Friday, November 18, 2005

The King (Raja) of Music

Hmm. This post ought not to have taken so long to show up; I wonder why it did not ‘emerge’ for so long! It’s taken me almost one and a half years to realize that I haven’t written a full-fledged post on...Ilaiyaraja & his Music, despite the fact that I am almost fanatical about his music. (I’ve made a passing mention of the fact that I am devoted to his music on my blog but never gotten into a complete write-up) Ilaiyaraja - Music. To me, these two are synonymous. In other (better) words, according to me, - Music, thy name is Ilaiyaraja. I was virtually fed on Raja’s music through my growing years and would have probably been subjected to severe mental and spiritual disabilities if not for his music. :) I adore the music that this man has composed and created. The tunes, the instrumentals, the unique and soulful nuances et al. I will be able to identify his music anytime in just a few seconds and I am sure so would anyone who has an ear for music and is familiar with the one and only ‘Raja-Music’. There were days when I moved on with life only because of his music, and I am not exaggerating here.

For a Raja aficionado like me, the recently broadcasted concert on Jaya TV which was spread across three weeks, was a once in a life-time experience. (Though, I was bugged no end about the fact that after every 2 songs the ad-break lasted 15 odd (or is it ‘ad’) minutes.) of course, I can never justify not being able to make it to Chennai for the live concert when it happened but I at least got to see it on TV. I found my mind and heart screaming repeatedly that I ought to make it to the next live concert wherever it is on earth. BTW, this was apparently the first time that Raja did a live light-music concert. He has of course worked on his famous Symphony and other ‘westernized’ presentations through concerts arranged for audiences abroad.

For the uninitiated, Raja is a natural genius. He was not taught music by anyone and has no professional music education whatsoever. The music simply flows from within him. It is purely intuitive. He just sits down and composes music. He has no organized ‘educated’ approach to music. It is as if he has a communion with God and the music flows out of the conversations the two have. I strongly feel that this is probably the reason why I get completely turned on by his music, as it is intuitive and touches one’s heart/soul. Listening to his music is like listening to a wonderful conversation between God and one of his favourite children – specifically, a heart-to-heart conversation. Well, music is creative. But in my opinion there is a world of difference between the product of one who has been taught and groomed to be a commercial musician and one who is a born music genius. Talking of which I should say this holds good in any sphere including that of leadership. But, among those taught and trained, the presence/absence of passion makes a huge difference to the ‘quality’ of the product. Some people have a natural passion but it still requires some fine-tuning by a person destined to be one’s Guru. I digress. Coming back to the topic of Ilaiyaraja and his music, I just thought I’d make a quick list of my current top 15 favourite songs of his. If you were to ask me to make a list of all the songs that I like, it would be next to impossible and I don’t have that much time anyways. So, here are 15 songs that I have been listening to of late. And I just can’t number them. They are all equally good. They simply charge me up and make me feel on top of the world. I simply can’t thank Raja enough for these songs…

· Idu Oru Pon Maalai

· Paadava Un Paadalai

· Pani Vizhum Malarvanam

· Ozhiyile Terivadu

· Kuyil Pola Ponnu Onnu

· Sundari Kannal Oru

· Senthura Poove

· Kanna Unnai Thedugiren

· En Uyire Vaa

· Maanguyile Poonguyile

· Kaatril Varum Geethame

· Janani Janani

· Ye Zindagi Gale Lagale (Hindi)

· Jotheyalli (Kannada)

· Nagu Endhidhe (Kannada)

PS: Two other musicians who *I* put almost on par with Raja and have got me gesturing, and smiling to their music and humming along are R.D.Burman and M.M Kreem…no hard feelings, please. It’s just that something in me responds better to Raja’s music more than anyone else’s. Actually, I think the difference lies in that that - R.D Burman’s music is more of the foot-tapping types and Kreem is more into moving soulful music. Raja’s songs in my opinion are musical melodies that can actually leave one happier than before….especially in my case because I rarely *listen* to the lyrics (in which case the meaning of the song will also determine whether I like the song or not) and concentrate wholly on the music and the tunes...

Long live Raja and his music! :)

Bonus Point: If you like instrumental music/fusion music, consider my recommendation. Buy Rajesh Vaidya’sVoyage’. It has some amazing compositions that can energize you and uplift your spirits. I simply love this tape and have sometimes listened to it continuously for hours together without feeling ‘bored’.

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