mogum ennum theeyil from sindhu bhairavi movie to depict aptly the musician sivakumar’s turmoil caught between family ties & his new found love lust etc.

In balance 25% cases of his songs, it is either of the following,

a) a WCM oriented compositions wherein looking for raga pattern will be a disastrous exercise (minmini parrvaigal from Julee Ganapathy…here he moves chord to chord, and is mind boggling to follow the swaras that appear, in a carnatic perspective) is to be discussed only from a WCM angle

b) is a folk number or alternatively, a very oft repeated & dumb “heroine introduction” song, where it is best to remain very “light musical” is nature…(anne anne sippai anne from kozhi koovudhu, china poongaavanam vanna brindhaavanam from eeramaana rojaave for instance)

c) he has just freaked out, with no intention to stick to any particular scale (Poove sempoove in solla thudikudhu manasu…Song starts with shankarabharanam prelude, the pallavi starts with shankarabharanam, then to natabhiaravi & finishes of with a fleeting touch of Ni3 to reach keeravani. Then the first interludes in gowrimanohari, the first stanza resumes in shankarabharanam, turns to harikhambhodhi, back to natabhairavi, then reaching back to pallavi into shankarabharanam’s laps. PHEW !! Wait, its not over yet…the second interlude is keeravani, then the similar template of first stanza applied to second stanza and then back to shankarabharanam. Then the journey ends where it took of, with slow guitar accompanying that mesmerizing flute. Raga? What Raga? Konji Konji from Veera is another classic that mixes three different ragas…dharmavathi, gowrimanohari & shankarabharanam…

d) His dazzling mathematical mind comes to the fore, wherein he precisely jumbles swaras, pushes them few notches/pitches up & down, and sits back and smiles as we lay listeners fight amongst ourselves on the intended raga & the intended thala..(here is where the art of shruthibedham figures in…listen to “Kuyile Kuyile”..just in the pallavi, the first time you hear kuyile kuyile in one raga, and two lines down the line, he has shifted a few notches up & reached another raga….keeravani’s shruthibedham family, God knows )

There might be songs that we may have missed. In a discussion forum, someone gave an obscure song link, and people confirmed it to be kambhoji from IR.. Anandhabhairavi appears in ‘kala maadu onnu’ if I am not wrong…its from movie magalir mattum..the stanza with Nasar & Oorvasi…it starts with “Naal thorum Ninaithu Yenginen…thoongineen”…Oorvasi retorts,”aanalum asadu neenga thaan, vangonna madiyil thoongathaan…” something to this effect…Regarding Thodi, recently there were diluted ones…“en mana vaanil” from kaasi (uses Ga3), nethu kodutha vaartha onnu from kaadhal saadhi (again uses Ga3 which I guess is OK for thodi)

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