There are very few composers who have used the santoor in South Indian film music and today, this instrument is almost extinct in film music. A beautiful sound, similar to harp in western symphony orchestras, Raja has exploited the instrument extensively. In this post, we will see how Raja uses Janaki again as his orchestral instrument alongside the santoor instrument. This is not just a unlikely neighbor, this is also unimaginable for almost all Indian composers.
The first 18 seconds of this clip is from the song, ‘Maniye Manikuyile’ from the film, ‘Nadodi Thendral’ (Tamil 1992). Raja creates a counterpoint with Janaki’s humming with the santoor thoughout the clip The santoor is the background melody and the flute responds to Janaki’s call. This again in PolyCare, Raja style!
From 20 seconds to 47 seconds of this clip is from the song ‘Mannavane mannavane’ from the film ‘Thandhuvittaen Ennai’ (Tamil 1991) is a pure pot of gold in orchestral terms. The way this song is arranged is with the santoor and the bass guitar doing the background melody. A number of things happen in the foreground. A call from Janaki is responded by the flute followed by the violins. The second call by Janaki and the responses from the flute and the violins are all different from the first. There is a total of 8 melodies arranged as PolyCare by Raja in these 27 seconds, very Indian, but technically Western. The only two constant melodies are the santoor and the bass guitar. Salute the genius!
The last 5 seconds of the clip is arranged as a harmony of violins and Janaki’s voice bridging to the charanam from the interlude.
Let’s hear these Nearest Neighbors – Female solo and santoor …