I am looking for singers (male & female), preferably with Tamil knowledge, lyricists, drummers, keyboard players, flutists, guitarists for my album. If you are interested, please leave a comment or contact me via my profile page

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

'Pun'ny Headline

Warning : Sense of humor/wit is a prerequisite - don't try this at home - AND don't ask me to explain :)

From Hindu.com - "Cong. to move cautiously on tie-up with DIC-K: Chandy"

ROTFL - politicians deserve this pun.....

Saturday, March 04, 2006

[Song Watch] Duet

Back with music review after a long time - was looking at my draft and found this was stuck since oct ! - long gap by any standards - standing testimony to even one of the few things that i love to do (music,analysis) suffered by the blog de' interest syndrome ;)

A very non-K Balanchander with so much masala-mass entertainer elements, rumored partly due to the fact that Prabhu (hero) - was acting in his 100th movie. Nonetheless, KB's love for ARR's music and the maestro's loyal weave of his magic wand to produce lovely melodies for KB's banner continued...

En Kadhale - SPB

Summary: A simple, soulful song with minimal rhythm, set in a dreamy ambience, conveying the pangs of pain from the separation of lovers. Amazing rendition, lovely chords and wonderful lyrics form the core of this song

Details: SPB opens this song with his legendar voice. His silky, golden voice lends such melody to the song. Sax, being the theme of the movie, is used as the 'duet' singer of the song. Lovely chords join in to complete the pallavi.

Sax interlude which is short, but beautiful takes you right to the stanza. SPB and higher octaves are guaranteed to produce the goose-bumps that you sorely miss in the new-gen of singers. Piano and bass guitar adequately back the stanza. The standout section is 'Ini meeLvadha' (2.12 - 2.27). Lyrics - Vairamuthu seems to have had a field day 'Amudhenbhadha, vishamenbadha, illai amudhavishamenbadha' (Translation: What am i to call you ? - as sweet as nectar, or a poison or a poisonous nectar ?)

Second interlude provides the interesting, context based composition - where Anjali (herione) appears, and the hero, playing the song, gets carried away and renders 'Anjali Anjali' (reviewed later) and recovers his composure to continue with the song. Beautifully interwoven that section is ! Second stanza is no different than the first, including, how SPB simply distances himself from other singers strolling this earth with his rendition !

Quite minimal bass & chords section (relative to ARR standards), supportive rhythm, nice dreamy sections also adorn the song. The tune and SPB are tailor-made for each other. I'm quite positive that no other singer could have done such justice to the emotion and diction evoked by power-packed words of Vairamuthu.

Rating 4.8 out of 5

Sax Theme Sad

Simple bass (wood?) forms the ideal backdrop for a free-flowing alaap by the Sax (KadriG ?). Nice and short, still wondering what made them title it as 'sad' :-? :)

Rating 4.2 out of 5

Duet Title Melody - Kadri Gopalnath

Summary: Theme/Title melody of the film 'Duet' played out by the peerless KadriG with a sad slant to the tune, slowly begins to grow on you and has you hooked-on to the end. Lovely instrumental section. ARR must do more of these kinda pieces !

Details: Hearbeat kinda lub-dubs welcome you to the song. With female chorus setting the stage with some humming, KadriG dons his wonder-hat and belts out AWESOME rendition of the ragam Kalyana Vasantham ( A: s G2 M1 D1 N3 S, Av: S N3 D1 P M1 G2 R2 s) - a janya of 'Kiravani' melakartha. The alaap can compete with most carnatic performances second-for-second. The splash of waves of water (thematic) and the birds chirping away, set the tune for some early morning context.

Starting at 1.48, the song takes an upbeat turn - percussion joins in the mela, with the KadriG upping the tempo. Female chorus singing swarams to back the twist and turns of the song forms a beautiful combo. 2.07-2.15 showcases, the maestros command over the ragam, what beautiful brighas that are made out ? Bass and chord provide so much emotion to the theme, starting at 2.45- 3.01. Just when ARR has you awestruck, the song tapers off suddenly !. Tease and stop seems to be the keyword ! - Guess, we will have to live with the tease rather than the absence of it ! ;)

Awesome composition and rendition !

Rating 4.8 out of 5

Kathirikka Kathirikka - Sujatha

Summary: Enterprising, catchy and foot-tapping casual song. Lyrics are very amusing taking potshots at the 'fat' (chubby) Prabhu (hero), starting with age-old cliche of 'Endha kadayila nee arisi vangara' to 'Othayila nee nadantha oorvalam pogudhenu...' (When you walk-by-yourself, people call it a procession). Sujatha comes out all aces with this song.

Details: Bass backs up alaap of the first line Kathirikka. The rhythm gets interesting with the shakers/bells that are part of the horse-rides or bullock-carts along with a liberal dose of Ganjira sounding percussion. Amazing bass and guitar riffs support the pallavi with Sujatha emoting very well. Especially, when the words 'moochu muttanum' (breathless) where she literally sings those words breathless bringing a nice-touch of reality singing ;)

ARR pulls out his typical rhythm-alaap for an interlude - simple, but keeps the momentum going. Stanza is on predictable lines, more conversational but sweet, filled with minimal chords (guitar?) and nice work on bass continuing.

Second interlude continues from where the rhythm-alaap left off in the first. But then, ARR has other ideas. He plays around the words 'Kathirikka' using a female chorus providing nice variations to complete the second interlude. Stanza follows the first stanza to a 'T' and the final sections of the song provide a nice crescendo.

Classic example of no-frills, simple, sweet, easy and casual song - very well sung.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Mettu Podu - P. Susheela, SPB, Kadri Gopalnath

Summary: Carnatic based melody, sees the return of the queen-of-yesteryears P.Susheela, the combo of SPB and KadriG producing very loveable melody. Mridangam and Drums form an awesome pair producing very foot-tapping tune. Good use of chords, nice bass riffs (mute?), and nice selection of instruments (which has always been ARR's forte) like Veena, makes this song appealing to everyone.

Details: Susheela opens the song by singing the verses from 'thirupugazh/thevaram' (not sure, pls be kind enough to correct me). Even after all these years, she still has the knack for singing and beautifully does her part. Ragam Anandha Bhairavi (A: S G2 R2 G2 M1 P D2 P N2, Av: S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 ) is written all over the song. Interestingly, after this album, there were a spate of songs based on this ragam :-)

Against the roaring beats of the drums, SPB starts off with 'Thangame...' KadriG opens his account as well. Starting off at 1.56 - there is this interesting instrument, which shows up occasionally at the background, playing some wonderful sections, goes quite unnoticed in the larger scheme of things :-(. Chords and Mridangam are so apt and increase the melody value of the pallavi. Once again, i have to, but, register my surprise at how sweet/musical mridangams do sound when played at ARR's stables !

The first interlude is so beautifully done with guitar/veena combo (Kaapi'sh touch ?). I simply just cant stop loving that section between 2.47-3.04. Amazing ! =d>

Stanza is an interesting structure of 1-2 between the Sax and singer. Mridangam and drum continue their lovely, musical journey with some adorable company from chords and the reappearance of the 'mystical' instrument. Watch out for the section starting between 3.38-3.48 when the piece is simply awesome, with every passing line, the song seems to gain on melody.

Second interlude, is KadriG all the way with awesome alaap of Anandha Bhairavi, this time around, the mridangam more free-flowing and chords to back it up. The Kaapi section once again brings the song to the second stanza, which is a very similar to the first one.

Song extends to shower you with some lovely interchanges between SPB and KadriG on the sax. Yet again, you can listen to the music produced by the mridangam and bass shows up for a brief period to bring this superb song to a close.

Right from the word go, till the end, there is not a moment of slack, lovely rhythm, wonderful tune, nice instrumentation, awesome singing by SPB and KadriG - Perfectemo !

Rating 5 out of 5

Kulicha Kuthalam - SPB, T.K Kala

Summary: A simple folkish song, with SPB at his playful best. Catchy rhythm, and selection of instruments reinforce the theme of the song. TK Kala, seemingly caught ARR's attention with her voice (she used to be a regular with DD's troupe) - that she unfailingly finds a spot with any of ARR's rural based attempts (check out most of ARR/Bharathiraja combos- why dont they pair up any more, produced some good melodies) , does a decent job. Quite a faced-paced song.

Details : Gummi (Dandiya?), claps and jalra along with drums (emulating a ganjeera ?) forms the core rhythm and sets off the song. SPB starts sounding in his 'festival' mode right from the word go. Lyrics are based on "perfect-pair" themes, needless to say, hero-herione including themselves amongst the other perfect's ;). Before you know, you land up at the pallavi - which witnesses ARR lending his voice, quite similar to his attempt at Chinna Chinna Asai (Roja).

Charanam is a logical extension of the pallavi, and ARR irresistably brings out his chords which makes the section Koozhukku mor molaga (2.06) sound very pleasing (and makes the stomach growl too ! - mor molagais - yummy !! :-D ) The second interlude uses a chant like arrangement to kick start a flute section and tops it off with lovely veenai. The second charanam is no different than the first one.

This was a typical masala song, with not much scope or value for experimentation, and ARR takes the safe route out. Bit disappointing

Rating 4.2 out of 5

Vennilavin Theril - KJ Yesudas

Summary : A love-lost song, showcased, ARR's inclination to experiment with his orchestration - memory serving me right, one of his first attempts at using hordes of violins. KJY who was seemingly active at that point in time for ARR (Raakozhi - Uzhavan) renders the song with his usual elegance. Good work on the bass and chords makes this a quite complete song.

Details : Violin piece, that forms the core of the song, opens this song. KJY starts the vocals and nice female harmony/chorus helps accentuate the pain the hero is supposedly undergoing. The running bass, rhythm arrangements, shakers all form a critical combo that keeps up the tempo of the song. For those interested in lyrics, check out MIO for the same.

Quite an one of kind ARR experiment, definitely successful - could have been more variations in the song itself.

Rating 4.3 out of 5

Anjali Anjali - SPB, Chitra

Summary : A must-hear melody, super selection of instruments, lovely arrangements, chords, lyrics, and amazingly emotive vocals. One of maestro's All time best melodies.

Details :Sax plays out the opening lines of the song with Chitra following the sax. This intro alreadys sets you up in a cheerful mood. Some of the bass riffs reminds you of Kanmani Anbodu (Guna - IR). Some improvisation on the sax paves way for SPB's rendition. Guitar and bass follow the lead vocals with nice chords. Chorus like echoes of SPB's voice adds to the beauty of the lines poove un padathil... The first interlude is just a walk-through of the song's opening and just serves the purpose of setting up the charanam.

Boy, is it worth a wait or what ? - Maand ragam ripped inside out it is ! Starting at lines thirumagal thirupadam the piano rolls form a nice backing tacking the song to a wonderful crescendo at 3.29, the song returns to the few lines of the pallavi, without actually landing at Anjali - a nice setting after hitting the high octaves.

Chitra, seemingly unable to wait to get her chance to showcase, throws in her weight with a wonderful alaap of Maand - She is at her best when she does such alaaps that lets her demonstrate her improvisation skills. The charanam however, makes her sound strained at the higher octave, may be it should have been in a lower one ! - but the interesting addition to the instruments is the tabla which is a amazing - the Loy Mendosa style of 1980s.

The third interlude (yes, this is a long song - 8 odd minutes :-)) - is Naveen putting his hand up to add to the top-class performers. Whatever flute-like instrument (piccolo ?) it is, it is too cute and lovely. Amazingly done, only as he can, Naveen later returns to the closing stages of the song with super alaap backing to the rendition - just too good !. (The same way ARR does in Netru Illadha Matram - Pudhiya Mugam).

Must hear !

Rating 5 out of 5

Naan padum Sandam - SPB
A nice and easy song, with SPB and Sax forming the 'duet' for a song, that bases it theme on duality of everything. Quite a fusion genre song - with very good improvisation by the Sax (Kadri G ? - no credits available on the web) - Very soothing relaxing song - ideal for a sleep-time play list :-)

Rating 4.4 out of 5

This movie announced ARR's arrival on the stage with melodious, classical-based song quite apart from the popular fast-paced rhythm number that he was more known for. The alliance with Kadri G, was so successful that they repeated their magic with one more Carnatic based number Sowkiyama in the movie Sangamam. SPB was another major contributor with his inimicable enthusiasm. This album, is a must-have in any music lover's collection.

Overall Rating : 4.6 out of 5

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