I leaped out of my seat listening to the Jaladharangam in the prelude of the song - "Kothamalli Poove" - a not so famous song from the movie 'Kallukkul Eeram'. Ever since I heard the Jaladharangam in the song "Dheena Karunakaranae", I have had a fascination towards this wonderful instrument. But blame it on the 'too-many-choices-available' world, I never really had a moment so far to reflect on this instrument... And this song was a trigger to revive my (listening) interest on Jaladharangam..

Contine reading on Jaladharangam, Ilaiyaraaja and "Kotha Malli Poove" below..
Contine reading on Jaladharanagam (only) here.

'Kotha Malli' or Coriander or Dhaniya as you may have known, is a herbal LEAF adding aroma to quintessential Indian cuisine.. So how bizarre a song can be - that glorifies Kotha malli's Poo (flower) while paying no attention to its leaves...? As bizarre as an authentic Jog raag getting no attention in a beautiful rustic south Indian folk song.. This song, Kothamalli Poove from Kallukkul Eeram (Listen to it here) is a high quality melody in Jog Ragam set to a very rural arrangement for a typical Bharathiraja backdrop. This is certainly another hidden Hero'sglyphic :-)

Now Coming to the topic of the blog post, I am fully convinced that the prelude of this song predominantly employs a original Jaladharangam, although its often paired with another instrument in the backdrop. Bbut towards the end of the prelude, you can listen the unique timber of Jaladharangam quiet prominently.. that too in a fast tempo typical of this instrument. The tone can be further confirmed as original (and not electronic) when it appears for brief passages in the interludes again.. Also the application of the instrument alongside Mirudangam and sometimes as an answer to it is quite interesting. The overall setup of the song truly amazes me.. You can visualize a bunch of villagers doing their daily jobs and the village life is well captured in the melody, making the facts of Jog and Jaladharangam insignificant..

Now thats Ilaiyaraaja for you...

The only another Jaladharangam in Tamil film music in recent memory, that immediately pops out in my mind is the song "En Veetil Thottathil" (Gentleman).. But AR Rehman, went for an artificial Keyboard based Jaladharangam tone that clearly lacked the rustic punch of waves moving back and forth across water.. It leaves a mouth 'watering' proposition to imagine what if a perfectionist in sound like him took pains to use the original instrument instead..

Though not popular now, this instrument was very widely used in the Tamil Film music by the likes of G Ramanadhan and KVM. So in that context, its unique that Raaja has used the 'real' instrument, although I must admit sporadically. I am quite curious to know if there are other songs where this unique instrument is used...

With Love

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