Friday, November 2, 2012

Usage of Carnatic and Western choir in a single track - Red, white and Blue tulips

This can be male, female or both. This is a very rare occurrence in Indian film music and Raja has done this with ease. Again, this is a Raja specialty that few composers have comfort handling. Talk about resetting the bar even higher!

Kadhal Oviyam Kandaen from Kavi Kuyil (Tamil 1977) – this track is by Sujatha when she was a little girl. The 1st interlude has western style choir arrangement. The 2nd interlude has Carnatic style chorus backing!

Let's hear the interludes of Kadhal Oviyam Kandaen...

ABC Nee Vaasi from Oru Kaidiyin Dairy (Tamil 1984) – This  song appears like a typical Raja melody till you closely pay attention to it. Set to Mohanam ragam, Raja embellishes it in many ways using the female choir.  The prelude has some neat carnatic humming by the female chorus. The pallavi has the female chorus humming along. The charanams have no strings backing the singers. The female chorus backs the singers fully. The second interlude has some neat Western choir by the female singers in the scat mode. 

Halli Lavaniyalli Laali from Nammora Mandara Hoova (Kannada 1996) or Alli Sundaravalli from Kangalin Vaarthaigal. The track starts off with the bass guitar and is continued so nicely by the keyboard and a very jazzy female humming. The humming in the pallavi is a complex one where parts are sang by Chitra and other parts by the melody singers. I particularly enjoy the arrangement of humming where Chitra hands it over to the melody singers - nice!   Interlude 1 starts off with a nice flute playing in counter to bells. It is smoothly transitioned to a nice call & response between flute and keyboard supported by the bass guitar. The next handover is to a nice chorus arrangement - very modern, yet classical. Only Raja can think of these phrases. The chorus is backed by a very pleasant synth and bass guitar.The chorus is complex with Chitra and the melody singers taking turns, overlapping at times. The flute adds another dimension to the chorus. This is one of the best chorus arrangements of Raja in recent times. 

 The charanam is a very nice melody with some of the phrases sung by SPB and the others by the melody singers. While SPB freaks out with his modulation, the melody singers are embellished by the bass guitar and the keyboard.  Interlude 2 starts off with some heavy flute and synth work. All three arrangements play simultaneously - synth, flute and chorus for the first nine seconds. The chorus that follows is another complex arrangement - the interplay between flute and chorus in counterpoint blows you off your socks. WOW Raja! And as though it is not enough, he throws in another little curve ball at you - a nice call and response with two sets of choral voices. The bass guitar lines take care of the rest and the transition to the charanam. If you recollect some of Raja's tracks such as Malargalile Aaradhanai (Karumbu Vil) or Malargale Nadaswarangal (Kizhakke Pogum Rayil) or Naadam Ezhundhadadi (Gopura Vasalile), the chorus is all classical. If you recollect tracks such as Oho Megam Vandhade (Mouna Ragam), Rojapoo Ada Vandadho (Agni Natchathiram), the chorus is set to a western arrangement.This is chorus on steroids! It can't get any more modern, any more classical simultaneously.

Let's hear the interludes of Halli Lavaniyalli...

Aruna Kirana from Guru (Malayalam 1997). Guru was another Raja – BSO joint venture. You can always expect some great Western choir when they come together. The grand symphonic prelude ends with some male chorus in tribal mode. The pallavi has some male/female chorus parts too. The charanams have some conventional humming and some lines sang by the female and the male chorus. The second interlude has some female chorus parts. 

Oh Priya Priya from Idhayathai Thirudhathe (Tamil 1985) – male choir is western and female is set to Carnatic in interlude 1 singing in harmony. The second interlude has the female choir in humming mode. This song is set to Sivaranjani ragam.

Vanam Engey from Nenjiladum Poo Ondru (Tamil 1978) – the prelude and some parts of the interlude are beautifully interwoven between western and CCM choral parts

Let's hear the interludes of Vaanam Engey...

Illalo Kalise from Anveshana (Telugu 1985) or Nizhalo Nijamo from Paadum Paravaigal (Tamil 1988). The first interlude has some great mixed western choir arrangement. Raja uses Balu to sing swarams on top of the western choir arrangement in the background and ends it with some fantastic violins. A real treat for the connoisseur of choir! The second interlude has the male choir in the foreground and the female choir in the background. Again, Raja uses different Balu swarams to overlap the choir arrangement.