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Monday, March 13, 2006

Audio Post-Swara raaga sudha - From andha 7 NaatkaL

Vocals: Meera, Murali
Film : Andha 7 naatkaL
Composer: MSV

Well after a hiatus. I am putting a song for your kind / unkind scrutiny. This song was featured by me in as the "Song of the day" probably 4 days back. I set a very simple karaoke track devoid of all the interludes. What I have to say about the song can be found below, but I need to say a word about my co-singer - Meera Manohar.

I came to know Meera as a visitor to my blog and when I checked her songs out in her webpage I was mightily impressed. A beautiful voice with a clear diction ! I think she is one of the best singers I have come across and has persuaded to sing some songs (both film and my compositions). We have worked independnetly on the song and hence when I heard her version first, I got goose bumps. I look forward to working with this very talented artist in the coming days

From dhool:

Today we feature a song "Swara raaga" - from the Bhagayaraj Classic - Andha 7 naatkaL. I saw this movie when I was young and did not quite understand the intricacies of love at that time (well..I guess the condition is still the same Smile ) All I remember is that I laughed my gut out whenever Kaja sheriff (?) - the sidekick of Bhagyaraj - came in the scene and the way bhagyaraj reacted for some situations rolling his eyes in a comical manner. Also, I remember enjoying all the songs which to this day, IMO, are some of the most beautiful compositions from the one and only master - MSV. To any person, who is unfamiliar with MSV's composing style, I have always suggested "kavidhai arangErum nEram" and "thendraladhu unnidaththil".

(1) "Kavidhai arangerum" has a beautiful cascade like structure where every upcoming line seems like a logical (rather magical) extension of the previous line. It is a song, where it appears, no line can be replaced with a different tune (excluding MSV' here) and be delivered as is - without any extra improvisations.

(2) "Thendraludhu unnidaththil" - must have been analyzed to a great extent in tfmpage earlier. But every time I listen to this song, it makes me wonder how somebody could come up with something as lovely as this. While "Kavidhai arangErum" is a composition which appears like a neat flow of logical music, this song is a maverick composition. In the charanam, every alternating line uses a different gandhaaram. for e.g. -

uLLam engum pongum aasai indru thangaradham ERiyathu - uses G3.
unnai paarththu sollum vaarththai indru gangai ena maaRiyadhu - uses G2

This goes through out the charanam. Unless the composer is a genius, such a composition is impossible.

(3) eNNi irundhadhu eedEra - is a song I have liked but never held in high regard when compared to the other two songs.

I had always thought that this movie had just three songs. I had no clue I will be pleasantly surprised by another classy number, the SOTD, from the master - a number which probably did not attain as much popularity as the other three. "swara raaga" is a beautiful composition sung by Jayachandran and Vani Jairam, which lacks the pomp and grandeur of the other 3 songs in orchestration. But this must never be held against it since the tune is absolutely classy. In the pallavi however I found an odd thing happeneing:

ssa ri,ma mri ri,sa sasarisa sa;;;
anu raga mO hangaL uNarhthtugaiyO

Whereas the harmonium which follows the line and plays the notes sounds :

ssa ri,ma mga ri,sa sasarisa sa;;;

This is a subtle but important difference. The former denotes a prayogam in raga "shudhdha saaveri" and the latter sounds like "aarabhi". These ragas are close and can be confusing for amatuer singers especially. (In fact aarabhi and saama are even closer to confuse you enough that you will quit thinking about carnatic if you are an amateur).

Initially to me it appeared that JC had not really picked up the master's composition since I believe MSV played the harmonium in the song. But, when I listened to VJ, I was convinced that JC had done his job fine. The reason I say this is because, I am a person who believes that VJ is one singer who NEVER goes wrong in the notes. She is like an absolute reference point. Since she sings the line exactly the way JC sings, I came to a conclusion that JC is vindicated.

ok, then what about the harmonium ? I think it was MSV himself who played, but given a master marmonium player that he is, I am compelled to believe that it is his eccentricity that showed up in playing. I remember Sriram Laxman telling me how MSV had played some entirely new chord progressions for his old tunes on his harmonium when both met. I choose to believe that MSV just played the harmonium in a way different from the pallavi tune in jest.

The rest of the song however meanders through so many different swaras that one wonders if this man really required any "raaga" to compose songs. A genius in every sense of the word. Another beauty is the alternating malayalam and tamil lyrics - two languages I die for. CheNda meLam is some thing that has hardly been used in tamil songs. This is another specialty in this song.

Enjoy the SOTD and please let me know when this song is featured in the film.