Monday, February 1, 2010

Chocolate Flavored Cleverfolk


This category has folk lyrics presented with camouflaged WCM interlude arrangement. It takes a while to figure this one, but is very popular flavor among listeners. The flavor is hidden by tabla arrangement to an otherwise Western string section.

Poovarasambu Poothathu from Kizhakke Pogum Rayil (1978) – Observe the second interlude in this track – the flute parts followed by the accordion. This track has three charamans – if you observe the 3rd interlude, it freely uses bells and a sliding violin scale. Now, this is supposed to be a folk track. Nice flavoring by the master ice cream maker!

Samakozhi Koovuthamma from Ponnu Oorukku Pudhusu (1979). This song is another classic with violins, synthesizer, guitar and flute all set to a typical western arrangement but cleverly hidden with congas and tabla based rhythm arrangement. The second interlude is a beautiful call and response arrangement between flute and bells. The third interlude has an amazing counterpoint between the synthesizer and the violins.

Pothi Vacha Malligai Mottu from Man Vasanai (1983) – this is another classic Raja song that has some outstanding Western orchestration, but cleverly disguised with a tabla and folkish lyric.

Rasanthi Unnai from Vaidehi Kaathirunthaal (1984) – this is a classic Raja song that I have described in the section called ‘Revisiting folk’. Suffice to say that this is wonderful western orchestration camouflaged with tabla rhythm arrangement.

Muthu Mani Maalai from Chinna Kounder (1991) – the comments that apply to the previous track applies here too.

Pacha Malai Poovu from Kizhakku Vasal (1990) – this song is a classic Raja track that uses folk lyric but completely western orchestration arrangement nicely hidden behind the tabla rhythm. As I have mentioned in the section – ‘counterpoint with flute’, Raja has done some outstanding flute and guitar counterpoints in the track. Also, the violin work in the first interlude uses another western orchestration technique of call and response with a long passage with flute answered by violins followed by the synth and bells.

Onnavida from Virumandi (2004) is another track with a folk lyric but the interludes are set to a WCM style arrangement. If you observe the second interlude, the arrangement is quite stunning. If you keep your mind off the lyrics, the interludes are part of the vanilla flavor of Raja.

These are some top of mind examples of folk songs where Raja delivers one of his most successful flavors. This type of flavoring shows the creativity employed by Raja where he takes his strong WCM foundation and applies it to folk lyrics making it very palatable (pun intended).

The clip below has Poovarasambu Poothathu followed by Samakozhi Koovuthamma and Pothi Vacha Malligai Mottu. You can also hear Onnavida at the end. You can notice how cleverly Raja hides a Western interlude within his folk melody.


1 comment:

Aakarsh said...

Beautiful examples, though incomplete. The problem with IR's body of work is such that it is too huge to take just 4-5 examples.
Like the ending of that Marathi Lavni in "Hey Ram", which contrastingly switches to heavy WCM. Killer of an idea.

Good post.