Pannaiya Bagavadhar: Part I

Whats common among the following words other than being common Tamil Names...?
Jeyaraman, Subramanian, Seenivasan, Ramanujam, Santhanam, Arunachalam, Mani and Shanmugasundaram ...

No Bell is ringing yet..? Come on.. you've got to do better if you are appearing for GRE or CAT.. Ok.. how about now..?

Lalgudi Jeyaraman, Valayapatti Subramanian, Semmangudi Seenivasan, Ariyakudi Ramanujam, Maharajapuram Santhanam, Karaikurichi Arunachalam, Madurai Mani and of course the legendary Sikkal Shanmugasundaram who existed only in celluloid !!

You see, the place of Artist's origin is at the heart of Carnatic Music..

If I am to coin a name for Ilaiyaraaja in the same breadth, it would be "Pannaiya Bagavadhar".

Simply because, It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say, Raaja's contribution to Carnatic Classical Music in the modern era is enormous ...
Simply because, he has ventured into main stream as well as sub-genres of this classical art form never getting constrained by the cinematic boundary but rather using it as an opportunity in the limited avenue of classical theme based movies...
Simply because he is the last standing warrior in composing melodies that stick to a particular scale from end to end and yet packaging it in his own style alluring to a layman.... People who enjoyed "Chinna Kannan Azhaikkiraan" and "Naan Thedum Sevvandhi Poovidhu" and "Endhan Nenjil Neengadha" doesn't necessarily knew its Reethigowlai, Hindholam and Nalinagandhi.

My first Virtual Play list starts with songs that are more classical than filmy. These are the songs that broke the barrier of Cinema within which they are supposed to operate and dared to identify themselves with the much purer Genre..
Read, Song - Movie/ Album - Raagam

1. Poomaalai Vaangi Vandhaal - Sindhu Bhairavi - Kaanada
2. Kamalam Paadha Kamalam - Moga Mul - Ramapriya
3. Vedam Nee Iniya - Kovil Pura - Gowlai
4. Nee Pournami - Oruvar Vaazhum Aalayam - Simmendra Madhyamam
5. Aadal Kalaiyae - Sri Ragavendrar - Charukesi
6. Maathru Bhoodeswari - Guru Ramana Geetham - Saranga Tharangini
7. Sabhdhamayee - Sooriyan - Ragavardhini
8. Kaamakshi Karunavilasini - Raajavin Geethanjali - Rishivani
9. Raama Kanavemira - Swati Muthyam - Reethi Gowlai
10. Unnai Vaazthavandhane - Unna Vaazhthi Padugiren - Karaharapriya
11. Indraikku Ane Indha - Vaidehi Kaathirundhal - Abogi
12. Manam Pola - Pudhupatti Ponnuthaayee - Hemavathi
Substitue:Vaaranam Aayiram - Keladi Kanmani - Raaga Malika (Mohanam, Darbar, Kaapi)

Please note by no means, this list sums up Raaja's classical CV. There are lots of songs still left, which would follow in subsequent playlists. I hand picked this ones for a start because of their pre-dominant classical arrangement - That of Mrudangam as the main Rhythm instrument and the three Vs, Veena/ Venu/ Violin for the melody section. Raaja's usage of Veena in Film music deserves a special mention here.. (such as the ones in Indraikku ane indha, Unnai vaaztha vandhane..);

Though I listed strictly classical numbers here, the versatility shown by Raaja even within this genre is astounding. Nadhaswaram and Thavil are very much part of the classical family although not considered mainstream. "Manam Pola" comes close to matching a "Singara Velane Deva" in that sub-genre. So is the sub-genre of "Katha Kalakshebam" which is also considered classical but not mainstream. And to compose a proper one in that form ("Rama Kanavemira") within the boundary that the film music posed (such as a song should last only around 5 minutes), shows the level of grasp required by the composer.

And finally a quick look at the above list and it reveals some risky Raagas to handle such as Ragavardhini (the song came last year.. How many of you seriously cared for such a high quality carnatic number ..?) While the popular raagas such as Kaanada and Charukesi are abundant, one cannot miss the rare ones such as Ramapriya, Saranga Tharangini etc.. Also its clear KJ Yesudos is the man of choice when it comes to strong classical numbers from Raaja. What a devine association it has been...

Pannaiya Bagavadhar doesn't stop yet...

With Love

Labels: ,