Monday, May 10, 2021

Nearest Neighbor – Mirudhangam and tabla

Most popular Indian music of today avoid both these instruments. Mirudhangam occasionally features in songs that are based on Carnatic classical ragam. Electronic rhythm pads have almost eliminated the tabla and even if tabla is used, it gets drowned in the loud folk songs of today in films.  Raja, not only used these two instruments a lot, he has also used them in very unusual situations.  The focus here is not in the usage of these instruments separately, but how these close cousins are used in a single composition.  In this nearest neighbor, Raja, surprisingly uses just one technique, call and response.

The first 8 seconds of the clip is a call and response between the tabla and the mirudhangam in the song, 'Sanga Thamizh Kaviye' from Manadhil Urudhi Vendum (Tamil 1988). The second part of the clip is from the song, ‘Manjolai Kili thaano’ from Kizhakke Pogum Rayil (1978 Tamil). In this song too, the call is from the tabla and the response is from the mirudhangam.

Let’s hear these Nearest Neighbors – Mirudhangam and tabla ...


Nearest Neighbor – Guitar and Synthesizer

Today, most guitar sounds in popular music are actually played on the synthesizer. However, there are some songs, where Raja has chosen tones that are close to a guitar and placed them next to an actual guitar. This requires an out-of-the-box thinking that can potentially backfire. While some may have, this post will include a few examples, where the experiment worked very well. As with all other nearest neighbor examples, there is no one technique that he follows. I will describe them along with the clips. 

The first 18 seconds of this clip is the song ‘Thene Thenpandi Meene’ from Udhaya Geetham (Tamil 1984). The guitar and the synthesizer play the same notes and still you can clearly hear them separately too. Thought he composer places them this way, it is not out of place at all. The second part is from the song, ‘Ponnil Vaanam Poothathu Kolangale’ from Villu Paatu Kaaraen (Tamil 1992). The composer chooses to have the guitar and the synthesizer as a parallel counterpoint, enhancing the beautiful composition. The last part of the clip is from the song ‘Vasantha Nilave’ from Sooryan (Malayalam 2007). In this clip, the composer arranges a call from the synthesizer for which the guitar responds.

 Let’s hear these Nearest Neighbors – Guitar and Synthesizer