Monday, July 25, 2005

ThiruvAcakam - stirring up some interest too.


The guy supposedly 'born' to perform the fusion work...

There have been many a question about the intent of Illayaraaja trying to remix the Thiruvasagam with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. Most of the questions were directed at Illayaraja's intent, the Thiruvasagam's intent and the things he would have to compromise on to undertake this. The interview on SS music on Sunday cleared a few of those and brought up a few more.

1. The Thiruvasagam is a bunch of songs sung in praise of Lord Siva by Manikkavaasagar. The saint, one of the 63 Naayanmaars, has has a truly remarkable relationship with Lord Shiva. There were 3 other great Naayanmaars, Appar, Sundarar and Thirugnana Sambandar all of whom wrote songs in praise of Lord Shiva, songs now collectively called Devarams.

Now, the problem is that, just as there is a grammar for language, the Devarams and Thiruvasagams have been set to a tune, called 'Punns'. The Devarams are set to the Devarapunns and the Thiruvasagam to the Thiruvasagapunns. Chaste tamil scholars have voiced their displeasure at singing the songs in a different way which does not give the chanting of the hymns the desired effect. Imagine singing "Oh Holy Night" which is a revered hymn of the Christians to the tune of the Indian National Anthem. I think it would tarnish both the anthems.

2. Secondly Illayaraaja has mentioned that the intent of his making the Thiruvasagam was to generate public awareness to this great piece of poetry. This has come under a lot of flak among the learned who seem to view Illayaraaja's idea of fusing Dravidian and Western classical just in order to make it more popular, a tad arrogant. They feel, in-fact, making the 'Punns' also famous by singing the Thiruvasagam the way it is meant to be, would have created a much better effect among the people who are going to relish it and generate a lot more awareness considering the stature Illayaraja commanded.

3. The intent also seems to be a contradiction, since the people who are going listen and learn about the Thiruvasagam will not know the complete beauty of poems, without knowing the punns and the people who are going to have their curiosities piqued because of the involvement of the Budapest Orchestra are obviously going to get only that part of it without understanding the story behind the poems.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ah Aaah - Music Album review



This is Ah Aaah.. a remarkably unworthy album to review.. not as much for its lack of interesting originality as for its complete lack of aesthetic appeal. I know it is too much to expect a Meenakshi or a Boys everytime in terms of freshness and surprise factor, but AH AAAH is downright pathetic.

A quick overview of the songs.
Anbe Aaruyire -
The lyrics sound like S.J. Surya's is trying to pleasure the nether regions of all Tamilians. The beats are totally ordinary and jarring. The only saving grace is the voice of A.R. Rahman which makes it atleast a tad worth listenable. I only wish he was more powerful instead of singing in the usual nasal voice.

Mayilirage
Naresh Iyer sounds like Tippu and Madhushree sounds like a North Indian abducted by LTTE and having a severe bout of STOCKHOLM syndrome. Why? Arent there enough Tamil singers who can sing Tamil songs ? Why write Tamil in Hindi and try to pronounce it? Do you love Tamil so much Madhushree/Sadhna Sargam....???

Varugiraai
I have no interest in this song apart from a vague Enigma sounding beat at the beginning that made me listen to the track a couple of times. It is decently rendered with a lot of importance given to the voices of both Hariharan and Chitra, without trying to drown them in a bass drone. I am looking forward to the picturization of this song. It seemed promising in the trailers.

Thigu Thigu
Sadhna Sargam having sex with Thamizh again without its consent. It will be the song where the heroine gets completely drenched in the rain showing a lot of thigh and cleavage and with fire in the BG. One more ordinary song from the kitchens of ARR.

Thazhuvividu
Balasubramanian song has a very interesting start but tapers off after that. It does not incite even the least amount of interest in you apart from that still amazingly young voice.

Maramkothiye
As if Mayilirage was not enough we have another song with the same forgettable tune sung this time by four people. Shankar Mahadevan's voice sounds so distorted that you wont identify it if it were not for the casette cover. Blaazee does his usual stuff and the song drones on without a stop. There are no more songs to skip to... So you switch of the player half way through and start watching a movie on Star Movies.

As usual, sample upon sample upon sample without any instruments assault you in this album. Usually at one point of listening to ARR's music, you want to listen a few 'natural' sounding sounds.. something that you have already heard before, and some instrument being played melodiously... like the guitar, or the flute in Thee Thee.... In this album, you actually start yearning for the tabla or the violin... or the flute... for simplicity far more earlier than the any other ARR album. The album is one more of the run of the mill productions by ARR. Buy it for completion's sake, and not out of interest or for aesthetic satisfaction.