Raja has done this extensively, all the way up to ‘Paa’, though ‘Anjali’ comes to mind immediately. He has used children to sing, western, folk, traditional chorus in different situations.
Anjali Anjali from Anjali – observe the choir in the background (Tamil 1990). This song is more known for its children singing and the chorus. The first and third pallavi has some neat children choir backing the lines. The song itself is a great work on vocal harmony. The charanams are executed as a traditional chorus. The second pallavi is also executed as a normal chorus.
Let's hear Anjali Anjali..
Gum Sum Gum from Paa (Hindi 2009) is perhaps the most reused tune by a single composer in Indian films (the 6th time). This song is fully done with children and Bhava’s voices.
Kotaiya Vittu from China thayee (children) (Tamil 1992) The song’s initial pallavi is sang by children. In the charanam, the children repeat Uma’s lines. This is very traditional. The second pallavi is sang by the children fully.
Marangal Tharum from Dhruva Natchathiram (Tamil 1993). This song is sang by children. The orchestration of this song is truly mind boggling. Several initial bars have no orchestra at all. Following this, there is some percussion and some brief violin strokes. What follows this is some 2 minutes of one of the grandest and finest violin and woodwind arrangements by Raja.
Let's hear Marangal Tharum...
Mottamaadi Mottamaadi from Anjali (Tamil 1990). This song is fully sang by a group of children.
Minnaminumgam from My Dear Kuttichathan (children) (Malayalam 1984). This song is executed with children backing Yesudas. The song starts off with some neat children Western choir. In the charanam, the children sing conventional Indian choir in between phrases. Some of the charanam’s mid bars are backed ( 5,6) by children singing in a scat mode. The final transition between the charanam and the pallavi is executed with Das in scat. The second charanam is executed very similar to the first one.
Let's hear Minnaminumgam ...
Vanam Namakku Veedhi from Anjali (Tamil 1990) This song is fully sang by a group of children.
Oru Kiliyin thanimaiyile from Poovizhi Vaasalile (Tamil 1987) - Has children choir and some good traditional and western female choir. There are two versions to this song. From a choir perspective, both the versions are arranged the same way. The children sing some lines in the pallavi and the female choir backs him – all in the pallavi. The charanam has some neat female choir that is perfect western choir with Tamil words – nicely written by Vaali. It’s not easy to get such simple repetitive words that fit the notes so perfectly. Hats off to the combo. You will easy figure this out if you approach these phrases from a musical note perspective. The second interlude has some great innovative choir arrangement. Again discrete notes backed by the bass and lead guitar to give you the impression of a western choir, with perfect Indian ‘la la la’ phrases. It’s hard to match this composer’s one faculty – choir and arrangement! The children’s choir is used as the transition between the charanam and the pallavi.
I am sure there are others that Raja has done and I may have missed. Readers can add comments to surface those tracks...