Friday, March 7, 2014

Veena unusual conversations


Raja’s use of Veena in his compositions is legendary. No composer who came after him have used the instrument so well and few who came before him can compete in this regard.  This is a vast subject as he has used veena in combination with several other instruments. He has also used the guitar in a veena mode (it deserves a separate post later). Raja’s specialty with the use of veena in the C&R mode is his boldness to use it with another similar instrument and still drive the distinction between both these instruments very clearly. Use of the veena and guitar, or veena and synthesizer is a bit risky, but Raja seems to love such risks. We will cover this topic with several clips.

First let’s start listening to some songs where Raja has used the veena in C&R mode with flute. The clip below has several segments:


  1. The first segment (16 seconds) is from the song ‘Ponnil Vaanam’ from Villu Paatukaaran (Tamil 1992). The call is a long one from the flute and the veena responds is not as long. Set to khamas (courtesy: Vel Ramanan), this is one of the finest from Raja in this arrangement category
  2. The second segment (about 15 seconds) is from the song ‘Oru Ragam Padalodu’ from Ananda Ragam (Tamil 1982). The call from the flute is responded by the veena is almost same time
  3. The third segment is from the song ‘Poomalai Vaangi Vandhaan’ from Sindhu Bhairavi (Tamil 1986). The call is a long one from the flute and the veena responds is not as long. Set to Kanada (courtesy: Vel Ramanan), this song uses a lot of hidden western harmony in its interludes though it gives an external appearance of a very CCM laden song!
  4. The fourth segment is from the song ‘Ravivarman Ezhudhaatha’ from Thaikku Oru Thaalaatu (Tamil 1986). The call here is a long one from the veena and it gets a short flute response
  5. The fifth segment is a short one from the song ‘Nee Paadhi Naan Paadhi’ from the film Keladi Kanmani (Tamil 1990). The call is from the flute and the response is from the veena – bewitching melody!
  6. The sixth segment is from the apt song ‘Veene Veene’ from the film Aalolam (Malayalam 1982). The call is a long one from the veena and it gets a short response from the flute


Let’s hear the sample of Raja’s unusual veena-flute conversations …

 


Let’s next shift out focus to a Raja specialty – veena and guitar conversations. The clip below has several segments:


  1. The first segment is from the song ‘Kamalam Paada’ from the film Mogha MuLL (Tamil 1994). The call is from the veena and the guitar responds beautifully. Set to Ramapriya (courtesy: Vel Ramanan), this is one of Raja’s finest in this combination of veena and guitar
  2. The second segment is from the song ‘Nanna Jeeva Nenu’ from the film Geetha (Kannada 1980). The call is from the veena and the guitar responds beautifully. This is a Raja regular 80s arrangement and it gives a fantastic melody
  3. The third segment is from the traditional song ‘Alai Payuthe’ orchestrated by Raja in its traditional kanada ragam. Raja however, adds interludes to this song makes it even more attractive than traditional Carnatic renderings.  The song is from the film ‘Ethanai Konam Ethanai Paarvai’ (Tamil 1983). This is another top veena-guitar C&R arrangement of Raja
  4. The fourth segment is from the prelude of the song ‘Kaalai Thendral’ from Uyarntha ULLam (Tamil 1985). The call is by the veena and the response is by the guitar. However, the bass guitar keeps playing in the background and you can also hear a synthesizer being used in bells mode.
  5. The fifth segment is a rare song – ‘Kaalai Netra Kaatre’ from the film Bhagavathipuram Railway Gate (Tamil 1983). The call is a detailed one from the guitar and is met with a short veena response
  6. The last segment is from the song ‘Velli Nilave’ from the film Nanadavana Theru (Tamil 1995). The call is a short one from the veena and the response is a sober one from the guitar. This is my all-time favorite in this category of veena-guitar C&;R arrangement. To this date, I have not heard such a sweet arrangement between these two instruments

Let’s hear the sample of Raja’s unusual veena-guitar conversations …

 


Let’s next shift out focus to a veena and violin conversations.  There are many examples from Raja’s work over the past 5 decades. The clip below has several segments:


  1. The first segment is from the song ‘Poovai Vinrinjnu’ from the film Adharvam (Malayalam 1989). The call is from the veena and the detailed response is from the violins. Set to keeravani ragam, this is another bewitching melody of Raja in Malayalam in the late 80s
  2. The second segment is from the song ‘Sangathamizh Kaviye’ from the film Manadhil Urudhi Vendum (Tamil 1987). The call is from the veena for which the violins respond. There are two back to back melodies in this segment and two C&R arrangements sandwiched brilliantly by the composer
  3. The third segment is from the song ‘Tham Thananam’ from the film Pudhiya Vaarpugal (Tamil 1979). The call is from the violins for which the veena responds
  4. The fourth segment is from the song ‘Naadha Vinodhangal’ from the film Salangai Oli (Tamil/Telugu 1983). The call is from the violins for which the veena responds
  5. The fifth segment is from the song ‘Pallaviye Charanam’ from the film Oruvar Vaazhum Aalaiyam (Tamil 1988). The call is from the violins at a rapid pace and the veena responds with equally same temp but in short phrases
  6. The fifth segment is from the song ‘Vaidehi Raman’ from the film Pagal Nilavu (Tamil 1985). The call is a detailed one from the violins for which the response is from the veena

Let’s hear the sample of Raja’s unusual veena-violin conversations …




Raja’s work with veena is unmatched by any composer when it comes to the C&R arrangement with this instrument. He uses a blend of Carnatic and western traditions in his conversations. While he claims that he does not do fusion, in this aspect of arrangement, we can easily say that he makes at times both these systems converse with ease!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice work! The 4th segment from the Veena-violin conversation is from "Vedham anuvilum oru" I think. The guitar-veena conversations were very revealing. I hadn't heard some before.

ravinat said...

The fourth segment is indeed the song from Salangai Oli (Sagara Sangamam)

ravinat said...

I did not respond properly. It is not 'Vedham Anuvilum oru'. It is the interlude of the song 'Naadha Vinodhangal'