Monday, September 25, 2006

Pramadavanam-Tribute To Ravindran-Part-IV

The film Bharatham (1991) had many credits to it. It won the National awards for two stalwarts of Malayalam Cinema. One for Mohanlal (Best Actor) and Yesudas (Best Singer). Ravindran Master missed the award by a whisker but managed to get a special mention by the jury! The unfortunate tryst with Ravindran Master and awards thus continued! Nevertheless he gave the best and toughest songs to his favorite singer Yesudas who was the only one who could match up to the challenges he put forward in every song. His loss will always be felt. This January, I had the fortune of asking Dasettan about the song Ramakatha from Bharatham and he told that this song was recorded in the night when he suddenly had the urge to sing! He rang up Ravindran Master and asked him to come to the studio. The song was recorded in a single take! The Nagaswaram parts were added later and hence in the original song seem a little out of tune. I hereby attempt this immortal song which is indeed tough to sing. This was one of the many toughest and "breathless" songs composed by Ravindran Master for Yesudas!
Song: Ramakatha Ganalayam
Film: Bharatham
Originally sung by: Dr. K.J Yesudas
Music Director: Ravindran
Lyrics: Kaithapram

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Well I was really wondering why someone had not observed the difference in the swaras deviating from the main raga of this song! I never had the guts to ask Ravindran Master about this as I never thought I had the necessary knowledge in carnatic music to do so! But Dasettan voluntarily did say to me in January when we sang together for Ravindran Night at Thodupuzha that, there was a deviation from the original raga at the place of the swaras in this song due to the wrong use of swaras in the beegees. He also spoke that the use of "Pa" was intentionally done by Dasettan himself! Sindhuja, since you have pointed out another, out of the way swara now, I would like the knowledgeable listeners to ponder on these points and give their explanations! The raga is with

Arohan: Sa, Ri, Ga , Ma, Dha, Ni, Sa

Avarohanam: Same swaras in reverse order

So there is no place for "Pa" here as in the whole song till the swara rendering "Pa" is not used. But after the usage of "Pa" there is also the use of "Sa" in the place of "Ni" at "Ni Ni Dha Dha" and also the last note should have been "Ga" instead of "Ri" going by the swarasthanas. I place the original song in the voice of K.J.Y for reference.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Telugu Song-Maateraani-Oo Paapaa Laali-S.P.B-Illayaraja Magic Again!

And finally I managed to get a nice Karaoke with which I could begin my innings in Telugu. I had been frantically trying to get one for so long since I have not sung Telugu film songs since I left Vizag in 1991. This one is Materaani Chinnadaani from Oo Paapaa Laali, a dubbed version of Keladi Kanmani in Tamil. This song was a rage in the end of the eighties as it started off a competetion of sorts among leading singers in singing songs which had stanzas leaving one breathless! We also have had Shankar Mahadeven singing breathless and also K.J.Y doing that occassionally in some Raveendran Songs. But nevertheless this song was a beautiful composition yet again by I.R and which attained magical proportions in the terrific voice of S.P.B which is always deep rooted in expression!

Song: Maaterani Chinnadani
Film: Oo Paapa Laali
Originally sung by: S.P.B
Music: Illayaraja
Lyrics: Veturi Sundara Murthy

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mayi Ri(Dastak)-Madan Mohan and Lata-Divine Ecstasy!

When I first heard the song, I wondered how anyone could sing this song as Lataji had sung! This was years back. Then recently I stumbled upon the Madan Mohan version which rekindled my interest in the song. My search for a karaoke track ended yesterday and I did not waste time in trying it. Madan Mohan and Lataji were made for each other in music. They created sheer magic and the result was divine everytime. All the songs were gems and it is no wonder that in any music competetion you find that most of the songs rendered are Madanmohan-Lata compositions! His songs were different from others. He was very strict and was very particular about the lyrics that he used in his songs. His orchestration was a connoisseur’s delight. He did only 104 films in his 25-year career, of which maybe only 10 were box-office successes. But all his songs are remembered only for their music and are immortal! He never won many awards, but two films released after his demise - Mausam (1975) and Laila Majnu (1976) - became runaway hits. Suddenly, his name became the most revered among composers - and is still held in great esteem. None of his films would be listed in the top 100 of Indian cinema, but at least 10 of the 100 most-remembered film songs would be his. The song that I present here is from "Dastak" which fetched him a National Award. There are two versions as I mentioned earlier and I have used both versions as my base. Somehow I am finding a new delight in singing female songs as they give you the freedom of giving original and fresh perspective and expression to the song whereas when you sing male songs you tend to go with the tide most of the times and also are liable to be compared more. And what a song it is! I think no composer-singer duo would ever create such magic again. This song excells in melody, mystery, emotion, singing excellence, and whatever else you could ask for in a song! It's sheer divine ecstasy!
Song: Mayi Ri
Film: Dastak
Music: Madanmohan Kohli
Originally sung by: Madanmohan and Lata Mangeshkar Seperately
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Anuragamananda-A Malayalam Ghazal from Anyar

Ramesh Narayan started his film debut as a music director with the film Garshom. This film had the terrific song Parayaan Maranna which was rendered by Hariharan. Raveendran master once told me about how he came to know Ramesh Narayan. He had already heard his trademark "Tilang Raag" used by Rameshji for the above song and was really impressed. Then out of the blue Rameshji called him up one day and described his love for Raveendran's songs! And now it's left for a few some like Ramesh Narayan and M.G Radhakrishnan to carry on doing classical based songs in films after Raveendran Master's early demise. Rameshji has composed many classics like "Oru Naru Pushpamai", "Chanjadi Adi" etc. A student of Pandit Jasraj, he was asked by Jasraj to popularise Hindustani Music in Kerala. He is a very popular classical vocalist in Kerala other than a being music director. I had the good fortune of singing in his latest film Arunam which is yet to be released!
I present a terrific song from the film "Anyar" which is set in the ghazal mood. K.J Yesudas has already made this song a nostalgic one. The song was also marked by remarkable choreography in the film. A difficult song to sing, I have tried my best. The raga of this song was also one of the favorites of the late Raveendran Master!

Song:Anuragamaananda
Originally Sung by: K.J Yesudas
Music: Ramesh Narayan
Lyrics: Kaithapram
Film: Anyar

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Swasathin Thalam-Vintage Illayaraja!

There would not be a single soul in the world that would not have experienced the real pangs of Love. When love strikes it strikes hard and leaves you blind and bruised very often! The song which I have presented here attracted me so much for its romantic aura and it carries the passion of love to its fullest. I desperately wanted to sing it from the very first time I heard it. The song and the scene of the motorcycle rides(in the film) would take many of us to those vintage old romantic times we might have had {now, do not get any wild ideas. I am not suggesting anything here:-)}. I.R scores once again in this beautiful romantic song from Achuvinte Amma. Vidyu (Virginia U.S.A) has rendered the song endearingly with all its emotion and expression intact! Mixing the song was a challenge as so many effects have been used for the voices in the original song. I have given my best shot here.
I am putting up two versions as per feedback already received. This is just to show how such effects change the overall effect of the song completely for the better or the worse :-)
It's for the listner to judge!
1) With Doubling effect as in the original song
2) Without Doubling effect (My Version) for those who would like to hear the clear voices!

Song: Swasathin Thaalam
Sung by: Pradip & Vidyu Appaiah (Virginia, U.S.A)
Film: Achuvinte Amma
Originally sung by: Yesudas & Manjari
Music: Illayaraja
Lyrics: Gireesh Puthencherry
1) With Doubling Effect on Voices
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2) Without Doubling Effect on Voices
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Mookambika and Kudajaadri - Abode of God's!

If I thought that I would be free from the crowds of Kerala, I was wrong! At Mookabika Temple in fact almost 98% of the crowd was from Kerala and I was surprised to see that my face was familiar to most of them! So I was not short of support when I sang at the Saraswati Mandapam at the sacred shrine on 6th. We also went to the Dharmapeethom, half a kilometer away from the main shrine at Kollur. The Dharmapeethom was started by Swami. Tathatha and has a huge dome which holds a powerful "stone sthambha" which is in the process of being glorified and energized. The process would be completed by the next year. It is a huge dark hall which is completely silent. I sat there alone for almost 10 minutes and meditated. I instantly felt the strong radiations of positive energy all around me! It was a great experience. The ceremony of “Awahan” involves the purification and energizing the stambha with the mental energy of many enlightened people around the year. This is supposedly for the benefit of the entire world from the powerful positive radiations from the place. The sacred hills of Kollur are said to have strong magnetic fields which radiate lots of energy waves.

The next visit was to Kudajadri hills where Devi Mookambika is said to have killed Mookasura and it was Shankaracharya who brought her to Mookambika from Kudajadri. If he would not have turned around in doubt she would have come all the way to Kerala! This is ancient myth. Whatever the myth the reality is that it was a terrible ride by Jeep all the way from Kollur to Kudajadri! Immediately after we started, the Jeep driver ran over a dog and we had to caution him to drive slowly. Our nightmares started when we reached the place where the tarred road ended and the climb to the heavenly abodes started. The Jeep danced and swayed all the way to the top. We dared not to look outside as what we saw was the deep craters down on our left and right and we prayed to all the Gods we knew! At some places there was no path! All stones and big gaping holes. But the Driver drove like a man possessed and finally we were on the top almost one and a half hours after we had started from Kollur. It was like we had reached the land of Indra! It was a photographer’s delight! I did not have the best of the cameras to shoot, but made merry with my Konica 4.0 Mega Pix camera.

The big spear almost 25 feet long with which Devi is said to have killed the Asura "is still there in tact" and is corroded, but still holds a chance for someone to try a carbon dating test to see it’s real age! This ride to heaven cost us Rs. 1200/- But I felt that this was too small a price to pay since the driver had risked his life, (and ours) and the condition of the vehicle would have deteriorated so much that he would have to shelve out all that he earned for it’s maintenance.

Monday, September 04, 2006

An ONAM Song and a LATA Song!

Falling in love, on first sight, can be for a beautiful maiden, an exquisite place, the new Video iPod, the Mac OS, iMac or a song! I fell in love with this song the very first time I heard it during my College days. Salilda’s wizardry has always baffled me! Hence when I got this awesome sounding karaoke track courtesy my friend Pradeep from Houston, I did not think twice! Also singing and mixing this gave me more joy than singing those horrible modern day songs in “sandwiched” made up “Music Shows”! This is the first time that I try the song of a female singer. Hence this is entirely in my natural style. Salilda’s songs are like the ocean, calm for the outside, but raging with the sudden up’s and downs of the tides which keep one guessing till the end. He might have been the only one other than Madanmohan, with that mischievous élan for taking the singer and listener to the extreme dangerous limits, with the totally unexpected beautiful twists and turns all throughout the song! This song is also one of the technical masterpieces of Lataji! Hearing this one wonders if any one else could sing with such control, fineness and refinement! This is an apt example for all singers of the new generation on how important it is to have every word of the song immersed in sruthi. When we sing as much as we can, fully immersed in sruthi, matching our voice with the backing instruments, the better the song sounds. This is the scientific reason and one of the many other reasons, for our ears liking some songs while not being interested in some others. We may call it a combination of resonance, harmonics, timbre, etc.
There is no excuse for pitching issues in songs in these days when software can transform even crows to cuckoo’s! Imagine how difficult it would have been in those days of analog single track recording, to sing a song as difficult as this in a single stretch. And take the case of our super star singers in Malayalam who struggle to sing the same song on stage which they sang in films! I recently heard an interview of a very famous singer who is a star son who was struggling for breath, and not able to sing a song he himself had recorded for films! He had no qualms in admitting it though!
Song: Oo Sajna
Film: Parakh
Originally sung by: Lata Mangeshkar
Music: Salil Chaudury
Lyrics: Shailendra

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Yet another ONAM arrives! Many music lovers had requested an ONAM song. As a bonus I post this Adipoli (peppy) ONAM song for all of you. This song is from an ONAM album of mine for which Balabhaskar has set the music. I will be out of station for this week and will be back to blogging mostly by this week end. So wishing you all a very HAPPY ONAM! Hope you enjoy both the songs! The photo to the right shows "Pulikkali" (Tiger Dance) held on the 4th day of ONAM celebrations and is a speciality of Trichur, my hometown.
Song: Nangeli
Album: Onappeeli
Music: Balabhaskar
Released by: East Coast Audio
Lyrics: Gireesh Puliyoor
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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Konjaneram-Madhu Balakrishnan & Asha Bhonsle!

Madhu Balakrishnan is the rising star of the South Indian Film Music. After the success of "Kana Kanden Edi" in Tamil, the Malayalam film fraternity, who till then had been giving him a raw deal relented. Now he sings in all the south Indian languages. His speciality is a deep voice with sound classical base. He is a very good friend of mine and belongs to the rare breed of "gentleman" singers. He is one of the very few singers who in spite of not having born with a "silver spoon" has established himself finally through determination and hard work and not through "short cut methods" adopted by many others of his generation. Such methods may give initial break- throughs but would not sustain in the long run. Only true talent and hard work will. He is the dark horse who will finally rule the rest in the long run.I present a melody here which he has sung with the legend "Asha Bhosle". This song is also is a mark of our respect to the evergreen voice of Ashaji who celebrates her Birthday on this friday! I also introduce a new female singer with whom I am singing for the first time on my Blog. Sri Vidya Kasturi needs no introduction to the Audio Blog world though. She is an excellent singer who gives her heart out to give expression for any song she sings. She has also an excellent range and a wonderful voice! I would like to take an anticipatory bail this time as this track is the original with vocal suppressor software applied. So kindly bear with the audio quality. This is the best what one can do with such tracks. I would be very happy to replace it with a better karaoke track if someone can volunteer :-)
I have also tried to give an entirely new perspective to the song in my own way.
On this occassion I would also like to thank all the wonderful music lovers who have contributed in increasing the hits to this Blog from 5000 to 10,000 in just a month! Your love & encouragement keeps me and this Blog going!
Song: Konja Neram Konja Neram
Singers: Pradip & Vidya
Film: Chandramukhi
Music: Vidyasagar
Originally Sung By: Madhu Balakrishnan & Asha Bhonsle


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Friday, September 01, 2006

Murali Ramanathan's New Audio Blog!


Murali Ramanathan, was my student at College of Applied Sciences Puthupally, where I joined in 1994. We, the teaching staff, used to take advantage of his melodious voice during the intervals then. I had a pleasant surprise when he sent me an e-mail after 12 long years! I am very happy to say that even though he has chosen the software profession, his singing talents have not diminished and on the contrary have become more pronounced and mature with his strong classical background. I am indeed proud to introduce this student of mine to the Audio Blogging world. I think the name Murali itself comes with awesome talent as our own Murali Venkatraman! So I welcome him to the audio Blogging world and request all the music lovers to hear his voice and encourage this awesome talent!
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