Friday, August 29, 2014

Krishna Janmashtami special...

Krishna Janmashtami special - This is one of the orthodox Viraha songs about Radha’s longing for Krishna. “Dekhan chahat kamal-dal-lochan, sunan chahat mridu bani” means “She always intends to see only lotus oriented eyes of Krishna and listen to his sweet tone”. Raaja sir has created a fabulous Viraha feel through this melody. Although the song is based on common time signature of 4/4, Raaja sir has arranged the eccentric & appealing rhythm pattern; whether the tabla’s replication of miruthangam’s rhythm pattern on 1st interlude or Rudram knocks on Chanda or backing rhythm for chittaswaram, the rhythm arrangement is simple & well striking. Chitra amma’s rendition is icing to the cake. When she sings the Akaaram initially or the line “marundhaana neeyae nooiyaanadhenna” wherein she pretends to be Radha - Viraha feel was well expressed… Raaja sir’s free flowing melody from His musical soul melts us in Viraha feel. After all He is an Incarnation of Music : )

~Raaja rules ♫

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Raaja Blues

~Yesterday Narayanan sir informed me that the song – Katrai konjam from Neethane En Ponvasantham is being played in Big FM (92.7) often. For more than a couple of hours, I was patiently listening to the screaming of RJs & ear-piercing ads. Sharankay anna sent an SMS as “Don’t worry ticket booked”. Right away, I called Anna with a mixed feeling of joyous & being deceived for not listening to the song.

Anna: (as usual) hmmm sollu

Me:  Anna pattu kaettaella?

Anna:  Nee kaettiya?

Me:  Illa Anna :-(

Anna:  Dai, pattak kaettu pesu, ennoda twitter accountla soundcloud link irukku paaru…

Me: Thanks Anna, I shall call you back in 10 minutes…

Somehow, managed to get the soundcloud link and played the song – Katrai Konjam…then after a sudden transition of musical fabrication in the interludes, stanza started…after a couple of lines –couldn’t control the tears rolling on my cheeks.  After Thalattu kaekkathane from Nandalala, this song made me emotionally inclined at its 1st listening. The transition of melodic flow at “Thalli thalli paonaallum...” created so much of pain, couldn’t restrict myself stopping the song.

From nowadays, in the forums, fans would be posting like “This song has jazz elements or based on 7/8 timing or that line has this raaga or chord progression is wonderful or blab blab blab…” Well, in my personal opinion, this song should not be butchered with musical analysis. This song should be celebrated in a different dimension. So far Raaja sir has composed a plenty of blues composition, however, this is an important & unforgettable song for me by a different stand and so does, this music album :-)


~Raaja rules ♪

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Light music - an unknown private album

Thookkam vare illa unto early morning 5 o’clock…simply switched on fm radio in my mobbie. Light music from private albums, I was so interested in listening to those deglamorise compositions. Surprisingly, the 1st song – Thyaga annai by Janaki, penned by Thamizhanban was actually composed by Raaja sir. They played a couple of songs from the same anonymous private album, Naadu athai naadu sung by ML Shrikanth based on social issues in 6/8 timing and the other song was Kullanari kootham penned by Muthukoothan and sang by Janaki amma & Malaysia Vasudevan, which is actually like gypsies were singing about the culture shock in the city based on 6/8 timing, a real “Dappankuthu” song.
No idea of this album & when could have been released, probably mid 70’s. Still, I am so glad that I got an opportunity to listen to such a private album by Raaja sir. Infact, listening to this album was like a Dream before the actual sleep *wink*


~Raaja rules!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Annakili - a revised blog

Actually, Raaja sir had composed songs for a movie called "Deepam", which was supposed to have the casting of Gemini Ganesan & Padmini, Script by Rammaiyya & Direction by Raghunath.

1st song's lyric was penned by Gangai amaran that was sung by TMS. The song was about Lord Shiva. Unfortunately, that project was called-off.

Later, a couple of similar movies were dropped off, for which Raaja sir was signed to take care of music department.

An Annakili started flying over the musical sky:

Exactly, the same date before 35 years, the movie - Annakili was released {14th May 1976}. Through which our Raaja sir was incarnated as an individual composer. Raaja sir not only got his métier by this movie, however, He has dedicated Himself & His life for music and became inspiration & almost as a demi-god for many music aspirants.

This movie has six songs as below:

1. Adi raakaayi mookkaayi - Suththa chamba pachcha nellu - S.Janaki & Chorus
2. Annakkili unnai theduthe - S.Janaki
3. Annakkili unnai theduthu - T.M.Soundararajan
4. Machchanap paaththeengalaa - S.Janaki
5. Sonthamillai panthamillai - P.Susheela
6. Machchanap paaththeengalaa – Pathos

And some coincidences are,

1) His first Oratoria {Thiruvasagam} also has 6 songs.

2) 14 - 05 – 1976…1+4 = 5, 05, 1+9+7+6 = 5.
His first symphony has 5 movements.
He has invented the ragam 'Pancha'mukhi.
His 500th movie was 'Anja'

3) His first cine song - Annakili unna theduthae and first song in Oratoria - Poovar Senni Mannan are based on the ragam - Sindhu Bhairavi & ¾ time signature.

While talking about its compositions, there is always a fuss that Raaja sir is the first composer who has introduced folk music in tamil cine music. Of course, not...However, He has musically fabricated the folk tunes with Carnatic and western idioms, which is an innovate factor, like usage of harmony {western idiom} in Machchanap paaththeengalaa or arpeggios in a lude of Annakili Unna theduthae & when Sivakumar reveals about his necessity of job & in other scene, Sivakumar talks about his marriage to Annam, arpeggios were played in ¾ timing. Classical guitar played vital role in the songs & re-recording & also, usage of Moog synthesizer/synthesizer in Adi raakaayi mookkaayi - suththa chamba pachcha nellu and many to be pointed out.

It was actually ace-musician Chandrasekar’s synthesizer was played in this movie, however, due to his absence; some other musician has played the synthesizer.

Title card begins with ethnic rhythm played in 6/8 time signature and when Raaja sir’s name appears melody of Machchanap paaththeengalaa will be played. Annakkili unnai theduthe is a herione introduction song, which is supposed to be a peppy song, however, this song has strong melancholic feel in the undercurrent based on the generic - Viraha. It gives bluish feel, not only because of the lines: Kanavodu silanal nanavodu silanal uravillai pirivillai thanimai palanal, but also with the orchestra arrangement.

Normally, after a main character dies in the movie by those period, a shehnai will be played as a re-recording to give more gloomy ambiance, however, in this movie, Shehnai in the re-recording stops after Annam dies, a percussion beat comes and a couple of lines from Annakkili unnai theduthae…

In one of the beginning scenes, when Srikanth speaks with Annam, in the background a rustic voice sings a folk song – Enthan usuru mattum vaaduthadi , which was actually by Raaja sir himself. Later the same melody was reformatted with the songs - Maate ante maaatenanta - April 1 Vidudala (telugu) & its tamil version is Poi sonnean poiyye sonnean from Sathiyavaan, Ilaiyaraaja's Music Journey: Live in Italy has a harvest melody part - Velli pidiyaruval dhakku mukku dhikku thaalam poodu...& Solai ilankuile from Annakku jey!

When the movie Annakili was remade in Telugu as Ramachilaka (1978), music was by Satyam who has reused the same tunes composed by Raaja sir as in Tamil.

However, Raaja sir has reused the tune of Sutha chamba pacha nellu {Adi raakkayee} for the song Pachi Pala from Varasudochadu {telugu}.

Days and time are running so fast, however, its songs are always standing beyond their time. It’s not only a music journey of Raaja sir, however, his fans are also travelling along with His music in their own style.

Recently, actor Sivakumar asked me with a surprise how come you remember the release date of my movies – Annakili, Palootti valartha kili (20 – 08 - 1976) & et al., I said… I am an Ilayairaaja sir’s fan…!!!

Bhantham raaga bhantham unthan
santham thantha sontham
oolaiyil vaerenna sethi ISAI thevanae
en uyir Un ISAIyin methi…!


~~Raaja rules ♪

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Baila is a native music of Srilanka. Baila in the contemporary Thamizh movies is getting mandatory, which are in wide range of original Baila texture to House genre mix. However, applications of Baila in Raaja sir’s compositions are either in the native form or with its generic rhythm pattern of Raaja sir’s characteristic melodic formation.

In my understanding, Baila songs are composed in 6/8 time signature with native drumming on mounted drums, drum kit or rhythm pad, guitaring, brass arrangement & accompaniment of electronic tones. Although its melodic line is in a linear format, it gets shaped out according to the diction of Sinhala or the pure accent of Thamizh.

The original Baila melody of “Suraangani suraangani” was featured in the movie - Avar enakke sontham. In Azhagae Unnai Aaratthikiraen, the foot tapping number “Hey Mastaana” has the application of Baila in the pallavi & 2nd saranam with 6/8 time signature whereas the other 2 respective saranangal are in ¾ time signature & their melodies are according to the stipulation of the script.

If the songs “Siragadikkira Kuruvi” from Rajasthaan & “Chorus Paadura” from Paathu Paadava are ideal contemporary Baila numbers in all the aspect then the songs “Kaamaatchi Meenaatchi “ from Mudhal Iravu, “Agayam Mele “ from Naan Vazha Vaippen, “Kanna Un Leela” from Nalladhoru Kudumbam, “Anne Anne Sippai Annae” from Kozhi Kuvuthu, “Enga Ooru Englandthu Raani” from Padicha Pulla & “Maamane Maamane” from Neruppukkul Eeram are traditional Baila tracks. The poppish Baila numbers “Happy New Year” from Oh Manea Manea, “Kalyana Tharakare” from Eeramana Rojave & “Enna Paaduvathu” from Keladi Kanmani with pleasant harmonic addition.

Unnaale Thoongale Yemmaa” from Vetri Karangal & “Cheppana Unnapani” from Aswamedham are romantic duets with the contour of Baila orchestration.

Humorous numbers like “Vaikira Idathil” from Anney Anney, “Oru Pathu rooba” from Oru Vittu Oru Vanthu, “Kanda Kanda Pasanga” from Devan , “Policesu Mattum Enna” from Thedi Vantha Raasaa & “Saavari Kaaru” from Padikatha Panaiyaar have the tendency of Baila genre. The song “Arae Oranga Srilanga” from Singaravelan too a Baila oriented song has His own melodic manipulation with different rhythm pattern in ¾ & 6/8 timing. And this list is continuous...!

Raaja sir has covered the musical globe from west to east and with the applications of Baila, He has crossed the borderline of Cape Comorin as well.


~~Raaja rules ♪

Friday, December 10, 2010


Celtic music was originated from Greek & Roman and later, it was considered to be music of Indo-European region & reportedly, their folk music.

Normally, these compositions should have their native instruments alike Accordion/Concertina, Irish Flute, Bagpipes/Uilleann pipes, Banjo, Tin whistle & et al.,

* Raaja sir started its music cult from the Oorampo - Ponnu Oorukku Pudhusu days itself...

* 2nd interlude of Athadi kathadi from Meendum Oru Kathal Kathai has typical of Celtic melody

* 2nd interlude of Poongaththu athu from Nilavae mugam kattu has Celtic fusion with tribal rhythm texture

* Vanampadi from Thalayanai manthiram & Thamaraikodi tharaiyil from Aananda Kummi have tinge of Celtic elements say in the prelude itself...

* Karutha machan from Puthu nellu puthu naathu:

Well, it's prelude has southindian folk instrument called Urumi, resonance of two violins have Celtic nuances and this lude ends with popping of bass guitar and harmonica melody was replicated through synth

* Kaathal thiruda from Pickpocket is “A Polka” song with Celtic 2nd Interlude

* Iniya naal from Manasellam - 1st part has rich children's choir, 2nd movement has 3-part choir with vocal harmonies & Celtic fillers

* Oru naal oru kanavu from Kannukkul nilavu is a Celtic-folk song

* 2nd interlude of Thalattu from Paatukku Naan Adimai

* The trill on flute Konjam thira from Oru naal oru kanavu has tone of Celtic-Pop Capercaillie's "When You Return"

* Interludes of Adaganide cheppedi ela or Kaise kahan from Shiva 2006 or Solvatharukku sol from Udhayam...

* Prelude & 1st interlude of Dheemi dheemi or Manasa adagava from Shiva 2006 or Oru naal maalaiyil from Udhayam - 2006

* Kaattu vazhi - Adhu Oru Kanaa Kaalam & Meri paa from Paa are Celtic-folk numbers.

These compositions have intense melody of Celtic, which was well played with violin & so does the song - Pandathe naattinpuram from Ponmudi Puzhayorathu

* Prelude & 1st interlude of Andala Lokam from Gaayam 2

* Rangu Rangu from Prem Kahani is a typical of Celtic-pop & so does the Swalpa Soundu from Suryakaanthi (Kannada) & so on...!

A big thanks to
Ravi Natarajan sir who has kindled me to showcase the nuances of Celtic in His musical gems...


~~Raaja rules ♪

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nadaibetham - Raajanadai II (நடைபேதம் - ராஜநடை II)

Yelamala Malai from Nadodi Thendral:

This song is based on 3/4 time signature. At 03:26 a rhythm punch stops the song & after 3 count {1,2,3}, 2nd interlude starts with change of rhythm pattern & tempo; still it sustains in the same 3/4 time signature.

Oorellam un pattu from Oorellam Un Pattu:

In Raaja sir's version, there will be a thala jathi change at middle of the charanam --Aalam vizhuthukal polae TO Unatharul thedi-- Still, song will be in the same time signature of 3/4 only. There are a few 100 songs of Raaja sir has this sorta change in jathi.

Change in Thala jathi or syncopation is a common factor in Raaja sir's compositions. Especially, it occurs at the Saranangal {Stanzas}.

Aagaya vennilave tharai meethu from Arangetra Velai:

Although Raaja sir has composed the song in 4/4 common time, the ace lyricist - Vaali has penned the song with consideration of melody as 3/4 time signature. So, its vocal melody is based on ¾ and the rhythm accompaniment is based on 4/4. However, both of them would concord at 12th count.

This is an unique composition with poly-time signature.

However, there are some Raaja sir's songs wherein change of time signature {mixed} or Nadai {beat cycle}.


Nadai-betham is a process of changing a particular beat cycle to another & may regain the original beat cycle. Just for example, 4/4 time to ¾ time signature & again back to 4/4 common time.

Jinjinnaara from Rajasthan is a fine example for the aforementioned account.

Basically, this song is an "Electro-mix" rhythm oriented song Or simply an "Electro-pop" song. It is based on common time of 4/4 common time.

However, the rhythm cycle changes to ¾ time signature at the timing of “02:06 - 02:22” {From Naan pidichathellam to Un aththa ponna sonnapadi kattikullappa by Arunmozhi} & again "04:10 - 04:26" {From Kathalikka beach yethukku by S.N. Surendar to Onne onnuthanae irukku by Arunmozhi} at each Saranam {Stanza}, wherein syncopated folk beats where made through rhythm pad. Syncopated beats are something alike Nadaiya vittu vaasikirathu. And the remaining song is based on 4/4 common time.

Malai karukkaiyile from Enga ooru kaavalkaaran:

Well, the prelude starts with 6/8 time signature & changes to 3/4 (2/4 + 4/4) gives lead for pallavi. Again, 1st interlude starts with 6/8 & keys run help to change the time signature into 3/4 without any fuss...!

Aagaya Thamarai - Nadodi Pattukaran:

Prelude is in the 6/8 time signature & song is based on 4/4 common time.

Ooru vittu ooru vandhu from Karagattakaran:

The western rhythm starts with 4/4 {count goes alike 12 12} common time & the folk rhythm at the prelude itself goes in 6/8 time signature.

Sooriyana kandavudan - Paarvathi Ennai Paaradi:

Its prelude has Hindustani accent tabla with lovely flute piece & bass work. Although, this prelude is based on 4/4 time, bass guitar played in 3/4 time signature & the song is also based on 3/4 time signature.

Thoondamani vizhakku from Vazhga Valarga:

This song is based on 3/4 time signature, however, after the "A capella" kummi, {01:07-01:17} the folk rhythm was played in 6/8 time, again 1st saranam is based on 3/4 time signature.

Raakkumuthu raakku from Ejaman & Chola vazha naadu from Uliyin oosai end with 6/8 time signature, although these songs are based on 4/4 & 3/4 time signature respectively...!

Karava Maadu Moonu - Magalir Mattum:

Well, it is a special & an experimental composition in many aspects. This song has different genres say,

* Prelude has resonance of Latino,
* Pallavi is in electro-pop pattern,
* 1st interlude & saranam is in western classical movement,
* 2nd interlude & saranam is in classical format & rhythm was through electronic rhythm kit,
* 3rd interlude & saranam is in folk & again rhythm was through electronic rhythm kit...

* Then, Janaki amma has rendered this song in 3 different slangs...

* 4 different pallavigal...

And talking about the time signature -

* Pallavi is in 4/4,
* 1st interlude & saranam in 2/4,
* 2nd interlude & saranam in 4/4,
* 3rd interlude & saranam in 3/4 &
* Again pallavi ends with 6/8 time signature...!

Finally, these are just executions of Nadai-betham in few of His compositions sorry, experimentations. (wink)


~Raaja rules ♪

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Raajanadai - Raaja of Rhythm

The above video is rehearsal of re-recording for the movie - Mayilu. It is an interesting video wherein Raaja sir instructs the drummer to play 5/8 beat cycle {Taka Takita or 12 123 - without any quarter notes}. He is so keen on rhythm cycle & points out an error that drummer has played 6/8 {Takita Takita} instead of 5/8 beat cycle...!

So, no compromise even with a single beat {wink}

Courtesy for Video: Akbarraaja


~~Raaja rules ♪

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Of-late, I happened to listen to the songs from the movie - Pickpocket after a long time & was moved by the orchestration, which was so trendy & peppily.

The movie - Pickpocket, I believe it was directed by GM Kumar who is now a character artist in many Tamil movies.

Songs in this movie are in different genres:

Kaathal thiruda periya kaathal thiruda is “A Polka” song with Celtic 2nd Interlude. It is based on 2/4 time signature. At 1st interlude, western choir sings the “Mangalyam Tantunamena Mamajeevana”.

Manja kuruvi manja kuruvi konja paakkuthadi is a Latino number with Brazilian brass arrangement & stunning male choir at 2nd interlude.

Soodu romba soodu intha paalu sempu paalu is an erotica folk number with folk oriented western poly-rhythm. The prelude starts with bubble tones & raw funky wah-wah effect of electric lead guitar.

Velai velai ellorukkum undu starts with snooze, Raaja sir originates with morning raaga. If someone complaints that this song sounds more of Vishwanathan velai vendum then answer is yes. To my perception, Raaja sir is intend to compose this song with tinge of Vishwanathan velai vendum as both are same situational song. It is a Rock & roll song with boogie woogie piano fingering. 2nd interlude has different rhythms, for me lapping on Rhythm pad sounds like Namma ooru oththa adi {wink} & rock & roll elements of whistling, boogie woogie fingering & brass arrangement, however, with folk oriented rhythm.


~~Raaja rules!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nothing But Ilaiyaraaja - A musical delight!

Venue: The Music Academy - Chennai,

Date: June 5, 2010

Time: 7 PM – 10 PM

The music evening has been dedicated to Maestro.Ilayaraaja on His birthday occasion. It has been a new attempt of concert at this Chennai music hall. Certainly, it should be a new experience for all the musicians who have performed in this program. The 3 hours birthday musical tribute for Raaja sir should be one of the unforgettable moments not only for Him, but also for all His enthusiastic fans. In the 3 hours, almost 1-1/2 hours, audiences have witnessed the greatness of Orchestration for Raaja sir's non-film album - "Nothing But Wind" & a hand full of His Film songs.

In that particular 1-1/2 hours, the aforementioned south-indian music hall was filled with array of String orchestra with different parts of tremolo, melodies, accompaniments. Strokes on Double-bass, mind blowing melodies blown out from C flutes {sharp & bass}, D flute, Key-flute & et al., More of three-beat cycle drumming on acoustic drum kit with dense bass effect, fingering on major & minor keys with regularity, sportive chord progressions, chord punches, sudden key changes & high standard of some required melodies on both the Keyboards, chords played on Electric guitar with high electric effect & funky wah-wah through sustain Pedal, running bass chords in bassline & slaps not only through fingers, but also through elbow of the bass guitarist, which converted the show to a mere Rock concert at some places & last but not least vocal harmonies of 2 part choir.

After a few seconds of 7 o'clock, show has been started with His popular cine devotional song - Janani Janani, which was rendered by Bhavatharini. Raaja sir, Lyricist Vaali & north indian composer Uttam singh have lighted the Kuthuvilakku. After the brief narration all about the album "Nothing But Wind" by actress Rohini & accompaniment of Bhasky, the live concert was started.

Singing Self:

Following the four counts by the orchestra conductor & ace-violinist - Prabhakar, string orchestra started playing their notes with high perfection & after 45th sec with a mere silence, music conductor of this show - Prabhakar itself played the articulation part of solo violin, which is uncommon in any orchestra. Subsequent to the heavy strike on bass drum {originally on Timpani} Naveen's breathe on the flute, which came out as original melody of this piece with excellence. Nearly at 7th minute, the fusion of rock elements of high energetic drumming with dense bass by Geo, fingering of veteran Alaap Raju were well received among audience with huge applause. Raaja sir’s high excellence of this composition has influence of Vivaldi & Mozart’s melodic line.

Song of Soul:

Navneeth Sundar {ranjith} who himself an upcoming composer was on one of the keyboards, played uniquely on tip of his fingers {His un-usual style of playing}. Youngest musician of this troop, Leon played running chords other keyboard. Free fingering of Donnan on lead guitar brought the retro ambiance. Besides the skilled outcome of melody by Naveen, Alaap Raju’s bassline chord progression & arpeggios dominated rather than the Geo’s soft drumming of triple beat cycle. Haricharan’s replication of the lead melody was adding ice to the cake.

Mozart, I love You:

This music piece is considered to be Raaja sir’s experimentation of flute opus with waltz array of string orchestra & an Indian raga with different movements. It is not only treat for ears, but also the proficiency of string orchestra wherein musicians’ quick gesture of changing the score sheet & simultaneously glimpse on the conductor’s hand movements were more like treat for audience eyes.

Nothing But Wind:

The title track of this album has allotted less work for the Flutist who appears at the last 2 minutes only. Little Leon has taken care of the birds’ chirping, ducks quacks, frog ribbit, nature ambiance, sounds of train, flight & rocket under guidance of Navneeth who has played the lead melody, brass arrangement & an organ piece on his keyboard. Haricharan has sung the aalap & mystic vocal harmony. Naveen’s flute melody at the end of this piece was more like a cadenza. This piece comprises melodies, harmonies, sounds of nature & ends up with a solo flute piece refers that music is nothing but wind.

Composer's Breath:

It is considered to be an important music piece of this album, which was played for nearly 17 minutes. It contains heavy different movements & pattern of string orchestra with articulation through flute, running chords on keyboard, counter Pan-flute melody was made on keyboard by Navneeth while Naveen was kept on changing the C flutes {sharp & bass} to D flute & again back to the C flutes. Instead of triangle {in original piece}, Geo played cymbol & Aalap Raju’s bass guitar count was alike 1,2, 1, 2, 3, 4 makes 2/4 + 4/4, still shows the count of ¾ whereas melody goes in the measure of direct ¾ time. Interestingly, after 12th minute the fusion of Indian melody through flute & rock elements of slaps on bass guitar with soft drumming was well received among audience with heavy applause, which was a famous music piece used to play on Chennai fm {Priyavin priyamana neram} during ’93-94.

Ace violinist Prabhakar who has re-written the score of this album on listening to its cd, also conducted the orchestra with highly dignified manner. And musicians on the orchestra were par excellent who have made a highly profiled outcome of those valuable music pieces.

To be continued…!


~~Raaja rules!