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Mesmerizing chorus of Mellisai Mannar
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:43 am    Post subject: Mesmerizing chorus of Mellisai Mannar Reply with quote

Dear friends!
I have been long ruminating on the discussion of the select chorus used by Mellisai Mannar. I have come across a few instances where he has mentioned (in a few interviews) about involving the church choir for this purpose. I tried to go through the ever increasing postings and writings here that I ultimately could neither locate any ongoing discussion on this issue nor come across any mention on this matter (due to the sheer volume of writings!!). Out of enthusiasm and eagerness to understand this subject, I attempt to initiate this topic. Pardon me for redundancy, if any.

A quick thought on this aspect brings the following masterpieces of the master to my mind:

1. Joy and celebration
a. Pon magal vandaal (sorgam)
b. Azhagiya tamizh magal ival (Rickshawkaaran)
c. Poova thalaya potta theriyum
d. Yaadum oorey yavarum kaelir (Ninaithaale inikkum)

2. Ecstasy
a. Poojaikku vanda malare vaa
b. Rajavin paarvai raniyin pakkam (Anbe vaa)
c. Malar edhu en

3. Sadness
a. Engey nimmadhi
b. Devaney ennai paarungal (Gnana oli)
c. You are like a fountain (Ninaithaale inikkum)

4. Realism
a. Kann pona pokkile kaal

I fear if I categorized them appropriately enough!? It is amazing to listen through these sequences, however short or elaborate they may be. Each and every such song tuned by MM using this choir chorus oozes with feelings and appropriateness. Forget the picturisation, if it does not justify the music and imagination of MM.

The joy in the song and the voice of TMS of 'Pon magal', the romantic mood of 'Azhagiya thamizh magal', the celebration of 'Poova thalaiya' and 'Yaadum oorey' have been handled effortlessly.

Ecstasy is in air when one listens the chorus waxing through 'Poojaikku vanda' in between the melodius PBS and SJ. 'Rajavin paarvai' is heavenly ambrosia. A slight mix of melancholic ecstasy in the interludes of 'Malar edhu' highlighted by the chorus...they are all dipped in supreme bliss.

Sadness, a sense of longing and a fear of unknown are enhanced by the chorus in the three songs 'Engey nimmadhi', 'Devaney' and 'You are like a fountain'.

The truth and scorching reality have been expressed in 'Kann pona pokkiley'.

I felt the urge to start this subject and hence I have poured out my thoughts as they came. I sincerely wish that the seniors and the experienced friends share their thoughts on this collection. I also would be happy to know the personal thoughts of MM on this aspect of his music as he would have definitely narrated them to a few lucky ones.

There could be other such songs with this choir chorus of MM. Please list them also for our benefit.

Thanks,
Sai Saravanan
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madhuraman
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:47 am    Post subject: Preludes and Interludes Reply with quote

Dear Dr.Sai Saravanan,
Unmistakably, you have given vent to your emotional bondage to MSV compositions involving chorus voices. I do not know if it all could be named church choir. It is extremely difficult to pick out such chorus items. MSV's approach to chorus has been rather unique, while with most others chorus was a ritualistic exercise of allowing many voices to hum or repeat lyric phrases. If Directors indicated of a troupe of artistes on the scene, then most MDs used to resort to Chorus in recording. With MSV, chorus was a way of embellishing a number for the purpose of suggesting emotions. Take these two cases: Your own example of 'malar edhu' [A O M] is a solo by PS and the cognizable actress on screen was Ms.Bharathi, yet a chorus peeps in as a mood elevator and is withdrawn to be unobtrusive. Also, look at "Karuppu paNm" song 'aadavarallam aadavarellam' chorus voices peep into interludes -thi time escalation of mood is achieved. In most such pieces MSV has personally joined the chorus troupe giving right pep up. In that boogie-wagie 'viswanathan velai vaeNum' through the male chorus segment in one place a voice 'tai' goes up in protest. To me it sounds MSV's. How elegantly pep has ben added. Another case in point could be 'kanavil nadandhdhO kalyANa oorvalam' PBS- PS ["anubhavam pudhumai"] a romantic duet with only two artistes on screen.The song has a powerful element of chorus only to ably portray the musical value for a dreamy romance. Two others coming to my mind are 'vAroi en thozhi' of "pAsa malar" and 'boomiyil nadappadhum' of "Shanthi nilayam". Both are situations of high scale ecstasy respectively on a wedding and in aerial transit by baloons. On both occasions MSV has liberally availed of chorus singing not in a mundane routing of singingfrom behind but with special styles of laughter and claps 'octaved' to portray the mood.
About the term church choir in MSV songs some critical questioning of MSV [hitherto not done to my knowledge] may lend clues. It is opportune to recall here that for near 40 years MSV had his personal orchestra so very meticulously assembled with top ranking performers including the legendary personalities Henry Daniel, Joseph Krishna, MS Raju,to name a few. All these people were known to be members of choir singing. This could be seen from the absolute perfection in MSV chorus as against those of others.
In fact in our 'Articles" section there is an elaborate listing of the Grand Orchestra of MSV by Mr.Vaidy. One can find the names of instrumentalists and members of church choir. These members could comfortably simulate female voices for chorus or laughter! Still the topic can not be deemed to have been completed.Others please add your responses.
WARM REGARDS.
Prof.K.Raman Madurai.
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N Y MURALI
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Sai Saravanan, PROF and All,
You have rekindled my thoughts about this facet of MSV’s composition. A separate posting is worth for this aspect. I want to add some of my feelings about this aspect.

Broadly this chorus can be classified in different categories. They are chorus humming, chorus singing, chorus dupe words singing and other emotional expression like laughter, protest shouting, mantra recital etc.

To give a different perspective I feel MSV always used this concept for bringing an emotion or feeling. That will be felt throughout the song. This could have been influenced by the director’s explanation of the song sequence. The emotional feel or aura can be explained in many ways.

Angel effect:
Take for example the dream situation. The dream can be either involving the heavenly feeling or the normal feeling. The heavenly situation cannot be brought with out the involvement of angels. So the chorus represents the large number of angels in that heavenly situation. The song ‘raajavin parvai’ is in the category of the heavenly situation. He brought this chorus in order to give thrust to that emotive expression. Remember that the chorus does not come in the beginning. It comes just before the charanam that too in a changed scale. This makes a feeling that the chariot starts flying from a particular plane to another different plane. I have written about this aspect in my posting about this song in the section ‘pick a song an analyse’.

The same reason for other dream songs like ‘azhagiya tamizh magal’ or ‘pon magal vandhal’ etc.

The chorus in the song ‘raajavin parvai’ is in western style. The chorus in the song ‘maduraa nagaril tamizh sangam’ is in the Indian style.

A chorus would be brought in only when there is an involvement of the angel effect. The dream song ‘paarvai yuvarani’ in the movie ‘sivantha mann’ does not involve heaven (and as such no angel) but happens in a different country ‘Paris’. So there is no chorus in that song.

Devil’s effect:
Let us see how he gives a total opposite effect for a devil or dead person’s appearance situations. In the case of devil situation the character undergoes a tremendous mental agony which can be called as ‘naraga vedanai’. That effect is given through the chorus effect in the song ‘enge nimmadhi’. If we watch closely whenever the chorus is coming there will be Sowcar Janaki’s appearance and the same is not for Saroja Devi. We can clearly see this difference in the interlude before the 2nd charanam.

But the chorus effect for the song ‘mannavane azhalama’ is different from the above. Here the character feels that his dead wife is appearing to him to give advice. So this is not the ‘naraga veydanai. But in order to give the thrust for the dead person’s appearance the chorus is employed.

In the same way there is no chorus for the song ‘padaitthane’ in the movie ‘nichaya thaamboolam’ because there is no devilish feeling excepting the ‘mana vedanai’.

Normal chorus:
But why there is a chorus for the song ‘kan pona pokkile’ which does not fall in the above two category. I think here the usage of chorus is mainly because of the reason that the song has been composed in the Russian Bale style. That kind of Eastern European style of composition involves chorus.

The same reason could be for the song ‘paruvam enadhu padal’ which is in the Middle Eastern style composition. For me this is one of the best choruses produced by him. Because it involves PS melody humming (aah aaahaa aah) and chorus humming (lo lullulullu lo) twisted together. The PS humming is a musical melody humming. The chorus humming is constructed with the notation of 3 chords (sa-ga1-pa, ri1-ma1-da1, sa-ga2-pa). In the musical phrasing these chords (especially the r1-ma1-da1) gives the Middle Eastern touch. The Middle Eastern touch is very appropriate for this song because this movie itself is about the pirate story. Also the pirate situation is directly related to the sea faring or simply ship traveling. So when PS sings the humming it gives the melody as a floater and when the chorus sings the humming it gives the feeling of the waves in the sea. So the net feeling we get is ‘alai kadalil midakkum kappal pola’.

There is a close connection of the pirates to the middle eastern/north African place. (Even now we are reading about the Somali pirates in the news). In the entire movie which happens mostly in the sea or island and this being a pirate story, the middle eastern flavor could be seen the re recording.


I have also wondered when I read an article written by Ram our moderator about MSV used a middle eastern type of melody for the re recording in the movie ‘sivantha mann’ for the bull fight seen. I happened to see the movie again a weeks back in the DVD and remembered Ram’s posting. The same kind of Middle Eastern style is evident in the song ‘thulluvadho ilamai’. Actually people say that the song is in the Spanish style since the dance sequence involves the bull fighting kind. I think the bull fight originated from Spain. It is a sort of war games. In any war situations it has been the practice world over to play music. We would have noticed Lord Krishna blowing the shell (sangu) in the Mahabharata war. The same way it has been a practice for playing music for war games, royal processions, royal hunting etc. The reason for playing music during this time is to arouse emotions. With emotions we get power.

But why should there be music in the Middle Eastern style for a war game which is Spanish? This contradiction was pricking my mind ever since I read Ram’s article. A reason struck my mind suddenly.

I have interest in the history subject also apart from music. I have read many books about history. So looking from the historical perspective we could arrive at some conclusion for this contradiction. In the medieval part of the history the Middle Eastern culture after the advent of Islam spread towards many directions. One route was through Egypt, Libya and Morocco. Morocco is very close to Spain via Gibraltar. It is approximately about 400 kms from Morocco to Spain. The people who spread from Morocco and occupied Spain are called Mores. There they have ruled Spain for a considerable period and because of this reason their culture could have also mingled with Spanish culture and this could have happened for music also. It is possible for two cultures to mix with one another and a new fusion can spring from that. In our India the same spreading of Middle Eastern culture happened via Persia, Central Asia and Afghanistan. The early sultanates like Gori, Kilgi etc were from Afghanistan. The later Mogul period is from Central Asia. Babar the founder of the Mogul Empire is from a place called Ferkana from Central Asia. Though they are from Central Asia they brought many people skilled in various subjects from Persia. This created new fusion in the music also. So the north Indian music got fused with Persian and Central Asian influence and gave birth to Gazal. We also started hearing names in the North Indian music like Kabir Dass, Sur dass, Than Sen etc who are all Sufi Saints. The other off shoot is the Qurbani from the Sikhs.

Other situation:
There are other things like chorus singing dupe words like ‘pappara para para’ in the song ‘rukkumaniye’ or ‘cha cha’ in the song ‘andru vandhadhum idhe nilaa’. In fact I feel the dupe word ‘cha cha’ came to him because of the rhythm pattern he used for that song which is called as ‘cha cha’ in western terms. This western term rhythm is available in all our key boards.

The same way he has used the group singing for situation like ‘varai en thozhi’ which is because of the female friends for the marriage girl. But the recital of the marriage mantra in this song is great imagination. Here the recital is itself becomes a part of the interlude.

The chorus in the song ‘boomiyil iruppadum’ is for the group travel in the air balloon which involves dupe word ‘chachoo chachoo’. The chorus in the song ‘sirithu vazha vendum’ involves the laughter and kids way of pronunciation of the language.

The chorus singing has not been left out by MSV even in the devotional subject. The song ‘aayiram kaarangal neetti’ from Karnan is sung by 4 singers. It is some what in the style of ‘Devaaram’ or ‘Divya Prabandham’ recital in the temple. The people who recite this are called the ‘Ooduvaars’. We see from history that the king Raja Raja Chozha has appointed ‘Ooduvaars’ for ‘Devaaram’ recital in the Tanjavur Temple. Even now we can see the group singing concept for the ‘Thyagaraaja aaradhana’.


To conclude we can keep on writing about this aspect in his songs.

THERE IS NO END TO IT.

Regards,

N Y MURALI
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Vatsan
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject: Chorus Reply with quote

Great postings guys...Now....let's extend this to vocal harmony in MSV's songs.....again a truck load of songs to write about....vocal harmony being either chorus or single voice "singing" a counter melody to the main melody.

Some of the songs listed above will also fall into the category like the beautiful chorus harmony in the line "enathu kaigaL meettum pOthu", a chromatic vocal harmony, simply brilliant. Quite like the violin counter in the pallavi of "rajAvin pArvai", as if an aircraft is flying by, a crescendo when the flight is closer to you and fade off when it's gone. "pon magaL vanthAL"...well ofcourse.......we all know where it happens Smile

To start "AdavarellAm....." with the "bopchikka bopchikka" counter melody against the pallavi and the counter humming that continues and the seconds (or thirds ?) at "pAdum pozhuthE" when the humming is probably in the next scale.

"mAdi mElE mAdi katti" a Rock-and-Roll extravaganza gifted to the ungrateful Tamil Film Music world. The sharp and staggered counter humming so much in tune with the mood and seconds at the word "kOmAnE" is all MSV's imagination running riot.

"varavENdum oru pozhuthu" has the most subtle vocal harmony ever !!! When LR Easwari starts the charanams, it takes some effort to realize that it is actually a chorus, subtle mastery of the art....definitely so !!!


"thoothu sella oru thozhi" ....this time around it is the other "lady" friend that does the counter humming. As the story goes, the recording was over pretty fast but the singers were not too happy at seeing a pensive MSV. Obviously, to him, something was amiss !!! MSV gets up with a twinkle in his eyes and belts out a humming phrase, each note perfectly placed on the root note of each chord in the pallavi and ofcourse more , the phrasings extend as well. We all know the dash , the effect it added to the song, rendering it "complete", a sense of completeness is what we have come to expect from MSV....all the time.

A similar treatment meted out to "muthhu kuLikka vAreegaLA", this time it TMS forced to follow the root note of the chord. What imagination !!! for a folksy number.

Having flown into the folksy territory, the last time the pallavi is sung out in the song "ArOdum maNNil intha neerOdum", Seerkazhi is entrusted with the counter humming bit, so earthy, meaning in addition to elevating the already elevated melody, the humming a waft of rain drenched earth, such a soothing aroma.

Be it folk, Rock and Roll, Jazz, typical Tamil Film situation, MSV's vocal harmony hovers well above his dimunitive physical stature and rest of the composers' imaginative faculties. More later....
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ragasuda
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:20 pm    Post subject: மெல்ல& Reply with quote

இந்த சிறந்த தலைப்புக்காக சாய் சரவணன் அவர்களுக்கு முதற்கண் நன்றிகள். சொல்லப் போனால் மிக நீண்ட நாட்களுக்கு என் நெஞ்சில் நிலைத்திருக்கும் ஓர் அம்சம் இது. குறிப்பாக மெல்லிசை மன்னரின் குழுவில் கோரஸ் பாடுவதற்குப் பின்னணிப் பாடகர்களை விடவும் அதிகம் திறமை, பொறுமை எல்லாம் வேண்டும். அவர் எத்தனையோ விதமான சூழ்நிலைகளில், பாடல்களில் கோரஸ் பயன் படுத்தியுள்ளார். ஆனால் சிருங்கார ரசம் அவர் பயன் படுத்தியது போல் இதுவரை யாரும் பயன்படுத்தியதில்லை, அப்படி அவர் பயன்படுத்திய கோரஸ் நெஞ்சில் வருடி இடம் பிடித்து அமர்ந்து விட்ட பிறகு வேறு எதற்கும் அது இடம் தராது என்பதும் உண்மை. அதற்கு உதாரணம், சுமதி என் சுந்தரி படத்தில் இடம் பெறும் கோரஸ் ஆகும். நம்பினால் நம்புங்கள், அப்படத்தில் அடிக்கடி இடம் பெறும் இக்கோரஸ் ஒலிக்காகவே அப்படத்தை சுமார் 50தடவைக்கு மேல் பார்த்திருக்கிறேன் (நடிகர்திலகத்திற்காகப் பார்த்த எண்ணிக்கை தனி).
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear friends,
The deeper one thinks about any composition of MM, the richer one becomes by the acquisition of such peerless pearls from this depth. This facet added to film music by MM is quite unique, and has been only vaguely and vainly followed or attempted by a couple of other MDs thus far. We can faintly recollect a Shankar-Ganesh's "Kashmir...", few V.Kumar's compositions (Is "poovinum melliya poovidhu" sung by TMS-for Jaishanker- tuned by V.Kumar or SMS or is it MM himself??), or a KVM's "Mayakkamenna", seemingly hastily and shabbily added laterally, and the earlier attempts of Veda in a Ravichandran starrer. All these fade out excepting "Kashmir" followed in MSV's style, and the Veda's attempt ('inspired' one, as usual?).

I remember hearing (MM's interview somewhere) the mention of overcrowded recording halls (literally overflowing into the outside verandahs) by this group of chorus for these songs.

In a hurry, I had forgotten to add the "Selvame..ore kural" by TMS in this genre wherein the chorus adds to the longing expressed in TMS's voice. The music triggers a variety of moods. MM excels in the orchestration.

I do not know if the original copyright owner of these songs can put them all together under one or two titles to highlight this unique aspect of our Mellisai Maamannar!?

Let us dive deeper for some/many more pearls...

Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Sai Saravanan,

Poovinum melliya poovithu?

I think you are referring to 'poovinum melliya poongudi' from Kannan Varuvaan (Jai Shankar - Lakshmi).

One of the few beautiful numbers from Shankar-Ganesh
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s.r.sankaranarayanan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DEAR FORUMNERS,

KINDLY LIST THE MM SONGS WHERE PRELUDE STARTS WITH VOCAL HARMONY AND ALSO IN CHARANAMS.






S.R.SANKARANARAYANAN
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Professor, Mr.Murali and Mr.Vatsan,
Lovely descriptions on the chorus handled by MM and the effects registered in our hearts.
What are your experiences from MM (listening directly from MM) regarding this subject (choruses)? What has he narrated on this? It would be for the benefit of all to hear from you. Eagerly awaiting postings about this...
Sai Saravanan
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Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr.Shankar,
Very true! This pattern of chorus that you have highlighted, if I recollect, has been also his innovation. Sadly enough, others have made a market out of it. This pattern used in the songs mentioned by you were refreshingly novel and pleasant. There are also other songs that he has composed in a similar manner.
Thanks,
Sai Saravanan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Sai Saravanan,

One of the main differences in composing style, which was the reasons MSV stood out uniquely was the use of the chorus as you mentioned. You are right in suggesting the Church choir was used. Only it was not the church choir of any church hired for the purpose. It included many from a choir who were trained in singing in that style. Especially the Soprano voice with the vibrato[which is not encouraged in the carnatic style and interestingly also not considered advisable in the classical western singing]. I know this because a relative who was in the team was pulled up by her father for doing so as he was worried of her entering the film world. In many songs ,where this was not needed, he seems to have used his resources.

The effect is best heard in the G.K.Venkatesh version of "Andha Nal Mudhal Indha Nal Varai" in the film "Pava Mannippu". Unfortunately the recordings were not good [ mainly the ones available on the market]and so the parts singing is not heard so well.

Incidently I think that he is the MD who has used part singing in most number of songs with that style, especially PBS /PS and PBS/JANAKAI to the maximum.The ending of the song" Nenjathai Alli Konjam Tha Tha" is one of the best of lady duets and of course the counter melody in "Thoodhu Solla" as already mentioned by others is incomparable.

I feel David Boyle should meet MSV. Who Knows.!
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="S.R. SHANKAR"]Dear MSViars
I would stress the fact that MSV was the trend setter to first introduce 'tham thanam tham thanam' chorus mostly for the team accompanying the lead pair which is aped by all MDs later. If I remember correct he first introduced in Moonru mudichu song 'Adi velli' or Jesudas-P.S duet in film 'Thai veetu seedhanam and splendidly followed it in Avargal song Katrukkenna veli
Introducing novel chorus has been his trend from his earlier days in film as exemplified by the song 'Thanga mohana thamaraiye' in Pudhaiyal-- I am not sure how many of you could recall
Whether orchestresation or new music pattern MSV is the torch bearerin Tamil movies
The pleasure he created by his novelty is worth recalling and rejoicing for ages to come

Cordially yours
SRS[/quote]
Dear SRS,
You have mentioned and represented the views of all msv fans. It was MM who introduced these chorus for the lead pair accompaniment. The song you mentioned from Thaai Veettu Seedhanam is my all time favourite -
KAALATTHAI VELLUM INBA KAADHAL VAAZHGA. Aha enna arumaiyana manadai varudi ulley sendru amarndu kollum padal! Adhil varum andha chorus ..... simply mesmerising.
Raghavendran.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adi velli thedi unani
enaku migavum piditha padal. Song disussion la
indha song ai patri ezhudhi iurpen.

Chorus - Lovers feelings ai supprt panra madhiri Chorus idhu.......

With Love,
Usha Sankar.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

மெல்லிசை மன்னரின் கோரஸ் சிறப்புக்கு மற்றுமொரு எடுத்துக்காட்டு, தர்மம் எங்கே படத்தி்ல் இடம் பெற்ற பள்ளியறைக்குள் வந்த புள்ளி மயிலே. இனிமேலும் இப்படியொரு பாடலை எந்த ஒரு இசையமைப்பாளரும் தரமுடியாது. என்ன வொரு இசைக்கருவிகளின் பயன்பாடு, இனிமை, தொகுப்பு - மெல்லிசை மன்னரின் இசைக்கு விருது வழங்கும் தகுதி பெற்றவர் இனிமேல் பிறந்தால் தான் உண்டு.
ராகவேந்திரன்.
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Sai Saravanan
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Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 631
Location: Hyderabad

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear friends,
How did I forget this "Palli araikkul vanda" ????? Unusual song and gives us a rare thrill for the theme. Thanks for reminding this beauty of a song. I felt that I have already missed a couple of other beauties like: "Ulagam" from Ulagam suttrum vaaliban - a grand song with chorus going to all heights. I go into an ecstatic delight when I listen these songs. God knows how He gave these ideas to MM!!

The waves (harmony from the choir) generated in our minds when we hear "Sontham eppodum thodarkadhai thaan, mudive illadathu" last long and refuse to subside. A very unique composition from MM!

Once, I remember MM mention the choir as Madras Choir, if I am right.

Let me recollect some more....


Sai Saravanan
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