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An evening with the MM at a concert

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:07 pm    Post subject: An evening with the MM at a concert Reply with quote

I had a sweet surprise one Friday evening last year on my return from work!!!!

I had an invitation to attend a show that the MM was conducting for IOB on their inauguration day...

I rushed directy to the auditorium (Music Academy) atleast half hour before the show. I was sweetly surprised to find the MM already present (probably the first to arrive) in his classic attire with a gleaming smile, welcoming the guests as they arrived. He was warm and was exchaning pleasantries with everyone who went up to him. Many gave him bits and pieces of paper containing requests and he humbly responded saying, that he is doing his best to satisfy everyone : )

On the dot - on schedule the show began...

The mellisai mannargaL M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy were present on stage with his orchestra.

1. Grand opening - As the curtains raised, MSV, began the show with his classical "Vanakkam" and started the show with the song "vanakkam pala murai sonnaen".. He said, that he felt this song better than a "kadavul vanakkam / vaazhththu" as his "kadavul" are his "rasigaas"... He also mentioned that this song was penned by the great kavingnar and his best friend, Kannadasan.

2. The next song was a dedication to the great kavingnar, Kannadasan. the MM narrated, that just a few weeks before Kannadasan breathed his
last, he had asked MSV to sing this song in every stage that he performed.

Eversince, MSV said that he has sung this song in every performance and dedicated it to the great kavingar. The song "pullaanguzal koduththa

The genius that he is, the MM had many variations in the melody, apart from singing "andha kannan geethaiyai koduthaan, indha kanadaasan aeraaLamaana padaLgalai koduthaan" and "indha kannadasan pugazh paadungaLaen".

He also said that he is indebted to Kannadasan for his entire success.

3. MSV also said, "pazhamai maaraatha pudhiya isai" is what would face the test of time.

He said the 3M's give success - Meter - Matter - Melody. The next song that was preformed was "kadavul oru naal ulagai kaana thaniyae vandharaam". A lovely foot tapping number that one could dance at any time!

4. IlakkaNam maaraatha - ilakkiyam maaraatha isai vellum!!! The MM said that this was one of his favourite songs. He said, anyone who listens to this song and the movie would immediately be taken throught the scenes of the movie as it has a story. He said this was an example of how a song should be to a movie. Ananthu, a shishya of MSV sang this song. The song, ilakkaNam maaruthO, ilakkiyam aanahtO.

5. He said, when he was 14-15 years when Haridas was released. Those were the days where songs were used to tell stories - thathtuvam - matter (information) and lyrics were not filled in for "mettu".

He said, Papanasavam sivam was special that he could write and sing for the mettu and at times even ask for change the melody. He reiterated... "pazhamai maaraamal pudhumai vaendum"... eppOthum

This MKT song "ammai appanae ungal anbai maranthaen" was sung by Ananthu...

MSV was visibly touched by the song.. He said the song has "life" / "uyir" for all - the person who wrote it, sang it and to the person who listens to it.

6. He said MGR was one of those few who were very particular about how a song "sounded" and "reached". This song was originaly in "Kalyani" raagam and was made in that raagam. However, with the insistence of MGR it was agreed by MSV & TKR to make a small touch change to accomodate the lyrics "he wanted to be forgiven for that".. TKR added that the variation - sudhdha madyam - sampoornam - etc" this kinda went over my head... (I wish I could have taped it)

Msv said that TKR was the one who "adayalam kaatufied him" and that
they were nagamum/sadhayum, neerum/nilamum, sabngeethamudan ingeetham... even though they went their ways...

The song that followed was "kaNpOna pOkkilae kaal pOgalaama..."

7. For the next song, the director had a requirement... paatu kaetkum pOthu muthtukkkal udhiraNum... paathezhuthi mettu pOtta paatu...
KaNaL engae...nenjamum engae.. one of those beautiful songs from "Karnan" - muthtaana paatu - paatu kaetkum pOthu muthtu sidharavaendum - directors requirement was met!

8. The next song he said was inspired from his "gurunaadhar" S.M. Subbaiah Naidu. This song was in his memory. The song - "singaara vaelanae daeva" - He said songs like these were "bankla pOtta nidhi".. could be used anytime!!!

9. He recalled, that there was a requirement that a song be made in "raagam" and so a song was made out and given to the Kannadasan to write out lyrics for the song.

But kannadasan wanted MSV to put the mettu for a song that he said he had written out... and that song ... "raagangaL padhinaaru uruvaana varalaaru"... The MM wanted Ananthu to be forgiven as he said that he may not be able to emulate Balu, who sang the song with "aathma".... However, Anathu did a great job...

10. While the previous song was for Rajnikanth, the next was also for Ranji. A song that the MM himself sang. SambO sivasambO. His voice is not as dexterous now and he made "online" changes to the song and the variations sounded as good or at times ever better! He also sang the "manavinagaL yaarudanO" bit from "moondru mudichchu".. wow what a voice!!!

11. He said, the success of a song is team work. There was this movie "Rajapart Rangadurai". The song "Madhana maaLigaiyil". They had made out 8 tunes and the problem was... each on liked one. The director, producer, lyricsist, himself etc. like a different one. They were in a fix on what to do.

Now, a coffee boy who had come into give refershments, apparently said "andha 3aavadhum 7aavaadhum mix paNNi pOdunga sir".... He was chased away immediately by Kannadasan... The coffee boy however stood at a distance and was watching... MSV then decided to take the boy's advice and mixed the tunes 3&7 and it was immediately accepted.... He said he owed the success of that song to that coffee boy!!! He said, one has to be open and be willing to accept information from anyone... and also said.. for him the 7 swarams are Gods!!!!

12. The next song was in Hindi. He said he considered Naushad Ali his
guru. PB Srinivas's nephew sang this song from Beiju Bawra (a movie that the MM said he saw without buying a ticket) - the song "oh duniya kae rukku wale"... He did sing the song pretty well..

13. While talking about the next song, the MM said that for him ellaaam sangeetham - eppothum sangeetham - (he knows nothing but music.. and there is no doubt that he knows it best!!) engaeyum sangeetham. The song - engaeyum, epOthum sangeetham santhOsham... The whole auditioriom was clapping during the "come on everybody clap"

Interval. the MM was willing to continue the show right through to the finish, but the organisers had asked for a break... so... what else...
see you on the other side of the

B R E A K : ))
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The Ardent

Joined: 15 Dec 2006
Posts: 175

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Randy uncle,
The Break is over...Please resume the CONCERT !!!

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Venugopalan Soundararajan

Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 533
Location: Mumbai

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:19 pm    Post subject: Music Academy Performance. Reply with quote

Dear Mr Randy,

Thanks for the detailed account on the Music Academy show of the Master. But where is the second half? You seem to have taken a very long break.
Also, please tell us who were the singers in respect of each and every song. For many of the songs, you have not mentioned as to who sang them on the stage. Were TMS & PS present?
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:48 am    Post subject: An evening with the MM at a concert - Part II Reply with quote

In continuation from where I left off in the MM part 1 : ))

During the break the MM was one busy bee... He didn't quite appreciate the break (like many here : ) ) impatient as a kid, and he didn't want the tempo of the show to be lost. He picked a couple of cookies and coffee and like a kid would, was visibly impatient to get on with the show : ))

14) As the screen went up after the break, T.K. Ramamurthy was seen sitting in the middle of the orchestra with his violin!! the MM invited a special guest to the show - the best melody voice - PB Srinivas. the MM handed the mic to PBS to say a few words. PBS said "kalaiyin madhippae - rasippathu". He said that the MM moulded him to be a rounded singer. He said his explanation for the MM is "Madhura Sangeetha ViLakkam" and for TKR - "Tamizh Kavidhayin Raagam".. He said his life success started with "kaalangaLil avaL vasantham" and he said that his "vasantha kaalam" of his life was with the music of the MM. PBS was seen flanked on either side by the MM and TKR.

He sang the pallavi "nilave ennidam nerungaathe".. Wow his voice still captivates. He also said he thinks the song is based on "bhayasri", though he thought he could be wrong : )

The MM said that "thiramai engirunthaalum ezhumbi varum" and that all that he did was "thiramaiyai aettri vittatuthu". PBS went on to say that there's no new without the old and no old without the new!! He also thanked the MM for giving his nephew an opportunity to sing.

15) TKR on the violin played "unnai ondru kaepaen" in E-major... Woooooow, what hand control even at this age!!!

The MM then said that they used to have 50-60 violins entirely supervised by TKR and that TKR was so sharp that he could pick from those if anyone erred!!That was the level of concentration and levels of perfection.

16) Next, he spoke about a movie produced by the Kavingar. They had a full orchestra and it was Kavingars birthday. K. Balachander had offered a ponnaadai for the Kavingar. the MM was asked to compose a song on stage with the Kavingar ON STAGE (an experience that those who attended the launch of MSV times, were gifted to witness). The entire song was completed on stage based on the feedback from the public in 90 minutes. The final song was selected from many mettus and lyrics. He said KB had the "chippiirukkuthu" song based on this true and lovely incident : )

The MM went on to say that, "thiramai uLLavargaLai naangaL rasippOm". He said he
and Illaiyaraaja were good friends and said that the next song was from a movie that they worked together "mella thiranthtathu kathavu" - "ooru sanam thoongiruchchu". It is a well known fact that the MM was the brain behind the songs from this movie, though the MM always shares the credits with Illaiyaraaja.

17) The next song, the MM said could be very difficult to replicate.. The song that had around 125 violins and recorded till around 3AM!!!! Yes, "engae nimmathi" from "puthiya paravai"... I must say, he did bring a phenominal effect, especially the eerie beginning to the song, and with such a little orchestra, and so true to the original. Kovai Murali sang it pretty well, though TMS's original is hard to replicate.

He was a bit touched and went down memory lane and kinda felt sad that many who played for him during these periods are no longer around but in a way felt happy that their children / grand children were playing on stage now!!! He introduced atleast 15 of them on stage.. He said he owed his success to them as they were his "thooNs" for his success.

After the song.. he exclaimed...
125 violins - recorded at 3am... Where is a voice like TMS now? Shivaji's acting.
One could see feel his "loss" when he spoke thus.

TKR said, nilayaamai, iLamai azhindhuvidum, sangeetham eppavum azhiyaamal irukkum. The said that the reason why their music probably stood the test of time was probably because of the strong foundation that their gurus laid for them.

18. The next song was "deivam thantha veedu". He was very appreciative of the lyrics and the lyricist and the director.

19) The next song was one of those songs that carries a "stamp" on it. A song that has so many variations that many have tried in vain to replicate it. He said that this was a another song that they had to put to great deal of effort into. The song -"oru raaja raaniyidam" from "sivantha maNN".. He said that the once sang / played this song for 4 hours on "encore" requests!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who wouldn't want to listen to it repeatedly?

20. Next was one of their ways of expressing how a fisherman would express his love. The MM said that the meter, matter and melody blended well and this song was born- "thottaal poo malarun" from "padagOtti".

21. The next song was sung by PBS's nephew. "chinna chinna kaNNanukku" from "vaazhkai padagu" - It what a good piece of work all around !!! PBS's nephew has a voice that sounds similar to his uncle.

22. Earlier that evening, just before the show started, a person had walked upto to the MM, who was receiving guests backstage, and said that he was living because of the MM's music and that he had come from Kerala to attend this show just to listen to his music. He wanted the MM to sing a malayalam song, and had handed him not only the request, but the lyrics of the song called "abhinandam". The MM had apparently said to him that as he had not rehersed the song (he still believes in rehersals and perfection) and that he would try to do his best. On stage, he called out for this person and said that he would sing a couple of lines from the song. However, it turned out that he sang the entire song in all it glory!!!

He also recollected that he was punished by his mother during his younger days for not singing this song properly : ))

23. The next song he said was a "thaalaatu" song for a Bheem Singh movie. They (the Director and MM) had apparently decided to make a shift from the regular and have just "whistling & humming" instead of lyrics. The kavingar, who the MM hadn't met in a few days, had come to know of this. Kavingar apparently went upto Shivaji, saying the MM has decided a song with just whisling and humming and that it was ridiculous. Kavingar, apparently, on the sly, heard their tune during their practice, wrote out the lyrics and got it okayed by Shivaji and made sure that his lyrics found a place in the song. The song - "neer Odum vaigaiylae" from "paar magaLae paar". He also added that the Kavingar was very possessive of him and that he wouldn't let the MM score music for other's lyrics, but it was ok that he wrote for other music directors.

Running out of time, the next song was "aaLala kaNda" from sangamam. Wow, what a reproduction and what a voice!!!

The last piece was a "thani aavarthanam" consisting of 2 tablas, 2 bongos, triple congos.. and 2 drums.. and the MM was enjoying himself...

One must note here that the MM was on stage during the entire duration - standing - singing and playing on his harmonium and keyboard - at 78 yrs of age!!!!

A truly unforgettable evening had to come to an end as it was well past 10 pm and the peronnel from the auditorium wanted to leave - thoughthe MM would have continued to perform till dawn and longer!!!

As I was so engrossed in what the MM had to say and also was listening to the music, I am afraid I did not make note of who sang which song. However, I do know that Kovai Murali sang many of the TMS songs, Kalpana sang many of the P.Susheela songs and Anathu sang many of the SPB songs. As I was backstage, sadlym, I am not sure who were present at the show.

I hope I have been able to get atleast a bit of the great show to you : ))

Many thanks for your wishes....

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent write-up, Andy!

Can you please post your experience during MSV's recording ???
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ram wrote:
Excellent write-up, Andy!

Can you please post your experience during MSV's recording ???

I have posted it under the topic "WOW.. Simply Superb", Ram

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