Sunday, October 2, 2011

Female choir singing set to Carnatic ragas - Yellow tulips

This is very common with Raja’s work. Mostly, the chorus singers sing swaras. The key highlight of this Raja mode is how he exploits the raga of the main composition. If the main song is set to Sivaranjani, he uses the chorus to exploit the other aspects of the raga. This is a clear demonstration of how deeply he understands the raga.

I would like to thank, Suresh for his inputs for this particular post.

Abbani tiyani debba from Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari (Telugu)- Sivaranjani. Raja not only innovatively uses the idea of poly-rhythm in this composition, but also brings the female chorus to further exploit Sivaranjani.

Raathiriyil Poothirukkum from Thanga Magan (Tamil 1984) set to Hamsanandhi. Raja uses the female chorus in both the interludes and to back some lines in the charanam sticking to the ragam.

Let's hear Raathiriyil...

Adukku Malli from Aavarampoo (Tamil 1992)- Karaharapriya. While Raja has done a few tens of Karaharapriya, in this track, he uses the female chorus to back SPB and Janaki exploiting the raga further.

Andhi Mazhai Pozhikirathu from Raja Paarvai (Tamil 1981)- Ramani(?) . Enough has been written about this song which uses several schools of music, Carnatic, Western harmony and Hindustani. While doing all this, Raja still sticks to the main ragam when it comes to the female chorus parts. This is truly some tight-rope walking and the track is considered as a masterpiece of sorts. He also uses the female chorus to sing discrete parts too.

Atho Mega Oorvalam from Eeramana Rojave (Tamil 1991) – Vaasanthi. It is hard to say if the chorus parts in this song strictly follow  the main song’s raga. At times, it does deviate to Hamsadhwani. However, in other parts, he sticks to the main ragam.

Let's hear Atho Mega Oorvalam...

Kai Veenaiyai from Vietnam Colony (children) (Tamil 1994) – Hameer Kalyani. Sang by Bombay Jayashree, Raja uses children to sing the swaras of the ragam and also the chorus parts in the ragam.

Kootathile Kovilpura from Idhaya Kovil ((charanams use choir instead of strings). Interludes have female choir singing jathi and swaras.(Tamil 1985) – khamas. Lovely track and the female chorus parts stick to khamas.

Let's hear Kootathile Kovilpura...

Maan kandaen Maan kandaen from Rajarishi (Tamil 1985) Vasantha. The chorus starts off the prelude singing a humming set to Vasantha. The charanam has the female chorus singing their humming in the same ragam. The second interlude has the female chorus singing detail swarams of the ragam. The second charanam is structured similar to the first.

Malargalile Aradhanai from Karumbu Vil (Tamil 1980). The entire charanam is backed by female choir. The interludes are heavily ornamented with choir. Set to Keeravani, the prelude has the female chorus singing their humming in Keeravani. The first interlude expands the female chorus further in the ragam. The second interlude is set in a tricky way but still sticking to the ragam, typical Rajaish way.

Let's hear Malargalile...

Naadam Ezhunthathadi from Gopura Vaasalile (Tamil 1991) Set to Sriranjani, the first interlude has some fantastic Sivaranjani parts by the female chorus, backed by the mirudhangam. It is so rare to hear such compositions today. The end of the first charanam has Yesudas singing the swarams of Sriranjani like he would do in a Cutcheri.  The second interlude has some specific swarams of the ragam expanded by Raja again with the female chorus. The second charanam has the female chorus singing several lines – at least 12 bars!

Oru Devathai Vandhadhu from Naan Solvathe Sattam (Tamil 1988) – The prelude of this song has the female chorus singing Saranga. This is a rare song of SPB and Asha Bhonsle that went unnoticed. Observe the use of the ragam in the first interlude with the flute. The second interlude has some more Saranga explored with the female chorus.

Let's hear Oru Devathai...

Poongatre Theendathe from Kunguma Chimizh (Tamil 1985). Set to Brindavana saranga, this track starts off with the female chorus singing parts of the ragam. Observe the female chorus in the charanams backing Janaki – they stick to the ragam. In the second interlude, the female chorus further expands on the ragam. Fantastic execution of the ragam.

Let's hear Poongaatre ...

Sundari Neeyum from MMKR (Tamil 1991) – Set to Kedharam, Raja has used the female chorus extensively using the drum kit as the percussion. The prelude of the song has the female chorus singing Kedaram. Even the female chorus humming in the pallavi stick to the ragam.  The first interlude has some parts for the female chorus and they sing along with the synthesizer. Towards the end, they sing alone, but throughout, they stick to the ragam. 

Let's hear Sundari Neeyum...

Thoongatha vizhigal rendu from Agni Natchathiram (Tamil 1988) – If there is a film music reference for Amirthavarshini, it is this track.  The orchestration for all tracks in this movie is very modern, but Raja sticks to Carnatic roots in some of the tracks. His music has stood out beyond everything else in this movie as a result. The prelude has the female chorus singing parts of the ragam. The first interlude has the female chorus singing along with the violins, the parts of the ragam. 


Aakarsh said...

Amazing examples Ravi! You are really picked some of the best songs where the chorus usage follows the raagam very well! If i have to further filter down to choose my favourites, it will be Sundari Neeyum & Thoongaatha. Needless to say, they are such lovely compositions! and chorus usage is top class!

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Another excellent post Ravi.

Movie: Ullasaparavaigal Song: Deivigaraagam.

I am slave to this song.Midnight listening of this song is soulstirring.

Designing each part of the humming is very artistic.
Absolutely divine.

Particularly the impact of humming is so angelic and soulful when Jency is at the end of both saranams.It is a bliss.

Humming that follows Jency differs each saranam.

There is echo effect found in the song.

I wrote about this in my blog also.

Suresh S said...

As usual a lovely post and examples. This type of usage by Raja happens so well and in so many songs. It was very nice going through all the songs you mentioned. That Saranga is really nice. One of the few Sarangas Raja did.

Suresh S said...

And what a chorus for 'Malargalile Aradhanai' Superb. It is great that you are highlighting such techniques. Can't help being amazed by this man and his music.

Unknown said...

Hello Ravi,
how are you?
Have you listened to Raja's work
with Budapest Symphony Orchestra to render "Thiruvaskam".


pramod said...

nice to listen south music as i wanted to embed on my blog too ...Pls suggest
My BLog

Unknown said...

Nice collection and explanations. Thanks a lot Ravi.

Subha Rajagopal said...

Just loved it!No words!

Unknown said...

No words to express.perfect picks of raaga and chorus explanation. Good.keep updating.

Anonymous said...

Superb..Raja has exhibited his mastery over the ragas in several other compositions which you omitted Ravi..Eg..1.Kanmani anboda naan ezhuthum kaditame in Guna....2.
ennulle ketkum geetham sung by Vani Jayaram for the film Rosappu ravikkaikkari..