Tuesday, October 17, 2006

EngellAm ThEduvadhO !

It was June 1993 at Delhi. “The Hindu” contained an article on IR.

I could realise that it was on the occasion of his 50th Birthday.

It was giving me the wonderful piece of information that IR has composed and got recorded “The Grand Symphony” at London by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and that news sent me for a roll!

I simply could not believe it, even though I used to dream for such news for a long time.

Then onwards any news on this topic I started watching keenly; and all the articles and news bits like John Scott visit to Chennai, the massive facilitations arranged to IR etc only enhanced my expectations and longing to hear that music as soon as possible.

But somehow, on the immediately following period, there were no news about the possible releases of cassettes/ records which worried me a lot.

It was that time, around October’93, all of a sudden, I got an opportunity to visit Sweden for a training programme from my company.

While any foreign tour would have set off some dreams and expectations in anybody, I was looking that in another angle.

That is “I am having a fair chance of getting the Symphony before others, if it is released during my stay there!”.

Dreams…! Wild Dreams !

It was a period of well over two months of November-December winter I spent in Stockholm. While as usual, any training or official work always take a backseat when compared to having a glimpse of the country of stay, atleast I remained focused on certain things..ie “whenever opportunity is there, search for music albums, particularly that of IR!”

Believe me, with so much enthusiasm I started searching whenever I entered any shopping mall there at Stockholm. I was truly amazed by the collections of Classical Music albums in any musical shops. (Now-a-days, we are also having Music World, Planet M etc. but in those decades, we didn’t have such exclusive music collections in one place).

All albums were alphabetically arranged by Composer’s name and no guess I could have rushed every time!

But the alphabet “I” always drew a blank.

Then I even searched for Asian or Indian music collections which again never existed.

It was a painful lesson to me that our Indian music, leave alone South Indian music, has not got its due share of attention, whatever you know or think about its richness and variety etc.

But atleast such searching gave me the chance to know and purchase a lot of WCM albums which remained a dream earlier. Particularly due to the forthcoming Christmas period, it was discount sales declared everywhere and classical music sections were one of the attractive sections.

Another peculiar thing I observed was that prices of cassettes were equal or costlier than CDs. Though I didn’t know much about the CDs in those period, I decided in favour of CD collections and went on purchasing and built-up my Bach and Mozart collections.

For the first timer like me in a foreign country, it always remained the fight between your dream ambition versus limited foreign exchange currency of those time.

We used to get our weekly allowances from our sponsor company. I controlled my personal spending as much as possible (being a “vegetarian” in all respect, there’s nothing you can spend money in such European countries) and whatever saving earned I put sizeable amount on CDs.

But, soon I had to put a halt for those purchases, when I heard my friends were planning for a Paris trip on their way back home with the saved money. Then it occurred to me that, why not I try for London, where I may continue to try getting the IR’s Symphony CD etc.

Then onwards, it was still rigorous savings I attempted. Parallel to that, herculean efforts went on with the embassies to get the Visa to London (even an African would get a visa easily in Europe, but not an Indian or Asian).

Finally, the Visa was confirmed, a month ahead of my planned visit. Then began the counting of days as well as counting my savings for London trip.

So when the training was over and when I arrived at London, it was last week of December.

Then came the shocking realization!

It was a virtual holidays for entire week in London and for that matter for the whole Europe.

The source whom I was depending for stay and other logistics (and also planned to take the help for searching the Studio where IR recorded etc.) had to go on leave, the rare leave he gets in an year.

Even though he made some arrangement for my stay etc it consumed more than 60% of my savings! So, I realized that I could do nothing now.

Anyhow, I spent the remaining money in some more CD purchases and in Oxford street Again whatever limited searches for IR Symphony in shops were not as fruitful as expected.

Finally signed off to London with a sigh and landed back homeland.

But then in 1994, I still sustained my hopes that, one day I would get that!

Slowly the facts emerged that it was never released and would never be available at all !

By hindsight, now I still believe that, IR has already given us more than that !

Monday, September 18, 2006

How To Name HIM - As I felt Raaja's HTNI

During the period of my WCM learnings at Delhi only, IR's album "How to name it ?" also got released.

When I visited Salem for my holidays and asked for the new releases of IR I was given two cassettes one is "Punnagai Mannan" and another is "How To Name It".

But when I reached home and listened to it for the first time, I was totally stunned. You can't explain the feelings that was generated at that moment!

To be frank, initially, I could not fully recognise, the very purpose, objective and the content of this album. I am so happpy because, like in WCM, I also got an album full of orchestration and just orchestration.

I beleived that some revolutionary things has started in our part of music world also! But with years of listening and gathering of further knowledge during my WCM studies, I could realise the overall vision and purpose of IR.

And he has rightly asked us the question "How to Name it?"

I have shared some of feelings on two of the pieces in my other blog CSR-WCMLESSONS-2.BLOGSPOT.COM (Lesson-48 :IR the Wiser)

I am reproducing the same here in this blog also, to draw the attention of the IR fans.


Please Listen from IR Album "How To Name It?" two numbers of pieces titled,“I Met Bach….” &“…. And We Had Talk…”.

Here IR has given a new look to the Bach’s Prelude in A-Major as well as Bourre in E-Minor.

(This prelude of Bach is available in the Ilaiyaragam file section also ! Please Click here and download the midi file part3emj.mid and the tab file Bourree In Em-00.tef In case you want tab software, download the exe file tabled32.exe ) .

In the prelude, what Bach has done 300 years ago is writing a composition for Violin piece in A-Major scale and is continuously modulating into various major and minor scales in a sequence….!
During such transition from one scale to another, if you look at Carnatic angle…., you can perceive a different rainbow of Carnatic Raagams !

So the brilliant IR has identified those transition zones and in order to highlight them he added one more Carnatic line to the existing Bach’s composition and Plays the both Western Bach (300 years ago) with Carnatic IR in synchronized fashion…!

IR's imagination is "Had Bach met Thiagaraja and both understood each others music and joined hand to create a New World of Music ...?!!"That's the theme of HTNI !

If you hear the Bach’s composition and then IR’s HTNI’s piece you will be so mesmerized….who is playing for whom…?

Is Bach is doing the background music for IR or IR is doing the background for Bach…?

Its with so much Perfect Balance between WCM and Carnatic…!And this is what to be called as fusion…!Which made this possible for IR…?

Imagine if he remained himself constrained to any one field, the net result is he would have remained a good disciplined fellow for that particualr field but we all would have been starved of certain GEMs !

His imagination and enthusiasm of bringing the best out of two by adding the advantages & flexibilities of both the field only made this possible!

He has been doing that right from Annakili…..!With "Potruvar Potralum...Thootruvar Thootralum...Pogattum Kannanukke...!" type of resolutary mind !

Imagine, one person is offering you the plate consist of gold ornaments….! Another person is offering the plate consists of full of diamonds…!Imagine both says you take only theirs and not others !

And I feel the wiser approach is to get both the gold and diamond and make a Diamond studded Gold ornament!The value and look and elegance….. everything is multiplied, rather than when they are seen as an individual !

But imagine if both the persons who offered the individual gold or diamond, now started criticizing that he spoilt the gold with diamond and vice versa….! Then its only loss of the person who losses both.

So to conclude the WCM Vs Carnatic perceptions, let me summarise like this….!·

-Carnatic gives the flexibility of Patterns but pose the constraints of their usage and shifting from one to another….!
- WCM has the constraint of Patterns but has flexibilities of usage or shifting from one to another…!

And the wiser sense tell that ……AVAIL ALL THE FLEXIBILITIES OF BOTH……rather than worrying about their constraints !


To recognize those things, one will need a century !

And to learn and follow that ……centuries and centuries are needed…!

Like the genius mathematician Ramanujam, he has written thousands of such Musical Theorems in short steps in each of his musical compositions…!

To solve and realize and prove and adopt them is for the next generation job….!

To perceive that we have to educate ourselves…. So that even if it is not possible for us to do, we can guide our next generation towards that !

And can see them attaining that with enjoyment and self-satisfaction !


Monday, September 11, 2006

WCM Learnings - As I felt Raaja !

WCM- What I learned ? What did I achieve after all those efforts ?

Million dollar questions!

Anyway certain associated trivia and my feelings, I wanted to share with you.

While learning harmony, without practical knowledge and familiarity of sounds of chords, its progression etc., still I used to try the exercises on Harmonisation of (SATB) parts.

In a way, I was like a deaf person composing music. (I used to hear that Beethoven in his last years was in that kind of situation; sorry for the wrong comparison, creation is a distant word, but even reading and writing I was not able to do; but with all humility I am only trying to say that I could feel what it would be for a deaf person to write a music!)

Somebody may say that my approach was wrong or impractical etc.

In fact one fellow in DSM told me that I am like the insect which sit on that musical page. Though felt sad, but still I pursued my wish.

And that was not a joke or so simple a job!

Still, there were some earnest attempts made by me to solve those exercises mathematically just like an idiotic computer in which some logics are fed.

I remember sometimes even days together I could not write harmonization of two lines or some 8 bars of notes satisfying those rules and regulations. Please beleive me, atleast I had the brain of an engineer, who passed out his degree. Still this was the situation! (Imagine, IR writes such hundreds of notes/bars in a matter of minutes with utmost perfection)

Similarly, even wherever I completed such exercise, I did not have the capability to play those multiple notes, so that I can realize what I have “created”.

I was just like a blind lady who wanted to see her just delivered baby!

But a few times, my teacher Ms Mitra while correcting the exercises, effortlessly played those phrases in the piano. That was the time I was in cloud nine!

It showered like a heavenly pieces of music and I could not believe myself, whether I have created them!

At the same time, there were moments, it was so jarring the notes, again it would lead you to utter dejections that whether I have learned something at all!

What I am trying to explain is that music shall come by way of “feeling”. That “feeling” shall come by way of experiences!

However, the fantastic experiences I gave to myself with WCM learnings, cleared me one basic thing.

That IR is not just a sudden one day wonder. It has not just come from heaven one day to him.

He had just toiled himself, hours and hours, days and days and years after years!

But the heavenly things or God-send things that could have happened to him are:

The Wish & Will he had for the Music in spite of his background,

Tough Mental fitness to achieve many things on music,

The willingness to learn anything on music at any time from anybody,

To transcend across civilizations and geography and time and to visualize & perceive the various musical systems and forms all over the world and bringing them together under one umbrella!

To implement such new fusion music form, without any fear or expectations, even in such remote world like our film music world!

Once I could realize that, I was virtually seized by the thoughts how many such treasures of songs he has created and showered on us every day, which we are not even having the wisdom to realize that!

Whether we appreciate or criticize, we were always on the wrong side, because, the real thing which IR might have wanted us to realize, enjoy, criticize etc that can never happens here !

From that day, I decided within myself, that, I shall reach out and do my small part, to make the people realize what HE is!

After so many years its happening through these forums and blogs!

I hope I am doing that! However small or effective that may be!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Andha Naal Nyaabagam !

Just for your viewing pleasure, I have added the following photo in my old postings related to First Visit to IR house in 1978.

This is the tape recorder and the house I was describing there in that posting (I hope this shall be of his Santhome house)

Thanks to the person who sent this to me now and also to unknown gentleman who owns it.

Blog to continue soon and sorry for the delay.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Memories of DSM : Part-2

The Wonderland of WCM learning!

No doubt it was a struggle, but those practical learnings gave me a lot of happiest moments also when I succeed in playing those small bits and pieces!

Believe me, all I am talking about was very small songs only of Grade-1 and 2 level stuff, like learning about the melody line, the chord supports, combination of these in each hands, the staccato type songs, the counterpoint example, the different form of music like minuet, bourree etc etc!

However, it also opened my eyes that I cannot cross that ocean. Even 24 hours a day practice would not have been sufficient, whereas, I was only having a borrowed half-an hour per day.

But I utilized all the other available time in my control for the theory learning, and thus within the very first year I could finish upto Grade-4 level exercise books.

This encouraged Ms Mitra to recommend me straight away for level-4 theory exam of Associated Board.

When I finished that, again double jump to Grade-6 exam. Till that it was always 90 plus marks!

But the Grade-7 and Grade-8 (final) preparations took some considerable time and efforts of mine, having to do a lot of study stuff on form of music, history, etc etc and above all the Harmony theory. There I struggled a lot and exam was also not easy walk-over. Still with 70 plus I had to remain satisfied!

So in nutshell, for three and half years, it was a roller coaster ride from Grade-1 scratch to Grade-8 final on theory side!

And Nil show on practical side!

[It was a great anamoly and funny thing to happen and nobody would have been allowed like this in the DSM history. Somehow luck favoured in my pursuit, that's all I can say.

Honestly, even I would not have recommend anybody to do that, as theory and practical must go hand in hand!]

But finally when Mitra planned to put me on Grade-3 practical directly, I was already enough exhausted and enough frightened about practical exams.

That was further compounded by my office situation with threats looming about likely transfer to Himachal.

Finally when Penny shifted her job and her house was vacated, the whole dream episode came to a logical end!

Those practical (though left in half-way, and now in the final self-analysis, convinced me that, these were not worthy claiming), and the theory learnings still taught me a lot!

Learning never begins or ends ! It’s there with us all the time.

Only point is certain things we consciously, systematically do and other things unconsciously go on inside, within us, as and when we see or encounter!

Anybody who even blindly following IR songs and involved deeply for years, can easily be claimed to have already acquired many of these basic knowledge of WCM, though un-consciously.

You don’t know the terms all right, but you have already felt that and have registered in your mind and got it mixed in your blood.

What you are trying to do with such learnings is to systematically unravel it, assimilate it and consolidate the “skills” acquired.

Simple to say, but when you unravel mystery of IR, you end up awe-struck!

Singing a poem on moon is one thing, but if you travel in a spaceship and land on a moon and see around the universe, what you will feel is something beyond words!

This is what I felt about IR, during and after my learning of WCM.

Its simple, but not simple;

Its Small, but not Small;

You jump of joy of seeing it, but you cry of not getting it….!

It has started, but it goes on, it expands and expands….!

Think of the example of “Sevili” character from the film “Mudhal Mariyaadhai” who goes on running and running to reach and touch the horizon and gasping for breath..!

Through out the learning period, my position was like that !

When you thought of unfolding Raaja, he is again at a distant with his size further growing exponentially!

May be exactly the same thing IR might have also felt when he learned the WCM and Carnatic systematically and realized/felt the new opportunity of expanded infinite scope available before him when one wants to do the fusion of best of both world of WCM and CCM!

It is really the BIG.. BIG…BIG….. picture!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Memories of Delhi School of Music Period : Part-1

When I joined the Delhi School of Music (DSM), after depositing the first fees for the quarter, I was introduced to my teacher, Ms M Mitra.

An old Bengali lady, looked like a typical school teacher. Again that skeptical look and “OK-What-to-do-I-have-to-teach-you” approach, I could feel that!

After mutual discussion, I was allotted Saturday morning one single sitting of two hours from 7-30 to 9-30 am as the class session.

One good thing about DSM was, each class session, only one student for one teacher in one big room.

I was given one Bombay address from where I had to get through postal delivery some practical and theory books for Grade-1, which I got in a few weeks time.

It was then I learned about the perspective of the lessons and syllabus ahead.

Just for the benefit of readers, I am giving that following information/details.

The DSM is affiliated to Associated Board of Royal School of Music, London and all the syllabus and exams were to be followed as per their system.

Every six month, the exams are conducted all over the world. The papers set at ABRSM is distributed in all these exam centres and the written papers are sent to London for correction and results declared.

For practical exams, musical experts from ABRSM, London also visits on the exam date and allot marks based on the performance of the student.

At the “School” level, there are Eight Grades to be approached systematically alongwith the theory and practical exams.

Based on the progress of the students in the class room, the teacher and the Director of DSM select the students for appearing in the appropriate exams.

After Grade-8 of school level, further diploma, college, research level of music courses are continuing.

(Later I learnt that in UK, the two famous old Universities are Oxford and Cambridge. While Trinity School/College of Music is associated with Oxford University, the Royal School/college of Music is associated with Cambridge University. In case of Royal School/College of Music, The Queen is normally the Patron and hence the name “Royal” is associated with that.

As we know, IR attended the course of Trinity School of Music and got the gold medal in Grade-8 for Guitar practicals.)

I was totally astonished to know these details. I never thought of such a rigid, systematic approach with exams etc to be encountered by me when I joined the school.

My aim was simple, viz. I shall know what is WCM, so that I can understand and appreciate IR music well. Thats all ! Very narrow minded I was !

Anyway, having entered the fray, I shall utilize this wonderful opportunity.

Thus it started!

After attending a few initial classes, I realized that I was in a soup!

Though earlier I had some knowledge of harmonium and keyboard, I was able to play any single line melody with one hand. But, the real piano playing demanded two hands playing.

Even for Grade-1 level, even the nursery rhyme type of small four line songs etc, (which I started like a child), demanded high attention and practice to play with both hands!

Also, when you are an amateur player, you never bother about timing beats etc, and feel happy to play anything with any timing, with any mistakes etc and just enjoy yourself. But when it comes to learning, everything else matters.

More important thing is reading your notes, understanding and grasping what it is, then your fingers shall move to the corresponding position, play the notes, and play only for the duration required and keep on moving! For two hand two different notes, different duration etc etc! At a time synchronization of mind, eyes, hands etc are required!

It was hell!

Not only to me also to my teacher Ms Mitra! The way she gets angry and frowns and shouts, you suddenly feel like Tom and Jerry situation, with all your nerves and mind getting rigid and you feel like a small mouse!

At the age of 25, those were different experiences!

Really, my aim started shifting from learning the music as a hobby to “how to satisfy this old lady and survive the two hours of class every week?”

That means very vigorous practicing at evening hours at Karol Bagh Penny’s house.

But there also, you were having limitations of time and visitors distraction etc [how much I remained a “siva-poojai-karadi” in their daily routines is another moot point!] Anyhow, I had to do that!
Not only practicing for a particular class, but also to practice lessons ahead so that atleast my first time show will be “tolerable” to Ms Mitra!

Then it was really like “Avvai Shanmugi” (Chachi 420) running for me !

Start from Nehru Place office by 6 PM, 7 pm reach Karol Bagh, get freshen up, start running to Penny’s house and reach by 7-20 to 7-30, practice for 30 to 45 minutes, by the time dinner time starts, get out of the house and go to hotel, have food and reach back room by 9-30 pm etc!
Now I can laugh at, then it was not like that!

Poor Mitra had to suffer a lot with tension, and I used to mug-up the lines and played as-if-I-am reading from note book! That also she checked and suddenly will start from in-between-lines of the song!

Oh God, it was really a nightmare! Anyway, all these continued and I survived.

But one thing, I was very comfortable and Mitra also could not find any fault with me, that was my successful homework and easy show on “theory” portion of the music.

You see, at the age 25, if an “Engineering Graduate” attempted what a 5 year old can do, it must be easy, isn’t it!

The "Theory" lessons remained my USP !

I could use that for my survival and progress! Very fast progress indeed!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nalla Manam Vaazhga !

"Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you."

A few weeks passed since then.

Though resigned to fate and put back all my efforts to receding memory, I had the pinch that I could not do that what I wanted!

I could not recall, how it happened that I shared these problems with one of my office colleagues Mr SG Iyer.

Here I have to explain my Karol Bagh story a little bit for continuity purpose. Our NHPC office was in Nehru Place at that time and I used to travel in the DTC point-to-point bus from Karol Bagh daily. Mr Iyer who was working in the personnel department as Deputy Manager then, also used to travel with me often in that bus.

In the evening or morning trips, usually, I was the one who normally accommodate the fellow standing passengers in my seat making the 2 member seat for three members. That needs a special technique to sit in a half seat and still I can comfortably sleeping the one hour or so journey to Karol Bagh!

Old memories never die!

It was during one such occasions, that, I might have shared my musical search and failures to Mr Iyer.

But to my astonishment, he said that he knew one another NHPC colleague in Karolbagh, in whose house he had seen an upright piano (a compact vertical shape piano version)!

Her name was Penny, a Goan Christian, who was also working in NHPC’s Personnel department and occasional traveler in my DTC bus. That was sufficient for me to surrender totally to him requesting him to introduce me to her.

That also happened soon.

When I met her and made my request telling the background, she was so gracious in accepting my request and asked me to come to her house so that the modalities can be discussed with her parents.

Mrs and Mr Williams, aged parents of Penny, were living in a normal rented house, which was just 10 to 15 minutes walk from my place. The piano was housed in an adjacent room to the main drawing hall, which is normally their dining room.

I asked for time slot daily between 7 to 8 PM in the evening, after my returning from office. They have agreed to that. With tears in my eyes, I conveyed my gratitude to them.

Once the piano arrangement is made, my school admission was made easy and I joined the school, in the immediate period, hope that was last quarter of 1985! Till 1989, I could continue that classes and school. I will write those experiences soon.

Certain things are part of your destiny.

How come one think of a far away land which you never though you will land up for a job, and one family who has not even seen you ever in your life, agree to your request of such musical requirement ?!!

I have no answers till date.

But, in my life, I owe them a lot !

No doubt they had to undergo some troubles also, due to this arrangement. Their evening privacy time to meet and discuss with their friends and relatives had some disturbances, with me practicing piano inside their house.

Daily when I tapped the door in the evening, they had to open the door and some time they postponed their visits just to accommodate me! Such instances were many! Nearly three years I could continue with such arrangement!

At a later stage, when Penny joined Maruti Udyog and shifted, that facility came to an end!

But by then, I had already completed my theory exams upto the 8th grade! Even though I could not fulfill my dreams of practicals, the way I wanted, but I could do a long distant travel with WCM theory learnings, just because of them!

Penny and Family !

I dedicate all my musical knowledge I had, to you three! Wherever you are, I pray that all the best and fortunes are bestowed on you all so that you can always share them, the way you shared with me during those period!

Delhi School of Music! The Close Encounter!

Delhi School of Music!

A lot of efforts like locating the phone numbers and then getting the addresses, nearly two week-end days spent in locating the address itself etc. forms the trivial information.

But when located the building No 8, Nyaya Marg, Chankyapuri, Delhi and I entered, it’s a dream like feeling.

The serene and calm atmosphere of its location, in Chanakyapuri, the sounds emanating from various class rooms in the form of piano, guitar etc, I was totally taken to a different world.

After waiting in the lounge and seeing various notice board information etc, I could gather some ideas about the school.

Its basically an elite school for the elite, particularly, cater to the foreigners/diplomats living in the Chankyapuri area of Delhi and the real Classical music lovers of Delhi society.

Visiting scholars/dignitaries and experts of WCM often found the Delhi School of Music as the basic cultural link in India.

Now, I was totally become conscious and fall into inferiority complex with questions like can I enter this school and can I have any qualifications to enter this premises?

The only answer, I was having at that time was : if I can understand IR and his music, certainly I can learn all these ! If IR with his background from village etc can do some wonders like that on WCM, can I not even learn and understand atleast what WCM is ?

I must do that come what may be !

I met the Secretary of the school and talked about admission details. With a skeptical look she asked me to wait and see the Director of the school.

After few hours waiting I could see the Director, Mr Palamkote, an old gentleman and backbone of that school.

Having understood my request for admission, he was polite and blunt in answering, saying that basically they take children of small ages for entry level classes!

I was totally flattened and my entire ego and self respect came down crumbling! How much I have lost already!

He felt, and of course right also, that, it will be difficult for an adult to start a course and also, working class people certainly will not give importance and only will result in drop outs.

After much persuasion and assuring him about my determinations to study WCM and efforts to find this school etc, he told about the fee structures etc.

However put a basic condition that I must find a piano first for outside class practicing! Only after that I shall approach him again for the admission matter!

Because, with fabulous Rs 250 plus / class kind of fees, with only two to three hours in a week, it is the duty of the student to practice themselves and come prepared for the class, otherwise, the whole exercise will be wasteful! That also true!

Now where to find a piano? Already knew about the expensive piano rates, who will have such piano and who will even hire that and how much it will cost me and can I afford to that alongwith those fabulous school fees?

With utter dejection I came out of the school!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Delhi Days - In Search of WCM Studies!

A few months after I reasonably settled at Delhi, I started my search for the WCM related information.

I don’t know the reason, but somehow in my mind there was an association of thoughts that WCM means one need to learn piano.

Initially I started looking for some musical instrument shops and some book shops. But generally, the book shops search drew a blank and the instrument shops I visited were mainly selling the North Indian instruments like Sitar, tabla etc and a few shops were having some kind of guitars also.

When I enquired for some classical guitars and piano kind of instruments, I was directed to one shop at Connaught Place called “Marquees”. At the immediate next opportunity of week end or so, I visited this shop.

Initially, for quite sometime, I did not have the courage to enter the shop and was looking through the window panes from outside only. I was amazed to see the pianos displayed there!

Finally with so much temptation, I entered the shop and just had a look around. Frankly speaking I didn’t have any close knowledge about pianos except seeing Shivaji playing it in Tamil Films with his nerves dancing in his forehead!

Least I knew about them were the types, origins or prices of pianos! So I casually enquired the price of those pianos!

The shop fellow gave me a sarcastic look which downgraded me even before he uttered anything!

Having asked the question, he countered me with his question that in what range or which make I was looking for!

So clean bowled! Fortunately I didn't answered that question or guessed something!

I just surrendered and managed the show by saying that one of my friends wanted me to collect the details etc! When he explained the make, imported country and the price range etc, I was totally finished!

The prices were running into lakhs of rupees!

I realized that I was after some mirage and my Rs 2000 salary life was not going to take me anywhere near WCM learning!

Still I asked about some place which teaches piano and WCM etc as a part of my data collection (of course for my friend you know!)

There, first time, I got the name of “Delhi School of Music”.

Monday, July 24, 2006

1985-Delhi Memories !

Upto the previous postings, the topics and the contents were as I planned earlier, to share with all of you through this blog.

But the present one and onwards, regarding my Delhi life and IR feelings, frankly speaking, I was in dilemma, “what to say big about that all these?”

Indeed, I saw a lot of articles and sharing of feelings by my fellow IR fans who are away from their homeland, all expressed one solid thing i.e. about the carrying of IR memories and songs with them wherever they went which makes them alive in their mind all time, wherever they are and whatever situation they are !

How true these feelings are!

In fact, during one of the Thiruvasagam related interviews IR also expressed his emotional moments when one of his fans, who was away in farther land, told about his own feelings that how IR is considered as above even family members in such situation!

My feelings were / are no different than that!

When I read all these I also become nostalgic! Present postings are results of such nostalgic recollections only. I hope readers will understand my feelings and certainly don’t consider these postings (on IR moments) as an autobiography.

My aim is to make people who read this, can compare their situation also with that of mine!

They may also be attempting all these, which I attempted, and find a solace, happiness, some determination to pursue IR dreams which I cannot complete!


When I left for Delhi in February 1985, I had nothing to carry, except the thoughts and feelings of my family and of course IR!

When you travel for a distant land of unfamiliar demographic background, what remain in you is only emptiness! Everything you decide to face “as-and-when-it-arise” basis! Particularly, in those period when PC and email were not dreamt of you are left alone and removed from your past world!

So what to say, except reminding myself the song “Idhayam Pogudhe…..!”

But after landing at Delhi, by God’s grace, certain fortunate unexpected things happened to me, when it was least expected!

My first boss was from TamilNadu, which gave me some comfort at Office situation.

Again, when I was standing on a street looking for a room to stay in Karol Bagh, I met my ex-school mate (after he left my school more than a decade ago!) In fact he identified me, and he introduced with another friend who is also from my school and my village!

What else one need! I took immediate decision to stay in Karol Bagh itself, in a dormitary type of arrangement next to my friend’s place!

Within few weeks, when I was returning to my room after office, while crossing my friends house, the first Tamil song I heard at Delhi came from inside his house!

The shrill sound of a new voice at full throat “Andha Nilava thaan naan kayila pudichen..!” I just died in that moment!

I just stood in the road stunningly and started listening with rapt attention and tears flowing in my eyes! While the violin pieces confirmed that’s indeed from IR, I got further confirmation with IR’s voice itself that followed! The new voice I came to know as Chitra later, even though I didn’t like that initially, as I was so used to Janaki and others!

My friend who saw me standing outside his house, got surprised and took me inside. The song was coming from another room where his other friends were staying. And soon I got introduced to his other friends also, all of them were working in Telecom department like him. A normal tape recorder with the new arrivals of cassettes on that particular day, gave me the oxygen I needed most!

Then onwards, that place found me most of the time of my weekends and holidays! Though they were not the typical IR fans, but their collection contained reasonable IR cassettes!

Though, I could realize that I am like a parasite sticking to them, for “certain” matters I was ( and had to be) beyond all those “reasons & feelings”!

In fact they were so kind and I could develop reasonable friendships with them also (strategically)! But I never disclosed my IR fanaticism to them!

Slowly, this arrangement helped me in certain other things also! I was introduced to Theatres at Delhi (like Kamal, Liberty etc) which screened once in a while Tamil films !

I still remember the emotionally choked moments when I first hear the title music of “Kaaki Chattai”, the very first film I saw in Delhi’s Kamal theatre ( a Kamal film in Kamal theatre!).

Later on the list grew more with Mouna Ragam, Sindhu Bairavi etc etc. Years later, I even became the member of the Delhi Tamil Film society.

Similarly, for the video shows arranged on holidays by these friends (sometime covering marathon two days also) I was also invited and I could continue to see IR films, as and when those were released ! As already explained earlier, I used to record the re-recordings of these films.

In short, what I could realize that, "I am not going to be deprived of my IR links, thoughts and memories etc, even at this far away land! "

But I was not going to be content with just the IR films and videos and cassettes!

I have to do something more, that’s about my dream of learning WCM ! To understand more about IR!

Without clear cut method or approach, I still continued to try to collect some information on such feasibility of learning WCM at Delhi!

That day also came soon!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Nyaana Thangame - Epilogue

For Twenty two years this treasure remained within me.

Now I have given them further lease of life by this sharing. Hope people understand and abide by the sincereity, trust and purpose of this sharing by me!

Its just like, embedding the time capsules as much as possible in various locations of the world for future generation to get and learn and decide!

To learn and perceive about this wonderful composer, human computer, a perfectionist, self-demanding, and above all the simple human soul!

Even in those times, It was heard that IR recorded all the songs of "Mundhanai Mudichu" in one day!

He used to go on round-robin fashion in various floors of recording theatres and within two days completing the re-recordings of more than 4 to 5 films awaiting the festival releases two to three days ahead !

In spite of that, for an un-heard film of unknown artists, he was making such rigorous efforts and put his heart out for this "Nyaana Thangame" song !

As I explained earlier, I didnt know the film name as "Raja Gopuram". After that day, I used to have constant watch on all his musical releases to find this song! Months later I got the casette and heard this song.

Frankly speaking, I was not satisfied with the ouput quality of this song in the cassette. I could find a lot more "details" missing and not reaching my ears!

I know this was there ! I know that was there. Where they have gone ??

Thus, the reality struck within me and the learnings I had from these are:

Whatever we normally hear and perceive is not the ultimate !

Something still best of best has already happened and might have been missing to reach us!

If I am so stunned and happy with any IR song whose recording details I never knew, certainly some more absolutely beautiful things are still hidden inside !

Same way. every song that has not reached you or not so impressive to you in comparison with other songs, doesn't mean that it lacks technicality, sincerity or substance!

According to me there is no such thing as Good Song or Bad Song of IR !

There are only songs which you heard often (voluntarily or cumpulsorily) or song which you could not hear often (again voluntarily or other reasons). That's all !

Other associated trivias with Nyaana Thangame which I can add:

I remember to have given a request letter to IR (during the usual morning visit to his house) for an harmonium. (May look like a childish request now, but I never had any inhibition in asking that then! )

Also, I gave a sheet containing the pencil outline sketch of his portrait ( drawn by me based on one of the Kalki cover page) and requested for an autograph.

While smilingly, he signed the autograph on the sketch, the other request, as anticipated, remained with him with no reply.

May be, his permission to record the proceedings of the song, a consolation grant to me on that day!

But that indeed resulted in a great treasure which I can never forget in my life!


After this recordings, I could not visit him again (till 1987) as fate has decided other things for me.

Within few months from this fateful visit, fortunately (or unfortunately?! ) , I had a successful test and interview in one of the Central Public Sector undertakings (NHPC) and I had to move to Delhi by February 1985.

Saying Good Bye to TamilNadu was a painful decision but situation demanded that!

My long stint at Delhi, had memorable experiences which emerged due to my IR attachment!

Like the first IR song heard at Delhi, my first IR film seen at Delhi theatre, recording IR songs in cassettes during the "once-in-a-year" visits to TN, above all my initiation to WCM (theory) learnings all happened here !

Hope to record them in this blog soon !

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Nyaana Thangame - Part-6 - Audio Clips No 20 to 26

(Continued.......from Part-5)

So the Full Track is ready and Actual Voice recording to start…!

By this time, the lyrics written in beautiful hand writing in bold big letters reached the hands of IR.

He reads and reads…and absorbs the song entirely with its due emotions in his back of mind !


Pallavi :

Nyaana Thangame … …. Nyaana Thangame
En paattai kelamma …… Nyaana Thangamme

Maram Onnu Nattu Vachen Nyaana Thangame
Kanneeril Thanner vitten Nyaana Thangame
Maram Eno Pazhudhaa Pochu Nyaana Thangame
Kodi Vandhu Thunaiyaa Aacchu Nyaana Thangame
(Nyaana Thangame…)


Kizhinjaalum Saaya Chelai Vilakkukku Thiri yagum
Aruthaalum Korap pullu Azhagaana Paayaagum
Manusha Jaadhi Nyaayam mattum Veru Veru
Sumathangi dhaan Mannil Saanjaa thanguvadharu
Thanni ulla varaikkum kokku irukkum
Kulam vathi ponaa kokku parakkum
Uravellam pagal mosam
Adi podi ellaam vehsam
(Nyaana Thangame….)

Charanam-2 :

Kalangaadhe Nyaana Penne Kanneerum yEnamma
Naadaanda Mangammavum Un pola Pennamma
Annaalil thaan Kannagi pola un kadhai aachu
Karaiyeri thaan kendaigal rendum pogudhippodhu
Oorukkulle inge yaarum illaiyo
Indha Mazhai penjum eeram illaiyo
Thalaraadhe Thalumbadhe
Edhir kaalam Nee dhan Penne
(Nyaana Thangame…….)


The balance AudiClips are given below :

File-20-RA / File-20-MP3

File-21-RA / File-21-MP3

File-22-RA / File-22-MP3

File-23-RA / File-23-MP3

File-24-RA / File-24-MP3

File-25-RA / File-25-MP3

File-26-RA / File-26-MP3


Clip-20 : IR starts his Rehearsals for recording!

While Emy is getting ready with the minus-voice tracks for the actual song recording, IR is checking the Lyrics and rehearses the words with tunes and matches each other !

Also, he formulates his way of expressions and modulation of lyrical lines.

Clip-21 : IR records the Pallavi lines!

IR is checking Pallavi lines with his own way of expressions, which has a little bit of roughness and more folkish, or like some elderly old village fellow!

(IR’s expressions somehow sounded like “Oorengum Mazhaiyaachu…” viruthams in the beginning of prelude of Krishnachander-Janaki song “Poovadai Kaatru..” to me).

May be according to IR, the situation of the present film (Raaja Gopuram) demanded that kind of expressions.

But he seeks the opinion of the Director whether it is OK and later changes to smooth normal one.

See the range of difference he exhibits in his voice instantly.

He straight away get into the Take mode and instruct Emy and Pallavi got recorded.

Clip-22 : IR Rehearse and record First Charanam!

Same grueling takes and re-takes of step-by-step improvisation from Pallavi to first charanam etc.

Nobody is available in the studio except Emy and myself in console and IR in his Singer glass chamber !

It goes on and on! Nearly two hours or so passed.

Why at all IR like MD has to put himself into such strict rigorous exercises ?

Clip-23 : Pallavi+First Charanam+Second Charanam

Now hear the take of full song !

Meanwhile, all my batteries of tape recorder getting drained out, the battery level indicator becomed feeble…! I was only praying for the best and continuing my recording !

You can visualize my position !

Quality of Remaining audio clips will further bother you ! Anyway continue….!

Clip-24 : Again Fine tuning his expressions in Charanam

Never say No spirit of IR is something amazing !

In the lines of Charanams, “sumaithaangi dhaan mannnil saanjaa ….” and “Annaalil dhaan Kannagi pola…” he desires some gamakams in his expressions would be better.

He practices to himself, how it should have been!

So he will again change those two lines in the charanams and will go for another repeats!

Clip-25 : Re-Take for Fine tuning Charanams

He asks for Emy to again repeat those two lines of Charanams and synchronise his corrections.

Emy locates from the recorded take, the lines wanted by IR and just like we erase and re-write in our Word file, IR & Emy corrects the paricular written track for a few words!

Re-take done with corrections and checked.

Clip-26 : Final Okayed Version at Studio

Atlast, by night eight o’clock or so the session was completed.

This is the final version which was cleared on that day!


A song has born ! For disappearing into time & space !

Whether my blog & postings will give a re-birth ?

And will this song get its dues ?

Do the readers of this blog will have to do something ?

Am I greedy ?

Am I doing something wrong by posting this here ?

Let the time answers those queries !

Monday, June 26, 2006

Nyaana Thangame - Part-5 - Audio Clips No 11 to 19

(Continued .......from Part-4...)

Link for the Audio Clips 11 to 19 given here:

MP3 files / Real Audio Files :

File-11-MP3 / File-11-RA

File-12-MP3 / File-12-RA

File-13-MP3 / File-13-RA

File-14-MP3 / File-14-RA

File-15-MP3 / File-15-RA

File-16-MP3 / File-16-RA

File-17-MP3 / File-17-RA

File-18-MP3 / File-18-RA

File-19-MP3 / File-19-RA

Comments/Notes for the above clips :

Clip-11 : Re-Take from Prelude – Full Song tried as Track

Some more progresss…!

Having listened to so many times the individual rehearsals, now you can easily comprehend the whole song by yourself. Which you may find very satisfactory! Not for IR..!

Clip-12 : Suggestion for Change in Thaala nadai in Pallavi also

Discussion on the change in Thaala Nadai in the Pallavi lines after third line as well as before repetition of Pallavi lines!

Also, somebody on his own tries some beautiful rhythmic addition with his guitar in the Pallavi … just like that..!

IR notes that and comes to know that is by none other than Sadhaanand..(Son of famous erstwhile music director Sudarshanam) He asks Sadhaa to continue that…! Ni Sa Sa…ting-tong-tong… in the Pallavi!

Clip-13 : Change in Thaala nadai in Pallavi Rehearsed

Now the thaala nadai and Guitar improvisation suggestion (tha-thak-thaaa…) is added with percussion rhythm also and rehearsed.

Clip-14 : Full Song Take

Changed thaala nadai and Guitar improvisation effected.

Full song Take is done

(Note the dilrooba improvisation in the second interlude done earlier, is missing now somehow)

Clip-15 : Complete Song Re-take

The complete track song is now ready..! Almost Ready…! ??????

Clip-16 : One More Improvisation-Triangle

Most of the players have left the hall, as take is almost over…! After hearing the recorded track fully, IR feels the 2nd interlude Guitar-Dilrooba duet needs some fillings.. Triangle sound in between the Guitar phrases will be nice. So he asks for the triangle and its player.
But some unexpected problems start….!

Clip-17 : Complete Song Minus Voice Track checked by Emy & IR

Now your Master set is ready without Voice track…(like Karaoke..) ! Sundarrajan has done h is job!

Thank you Sundararajan….!

You can hear the 2nd interlude very clearly without the percussion!

Clip-18 : Guitar-Triangle-Dilrooba Re-take !

Triangle player rehearses after checking the Shruthi of Triangle….!

While recording takes for triangle it was realised by Emy and IR that Dilrooba track got erased erroneously!

So when IR wanted to add the triangle, Dilrooba portion was not able to be retrieved in the minus-track situations. Controlling his emotions, IR asks for the dilrooba to be played and recorded again.

So Dilrooba player was again called inside the hall and one more time got recorded alongwith Guitar-Triangle combination.

Such critical situations do happen! But without compromising IR again demands patiently and gets what he wants!

Clip-19 : Dilrooba-Triangle recorded and Checked

Atlast the 2nd interlude in entirety is over…!

So the Full Track is ready and Actual Voice recording to start…!

Nyaana Thangame - Part-4 - Audio Clips No 6 to 10

Nyaana Thangame (Continued from Part-3.....)

The links for the Audio Clips 6 to 10 are below:

MP3 Versions






Real Audio Versions






My notes/comments for the above given below:

Clip-6 : Getting Ready for Take

IR gives instruction to Viji regarding keyboard fill-up…!

Then some clarifications from guitarists regarding chords whether E & F or E-minor & F, which he approves and say "very good..!"

IR decides to start the Takes…!

Orders for traditional ritual, Coconut breaking… Getting reply that somebody has gone for procuring Coconut…!

So everybody to wait..!

In the mean time, IR again tries to improvise and orders Sundararajan to change the Charanam ending with cut in the flow and to continue….!

And tabla also follows this cut-start technique! Sample format played by the players are approved with IR saying to start with cut at first "Samam" (first beat of a bar) itself….!

Meanwhile, more than Director and Producer IR starts worrying about an important situation with Mimicry, for which some specialist is required which is not arranged by the concerned…!

He reminds the Director about the status, and get reply that it will be arranged next day…!

IR instruct Sundararajan not to sing last one line before the Pallavi ends and interlude starts..!

[This is essential for actual voice recording (to be sung by IR later) for which track of Sundara rajan needs to be erased or superimposed… so that no leftover/overlap of the track singer portion happens, in case actual singer cut shorts or adjust his portion…

You can follow this modification in the track of Sundararajan singing hereafterwards

Again the Producer and his Son (teen aged boy!) arrives and introduced to IR .

Again they were also reminded by IR about the seriousness of the mimicry situations..!

IR is more than a Composer / MD. He goes to the extent of fulfilling any Director/Producer would have wanted or should have taken care off!

It was again proved to me later in another re-recording (Paasap Paravaigal) witnessed by me 4 years later!

Clip-7 : Actual Take Starts

All instruments openings checked…

Special effects at Start got into rigorous take and re-takes….!

All the thunders, wind etc created in the keyboards by Viji, Also, he fills up in between in another key board..!

With two hands he handles arrays of keyboards at a time… which are pre-set for specific Tones! A treat to watch..!

As the Track having this special effects is concentrated at the recording console now, it appears that all other instruments like Shenoy etc are suppressed..!

But others are also equally getting recorded well in other tracks..!

Whole Prelude is getting recorded as take!

Clip-8 : Journey from Prelude to Pallavi to Part of First Interlude

Now, to proceed step-by-step from prelude and onwards…!

IR gives instruction to Viji regarding special effects adjustment…!

Note that Sundarajan does not sing the last line of Pallavi before the interlude starts as instructed by IR earlier.

IR instructs the improvisation (trill kind of effect) in interlude humming “Araari ro oh oh oh….”

Clip-9 : Re-take from beginning to Complete First Interlude

Re-take continues.

Note now in the present version of Pallavi lines getting tried, there is no cut-and-continue technique in tabla rhythm (as was instructed for the Charanam endings by IR).

Later this portion also IR will change for the Pallavi tabla rhythm like he did for the Charanams.

Clip-10 : Re-take from beginning to Complete First Interlude

As worried by some distortions, instructions was given to Viji by IR regarding the tonal effect of keyboard tone that comes in the end of First interlude….!

Adjustment of Volume and Echo effects to the pre-set tones…!

Checking with Emy, the Sound engineer !

Adjustments at both Keyboard level (by Viji) and Console level (by Emy) checked & re-checked!

Everything electronics! Perfection matters and demanded and got by IR!

Nyaana Thangame - Part-3 - Audio Clips No 1 to 5

Here we go ! ( Continued from Part-2.....)
But with a word of utmost Caution ! Rather my sincere request to all !

This exercise is basically to demonstrate the hardwork and sincerity involved by IR and his team-members (the real jewels) in creating a song, which many of you might have not got the opportunity to know!

All the Copyrights and related ownerships rights etc etc rests with the concerned owner of the songs and creator, composer etc etc as the case may be!

This is only provided for the individual listening pleasure only and not for making any copies or propagating with commercial purposes! I sincerely request all the readers to obey the related law of the lands!

Click Below for the audio clips (in RA or MP3 as per your requirement):

Clip-1: Rehearsal of First Interlude
Click Here for File-01-Mp3


Click Here for File-01-RA

As Sundararajan, usually the Master Teacher of the voice portions to Solo singers and Chorus singers, teaches and rehearse the humming by the lady voice in the first interlude.

Flute piece follows

Clip-2: Second Interlude Rehearsal
Click Here for File-02-Mp3


Click Here for File-02-RA
IR requests Dilrooba rehearsal. Sundararajan teaches from the hall in front of Dilrooba inst, and IR from console requests the gamakam improvisation! Da-Dada-Dan….. Da-Dada-Dan… …..
(please note this wonderful improvisation done by IR in Dilrooba which was followed in rehearsal, but by the time, final take was completed after some 3 hours, this was lost…..!!!)
Again IR checks with Sadhaa of Guitar portion of the fill-up and the Guitar portion that covers the Shadjam to Upper Octave shadjam… Sa-SA’ SA’ SA’ da da daaaaaa….. and improvises that !

Clip-3: Second Interlude Rehearsal Continues …!

Click Here for File-03-Mp3


Click Here for File-03-RA

Here Dilrooba+Sadhaa’s Guitar Rehearsal Continues…. Lead Guitar melody is repeated by Flute also. Then Guitar ends its Melody line..

But please watch carefully, the guitar ending is plain initially and IR finds something can be filled up, and so he will ask Viji, the key board player to fill up, which he instantly adds…!

And IR asks Sundarajan to continue the outline track and also tell him that between charanam 8 bars Pallavi…. Also remind him of “Ga Ma Paaa….”

Clip-4: Getting Ready for Track recording

Click Here for File-04-MP3


Click Here for File-04-RA

Every player tries their instruments openings…Special effects also getting ready etc…

Clip-5: Track Recording – overall rehearsal

Click Here for File-05-Mp3


Click Here for File-05-RA
Here for the first time you hear the glimpse of whole song in its track form!

Sundararajan starts his Thaanae Thandhaane rehearsals….!

My sincere tributes this beautiful person, who was following IR like a shadow; He expired recently!
Listen to the excellent bass guitar and xylophones, which you cannot hear in the actual released song to this level of clarity!

Also, follow the tabla rhythm, which is plain and simple throughout…. including the Pallavi to first interlude interface as well as Charanam-Pallavi interfaces.

IR later changes the tabla-dafla rhythms in these interfaces with specific instructions…..!

So Listen carefully….!

Raaja Gopuram - Nyaana Thangame - Part-2

(Continued from Part-1.....)

Data of Song:

Period : September (?) 1984, Afternoon Session
Studio : Prasad

Song Recorded: Nyaana Thangame
: Raaja Gopuram

Sung by : Ilaiyaraaja
Lyrics by
: Not known

Situation in film : Not known

Raagam : Maayaa Maalava Gowla

Instruments used : Keyboards (Viji), Lead Guitar (Sadhaa), Bass Guitar, Rhythm Guitars, Shenoy (Subaan), Dilrooba, Mandolins, Flute (Sudhaakar), other Rhythms like Xylophones, triangles, etc and group of Percussions-mainly tabla, and folkish dafla etc.

Voices : Sundararajan for track and a lady is humming in interlude! Then IR sings the actual song

(Initial approx 20 audio clips, explains the track recording that went on, and later IR starts singing the actual song!)

At Recording Console : Emy, the sound engineer and IR.

(myself standing all the time in the corner of that console room where one of two tall big speakers was standing, and I was inches away from the speaker, the sound of which was mind, heart and body blowing !

After that listening, no music systems in this world will give you that quality of listenings!

Of course, my poor tape-recorder could not absorb that much sound, like famous Salangai Oli Kamal’s camera, as he says! That' may be another reason for the poor audio quality)

Scheme of the Song

Just small brief about the Scheme of the Song :

The Prelude starts with the stormy, windy, thundering special effects, then the shenoy straight away plunges you with a deep gloomy mood, the ending of which is supported by the folkish mandolins-uklee type instruments

The Pallavi is the catchy and effective tune and tabla-dafla duo rhythms supported by beautiful bass guitar & echoing xylophone rhythms.

The first interlude starts with melodic humming of “Aarari Aari Aaro” by a lady, followed by melancholic flute pieces and ended with flute-mandolin duet.

Charanam continues the theme of the song effectively covering all the ranges of the raagam, again supported by the bass guitar, xylophone combination faithfully following the entire charanam in the background

The shortened pallavi is repeated

The 2nd interlude starts with Guitar-Dilrooba duet, which will unnerve you with its melancholic melody, followed by Lead Guitar melody with Keyboard fill-ups.

The Charanam again repeated followed by the full Pallavi recitation.

Scheme of Recording :

The Scheme of Recording is as follows:

Initial rehearsals of Preludes, Pallavi, Interludes, charanam,Voice parts etc

Then the track recording starts with individual instruments checking, special effects checking, again prelude, interludes etc

Then the actual Take starts.

Improvisation in each steps tirelessly, effortlessly continue as per the instantaneous instructions from IR.

Takes after takes to consolidate each of the section continues, and finally track recording is over.

By this time the Lyrics arrive and IR starts rehearsing for the lyrics part matching his tune.

Some confusion, mix-ups of voice track plus instrument is realized and again corrections done.

Then IR starts his takes of the actual songs, Pallavi, Charanam-1 and 2 etc.

Again Improvistaion in his own expressions of songs, Modulations of voice etc.

And the recording ends !

The approximately 70 minutes of the tape recording represents the actual 6 hours plus time spent on this song including the various breaks, tapes synchs and replays etc.

Finally the film and song both went unnoticed.

But not anymore with you people who listen this 70 minutes of 70 MB audio files now, and will
remember the same for another 70 years !

Since, initially I was in the recording hall as usual, I COULD NOT RECORD SOME OF THE INITIAL PORTIONS. In fact I never had the faintest idea that I will record that.

But fortunately on that day I had the recording set. And I made that Instant Decision !

Later I derived the courage and entered the console room and asked the permission of IR to be there, which he nodded with his approval.

Again after spending some more minutes, I asked permission to record the proceedings there which he approved with hesitation.

(Like the story of Camel which asked for the space for its tail in the tent...and then occupied entire tent!)

So, the first clip starts with rehearsal of humming in the first interlude ! Though some portion was lost initially, Better Late than Never !

All other trivia, I will write later then and there, as listening to the recordings is more important now !

Here we go !

( To be Continued.... in Part-3 )

Raaja Gopuram - Nyaana Thangame - Part-1

Raja Gopuram……!

Just the name itself, brings the majestic Srirangam Raja Gopuram in our mind.

Whenever I had the opportunity to visit the Srirangam Temple, I used to stand near that Gopura Vaasal and read the names written who donated wherein name of IR is written as the one who donated for the 7th floor.

And with pride I used to recollect, that my donation of Rs 20, (the very first note of from my very first salary) is also part of that donation!

When I joined PWD in 1983, there were a lot of news items that IR conducts a lot of live musical shows in various towns for collection of the donation towards that temple. So I decided to donate from my very first salary I earned in my life!

I sent an Indian Postal Money Order for Rs 20, which was signed by Mrs Jeevaa Ilaiyaraaja and I got that receipt with me. In fact that was starting point for my collection of IR address and the subsequent visits to IR later !

But Raaja Gopuram has another special meaning to me!

After the title song of Nalla Naal, the next real Nalla Naal of life happened when I had the opportunity to witness the song recording of “Nyaana Thangame” from the film "Raaja Gopuram" ….!

That was an amazing experience which I could not forget through out my life !

That’s so because, I could record the most of the proceedings of that five to six hours of wonderful moments (of course with the permission of IR)!

That cassettes I never shared with anybody earlier for the past 20 years, (except that some two years back, I presented a copy of that to Dr Vijay, founder president of IR-Yahoo group).

Now, I am going to share that with all of you now through this blog !

After a long logistics related struggle, the present arrangement is made with the help of valuable help of CRV and Siva to whom I always remain grateful!

With myself remaining at West Bengal, the cassette traveled from Hosur (Shankar-Usha) to Arcot (Ramkumar) to Muscat (Venky) and then MP3 conversion at amazing speed and excellent parsing into small files and titling by Venky and again to USA (Siva) and now hosted in RA and MP3 forms by Siva in his site for your listening pleasure!

(I have justified my long gaps in between postings!!!)

For many of you, the poor audio quality will be causing concern, but please bear with me and we have to be content with that as the 20 year old treasure on a few ten rupees cassettes recorded with a mono handy tape recorder, and the subsequent copy makings to keep preserving the contents etc cannot promise you more than this !

But still I can promise that the contents are real treasures in educating many of us who have not got the opportunity of witnessing such recordings and the grueling efforts involved in a song creation!

Kindly use the headphones to listen to many of the in-audible things and try to listen as many times as possible !

You wont believe me, even after 20 years and repeated hearings, when I hear this even now, I could get something new in each time listening!

On my part, I try to provide the explanations in the form of hints for each of this audio clips to the extent possible, which will keep the interest in you growing!

There are 27 audio files totaling to about 70 MB (in MP3 formats).

In order to make it a smooth happenings I prefer to publish these audio clips in installments on each day by limiting each postings with 3 to 4 audio clips with my hints.

Please bear with me for this installment releases !

(continued.... in next Part-2)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Song Recording ! Nalla Naal Title Song !

(Those who are fed up with the long gap in between my writing, and want to beat me, has to read the last sentence of this postng and shall be able to forgive me, I hope !)

Last week I was fortunate enough to accidentally "discover" the safely kept single page which was torn and separated from the office diary of 1984 which shows me the particulars something like this:

Date : 26-June-1984
Time : 3:00 PM
Venue : Prasad Studio
Occasion : “Nalla Naalsong recording

This page contained the autograph of Mr Sudhakar, the flute expert in IR’s group.

Mostly, to remember the details of this autograph, I might have entered the above particulars and that incidentally helped me now to recall the above particulars.

Otherwise I am struggling to recollect the other associated details. Because, the song recorded on that day had left in me a strong impression in my memory rather than other trivial things, which were by this time appeared to me a repetitive of what I witnessed previously.

If I remember correct, this time when I met IR in his residence in the early morning, I made a shaashtaanga namaskaram and handed over a ‘big’ packet of “kungumam” which I received on the previous day as a prasaadam from the temple at Palacode.

My prayer to God on the previous day to meet him was ‘sanctioned’ and made into a reality.

I could not remember what went wrong with me in the morning session and how & why I entered the wrong recording hall!

But when I entered, I witnessed the re-recording of MSV for the film “Sirai”.

(I hope this happened during this visit only, I have to check up whether Nalla Naal and Sirai released on the same day!

Still I continued inside that hall and during break time I tried to find out the details of IR recordings).

Anyhow, I could see a “huge’ difference between both the re-recordings of IR and MSV. Those details are out of scope of the present topic of the blog and for obvious reasons I am not discussing them here!

But what was so impressive to me till to date was that happened outside the studio on the corridor where both MSV and IR meet each other.

The “veshti madicha kattiya, gambeeramaana” senior King, MSV, and the “baya bakthi” IR exchanging pleasantries!

They were the two utterly simple people with utmost mutual respects for each others! A wonderful scene to witness!

So, whenever I used to hear the mud-slinging in the forums etc about MSV vs IR, I used to remember this scene.

Somehow, around lunch time, I got the right hall, and when I entered the studio lounge, and had to wait for the existing recording works were over, I could hear the “powerful” re-recording music which already going on inside the hall.

At the same time, in another nearby room, I could hear the songs “Othayile Pen kudhirai” and “Hoon Hoon, Venaam Venaam” both repeatedly getting played as if some editing and checking works were going on.

As usual I never had any idea of the film of these songs for quite a couple of weeks, till I heard that in some other shop and came to know that these were from “Nalla Naal”.

But to my disappointment when the recording session was over and when I wanted to enter the hall, I came to know that it was already lunch break.

So I had to wait till 3 PM.

When the afternoon session started, again this time also I could remain in the main hall only (not in the console room).

I could see Vaali and IR sitting together there in the console room.

This time it was the song recording, and I felt I was lucky since last time I saw the re-recording of a film and this time a song recording.

The song was “Nalla naalai nambi iru” and IR himself sang that.

But what I witnessed for the first time was the track recording. Earlier, I never had the idea that music tracks and the voice tracks are being done separately.

The entire song was first recorded with the Violin playing the voice track portion (played by Narasimhan) and then IR replacing them later with his voice.

I could guess, that should be the title song. It was a very nice and soothing song which will make you melt away!

It was in minor scale/Abheri and in 7/8 taalam, just like the counter part “kaalidaasan kannadaasan” song.

With a beautiful opening of Shenoy in prelude and in the interludes excellent keyboard phrases and fast paced arpeggios, beautiful flute pieces by Sudhaakar,

And if I am correct, some “asareeri” type humming was there in the interlude which was sung by Mr Saibaba (son of legendary actor Baalaiyya), who was the regular, rhythm-guitar player with IR!

Yet it was so simple and captivating. What to say, it just swayed me !

This time I saw Mr Purushottaman, the drummer, fondly called as “Puru” was conducting the rehearsal and takes after the initial composing by IR.

Again, it was a wonderful divine experience, to see a “creation” going on in an utterly silence & disciplined environment.

The way Viji was playing the two keyboards simultaneously and the flow was amazing!

First time, I saw the instrument “Santoor”, which was played in the interludes !

I may be slightly wrong in the lyrics, but the pallavi of the song was something like this :

Nalla Naalai Nambi Iru
Nenje nee dhan konjam Poru
Neram Kaalam maari vidum
Thenral unnai thedi varum
Soorai-kaatril Paadhai maarum Odam
Thendral vandhaal karai vandhu sErum…….

In those period of struggling and worries to get a good job and various happenings in my personal life, somehow this lyrics was so mesmerizing and left a lasting impression in me and I felt that song was just written for me for that moment.

Anybody who listens to this song will feel that vibrations!

Unfortunately I could never listen to this song after that! Till now!

Hope somebody will get me that some day!

After a few months of that song recording, I once again got the opportunity of hearing to IR’s song recording….!

This time you will also "hear" that…..! Thanks to CRV !

Yet, one more time, wait please !

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Recording of Re-recordings!

After that life-time-happening of witnessing re-recording, that also of IR, for a few weeks I was in different state of mind!

Of course, I was a sort of “possessed” by the “re-recording devils" for quite some time.

Then onwards, whatever film I saw, I could imagine what would have happened in such re-recordings. I could, to some reasonable extent, anticipate when a BGM can start or end !

Of course, IR always deceives your expectations, real master thinker he is!
In fact, for obvious reasons, I could not share those experiences with others in my surroundings. Also, that was not the age of internet, blogs and Yahoo Clubs!

My only fellow soul-mate for such matters, ie Shankar was also at some distance and as usual busy with his TVS works!

The way many such things got buried within me, all are coming now only out in his blog! More than two decades after!

One related things happened after that was my efforts on IR-BGM recordings !

Though a digression, I wanted to share that with all of you!

During that period, I could lay my hand on a second-hand Sanyo mono-record player handset! This I started using extensively on my experimental re-recording capturing from Cinema theatres!

Those were thrilling, frustrating, yet rewarding experiences!

At that period of time, in 1984, at least myself, could not have believed that, future will be of Video Cassettes, VCD, DVD etc etc!

So with the enthusiasm of protecting and capturing IR’s BGM, I resorted to recording of BGMs from cine theatres itself.

I was an Engineer, salary earning, respectable fellow! But, whatever the high class ticket I purchased, I went to the front bench of the theatre and occupied the first few rows, with the handy tape recorder whcihc I concelaed in my pant pocket!

Another consideration was “investment” in purchasing of cassettes; after realising the limitations of such recordings, and the bulk cassettes requirements, I decided to purchase the ordinary (ten rupee) cassettes only.

Many a time, I saw the same film more than a couple of times, to gain some insight about the re-recordings, and then during 3rd or 4th visit, I used to record.

A couple of films like Mella Pesungal, Komberi Mookkan, Neruppukkul Eeram, Thambikku Endha Ooru etc. I recorded in that way, in the cine theatres of my native Tharamangalam.

Changing tapes, batteries etc. in between, pressing pause buttons on and off at appropriate time (all in the dark), viewing a giant sized image on the screen few yards away, hushing away with folded hands the cigerette & soft drink selling boys (who look curiously what I was doing, and purposely would raise his tone of selling knowing that it is getting recorded)…!

All those wonderful experiences I had, during those primitive way of capturing IR BGMs, one may not get now while recording BGMs using Computers and softwares!

Later, at Delhi, between 1985 to 1990s, during the “video cassettes” era also, whenever such screening of IR films arranged amongst our bachelor friends, I used to borrow some body’s tape recorder, and sat in the “front row” near the speakers of the TV (to the discomfort of friends and myself), and used to record for films like Punnagai Mannan, Mella Thirandhadhu kadhavu, Mouna Raagam, Mudhal Mariyadhai, etc.

Again the qualities of audio part of such videos were ranging from poor to average ! But still I continued my efforts!

Slowly, it occurred to me that, films and technology have reached the common man in his house itself, and anything is possible in future!

With that I gradually stopped the practice of (poor quality) recording of BGMs.

At those period, most of the time, as a lone pursuer, I was considered a ‘mad’ fellow by many of my friends. (In fact that was justified because, many thought I was sincerely recording the dialogues of films, but when they heard, it was other way around, all dialogues cut and only music was on the tape!)

Now, when I see the craze and the big gang of followers for even BGMs of IR, and the methodical, acquisitions and archiving of such wealth of IR in many forums and clubs, like MaestroMagic, I feel really happy! I express my sincere gratitude to all of them!

Anyway, my “Soorakkottai Singakutty” inspirations have traveled a lot of distance in space and time, along with me!

Then, it was the experiences of song recordings I witnessed in 1984s, which I must share with you!

Hope, you don’t mind waiting! Worth waiting!