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5 comments | Thursday, August 25, 2005

This song called Meghame Meghame from the movie palavana cholai is one of my all time favorites by Vani Jayaram. Its a stupendous tamil ghazal.. truly one of the kinds in the vintage Tamil music. The rendition is so superb that reinstates that a ghazal need not necessarly be in urdu... But I accidently bumped into this CD called "Journey - by Jagjit Singh" in one of my friend's apartments.. Truly speaking I am not a big jagjit fan primarly because of making ghazals way too simple ( I know I am contradicting my own view point here... ;) ) still, I admire Jagjit ji for making ghazal a popular form of art, which can be enjoyed by one and all. The musical content might have suffered, but it did serve the purpose! Personally I am still fond of Mehndi hassan saab, Ghulam Ali, Hariharan (Favorite) and Ahmed & Mohammed Hussain.

Coming back to the topic... I was listening thru the CD and there came the track which goes

"Tum nahin, gham nahin, sharaab nahin...
Aisi Tanhaee ka jawaab nahin..."

Here it goes....This one sounds exactly like meghame... Wait, lemme correct myself, Meghame is actually a copy of this ghazal. I was biased to the tamil track even after I listened to the Jagjit version innumerable times... The anupallavi of meghame is actually modified more to the south indian mode though!

Listen to meghame meghame and tum nahin gham nahin ... I honestly am not able to tell which one is better... but it feels a little sad that one of my favorite tamil ghazals is not completely an original one! :(

Hail Music!!
always, Vodka

15 comments | Friday, August 12, 2005

Thanks again sriram for that wonderful comment on my previous post.

I have been thinking about writing about this topic for quite some time now, and I must say that Sriram's comment comes as a direct initiation for me to write this one. Ofcourse, I was planning to write this in an entirely different context earlier, now I am writing it in continuation to my previous posts..

I would like to take a small example from my times at BITS, Pilani. I used to be part of Music Club, which had a group of people from various cross sections of the country trying to play myriad styles of music. I still consider that my association with Music club has helped me grow into a better musician that what I used to be 6-7 years back. Music club organizes this event called "Music Nite" twice every semester. Music Nite is a 3 hr long event where popular indian film music is played and a few western numbers. Due to various reasons (which i wouldnt want to elaborate on this post..) there is a vast majority of students from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in BITS, Pilani. One point in time , few of us thought, why not play one tamil and one telugu song for the nite along with the hindi numbers? The idea sounded good as the crowd would love it!!! We decided to go ahead and play one tamil and one telugu song for the event. The Tamil/Telugu junta tripped over the songs... There were "Once moree...." requests resounding in the auditorium... all looked good....

The next day, my hostel room sidee, came up to my room and said... Harish, the music nite was amazing... except for two songs... I dint understand a word of those tamil/telugu songs that u played it sounded so silly to me... Now, The tamil song was pacchai Nirame from the movie alaipaayuthey. (which later became Saathiya... when the movie was remade to hindi!). I dint comment on what he said, but neverthless was forced to think why did he make such a statement? 1 year passed, Saathiya was released... and we decided to play the title song for another music nite.... The day after , my friend came back again... and said.. the Saathiya song was out of the world... what a great "tune"..

Okay that was just a scenario I had to quote to say what i feel about the need of knowing the lyrics of a song to appreciate a tune... This is one point which I vehemently disapprove of. I strongly agree that Lyrics contributes a very important part of the song and it adds a lot of value to the song as a whole... But, Lyrics is absolutely not a requirement to appreciate a piece of music. Its just the language oriented mind set of humans that makes one believe that i wont be able to appreciate the song if i dont understand the lyrics.. It tops the list of paradoxes when the same set of human beings can appreciate a flute or guitar recital where there is absolutely no lyrics.

I feel (this is again my personal opinion no offenses meant!) Lyrics or poetry has a very small role to play in the overall beauty of a musical composition. Its the music, the notes and the formations that make a piece really admirable. So, I feel one need not necessarily know the meanings of every song that he sings to make the song sound good. Its the internal bliis that one experiences while rendering a composition that translates to a good rendition.

Now, This particular line from sriram's post really interested me...
"A person who enjoys bhakthi
soaked music may not enjoy the saaki & shabaab music, and vice versa."

Agree!! Thats whats been happening all around me also. I just want to go and ponder a bit deep into this particular reference coz, I still have my grandfather visibily expressing his dislike to me playing "Saaqiya jaaye kahaan.. hum tere maikhaane se..." during the pooja times at my home... He says "all this songs deal with courtesans, immoral life, alchoholism and adultery....Why cant u play a thyagaraja kriti which is so rich in bhakti and positive energy?"

Well well... I beg to differ here... for me , till the moment he reminded me that the song actually deals with alcohol and women, I dint quite realize it... I was enjoying the subtle nuances of misra charukishi and some breathtaking harmonium interludes of this stupendous ghazal! Now - Bhakti- The term-No one uptill now has been able to give me a convincing definition for the term bhakti (yeah, i know, u can probably go read gita or upanishads or .....) I always found it quite perplexing as to why bhakti is always linked up to a religion or belief or god? I refuse to accept the argument that only a song sung in praise of Rama or Krishna or Jesus or Allah can invoke Bhakti... From my understanding, Bhakti leads u to a state of sublime happiness and all those great saints Tyagaraja Swamy, Jayadeva... they have all experienced it..

I experience sheer joy of life when i listen to music. I dont categorize it into carnatic , hindustani, ghazals or Rock.. I listen to what gives pleasure to my mind.. I dont care if it has lyrics or not, I dont care if I completely understand the lyrics or not , I dont care a bit if the lyrics has got to do with Rama Bhakti or Shabaab... For me, its all music, and personally those forms of music which dont bind you to rules or conventions... because, I belive music is also a force of nature... No body puts restrictions on the directions of wind flow or tides...

If you insist on looking at it scientifically also... language is constiuted of various syllables put together and uttered together... similarly even music is made up of various syllables uttered together, when for a human being the latter does not make sense in the liguistic point of view, he starts retorting saying i dont understand this... What i would say is... Dont even try to... Just listen to the sound it generates... if its good to your ear, u will surely experience happiness and thats exactly what bhakti also gives u. So Rama, Krishna, Allah, jesus, Saaqi, Sharaab, Shabaab, Maikhaana... all are just mere words and its the music that encompasses them that generates the feeling of sublime happiness or bhakti

Long live Music!

2 comments | Thursday, August 11, 2005

I initially wrote this as a reply to the comment that sriram had posted, but then when i read it , i realized it is way too big for a comment and just perfect for a post. So i am including it as a new post.

Hey Sriram,

That was a nice post: But on certain points I beg to differ.

As to madhyamaavati being associated with Mangalam... thats just one facet of the raagam. And my observation is Manirangu sounds much like sreeragam than madhyamaavati. I cant think why some one should think i am gonna end the concert coz i am elabporating on manirangu (not even madhyamaavati)... Does it mean i am always going for a funeral if i am wearing a black shirt ? :) [Please excuse me for the bad analogy, couldnt think of a better one!]

For me Singing evari maata in athana is absolutely fine , if it sounds good and appeals to all. I call it prejudice if u simply decide for urself that a Tyagaraja kriti is gonna sound bad just because somebody tried to sing it differently. There is a Swati tirunal kriti called Karuna cheyvaan ( If u have heard shemmangudi or K V Narayanaswamy , u would probably have heard this one... ) It was traditionally sung is Yadukula Kambhoji, but KVN started singing it in Sree Ragam... and it sounded awesome...

There is no such thing like experimenting for the heck of it (Thats my take on experimentation!) . If an experiment goes bad, people call it a bad experiment. But no one can be sure of an outcome even before the experiment is done. Taking science as an analogy, Edison took 8000 tries to get what we call now as a light bulb... so does it mean that all his 7999 experiments were done for the heck of it? I dont think so.

Now, I refuse to accept history and I refuse to belive that we sing all tyagaraja kritis ditto the way the great saint composed them... It sounds highly illogical that the compositions never evolved... And i find it a lil biased statement that "If u don wanna stick to format pls spare tyagaraja...." I feel all composers were great in their own respects...

Now, Hindolam is a nomenclature... Just the way I am called Harish and u are called Sriram... but there is a lot more to me or u which is yet to be explored. So I find it un acceptable to say, Harish is this , this and this , but not that! Some one added a big dha to hindolam and called it Varamu... For me its still a melodious experience may it be hindolam , or varamu or whatever name u feel like calling it...

I do agree to the fact that adding some random swaram to a raaga kind of spoils the mood. But an experienced musician can easly think of a note that can be added which does not kill the mood of the raagam... all it takes is an open mind and hassle free thinking.

And a clarificaltion: I DID NOT say that any particular form of music is pure and ethreal, u can refer my comment, I said "Let there be no rules that bind the pure and ethreal form of music". So I still dont see anything offensive on that statement.

About composing my own raagas... well, When i have the skill and knowledge , i will definitely try and produce combination of musical notes.. which soothes the listeners ears.. I wouldnt want to call it a name... afterall, its the sound that matters...