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.

2 comments:

..|.. said...

Hmm... one thing that was missing, and that I was looking forward to from this post was whether you liked Thiruvasagam or not. I thought it was pretty good, but the parts sung in english were unnecessary, and sucked.

As for the album not being sung in Punns, i think it's okay, as long as it sounds good.

--
Guru

Escape.... Great Escape said...

Well i did really like listening to the vaasagams... but feel if something ought to be sung one way.. (does not apply to film music or other commercial music), it has to be done only by them and in that correct manner.

The other problem is that the thiruvasagam MUST start with "Namachivaya Vazhga", butit does not. This can be discounted considering this a 'pop' version of those great songs. Anyway, I would like to see a few peoples reactions to silent night sung with a South Indian Classical Overture by Sudha Raghunathan... with the lines and order in general messed up.