Raja and folk music

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Raja and folk music

Post  ravinat on Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:34 pm

When I researched about folk music for my blog some years ago, I tried to understand some of the native forms of music of TN. Most of my research was on Tamil folk as I do not understand the other forms of folks such as the practices in Kerala or Andhra. While I can relate to the 'Chenda' being a native percussion instrument of Kerala and some traditions such as mappla songs of Kerala, that was about my knowledge then, and even now. Feel free to correct some of my perceptions, which may be wrong.

For some strange reasons, Raja gets associated with folk music in the TFM world. Perhaps, that may be due to his beginnings in rural TN. His music is never pure folk though he borrows a lot of ideas from his childhood days. Folk is simply passed from generation to generation - it has no written notation. There is no lyricist who claims to have written those songs. With these ideas in the background, I noticed that Raja never presented a folk song or tune in its native form for most practical purposes. His layers of orchestration overrode the basic tune idea. I called this 'clever folk' and demonstrated how he mixed his other musical ideas with folk and presented them to the audience.

I am not going to repeat the clever folk idea here. However, in the process of doing this research, I collected some basic materials that lie collecting dust and I plan to drop them here (similar to the solo violin thread) and hope something comes out of this...

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  ravinat on Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:49 pm

Like folk music, I can't remember the source of where I collected this data. The Tamil folk music is classified as:


  1. themmAngu 
  2. kAvadi chindhu 
  3. noNdi chindhu 


Here are some definitions from Tamil Wiki:

தெம்மாங்கு என்பது நாட்டுப்புறப் பாடல் இசை வகைகளுள் ஒன்றாகும். தேனின் இனிமையைப் போன்று பாடல் இனிமையாக இருப்பதனால் "தேன் பாங்கு என்பதே தெம்மாங்கு என மாறி வருகிறது" என்பர்.[1] தென் பாங்கு எனப் பொருள் கொண்டு தென்னகத்தின் பாங்கான பாடல் என்று கூறுவதும் உண்டு.[2] சென்னைப் பல்கலைக்கழகப் பேரகராதி தெம்பாங்கு, தெம்மாங்கு என இரு சொல்லாட்சிகளையும் குறிப்பிட்டு “தென்னகத்தில் நாட்டுப்புறத்தார் பாடும் இசைப் பாட்டு வகை” எனக் குறிப்பிடுகிறது. நா. கதிரைவேற்பிள்ளையின் தமிழகராதி தெம்மாங்கு என்பதற்கு "ஒரு வகைச் சந்தம்" எனப் பொருள் தருகிறது

காவடிச் சிந்து இசைப் பாவகைளில் ஒன்றாகிய சிந்துப் பாவகை வடிவங்களில் ஒன்று. கலம்பக உறுப்பாக வரும் சிந்து வேறு.
சிந்து என்பது இசைத்தமிழ் பாகுபாடுகளில் ஒன்றாகும். அது ஐந்து இசை உறுப்புகளால் ஆன யாப்பு. எடுப்பு 1, தொடுப்பு 1, உறுப்பு 3 என்று 5 உறுப்புகளைக் கொண்டது ‘சிந்து’ பாடல். (அவை பல்லவி, அநுபல்லவி, மூன்று கண்ணிகள் அடங்கிய சரணம் ஆகும்.)
காவடிச் சிந்து பல்லவியும் அநுபல்லவியும் இன்றிச் சரணங்களுக்குரிய கண்ணிகளை மாத்திரம் பெற்று வரும். அண்ணாமலை ரெட்டியார் காவடிச் சிந்து என்னும் சிற்றிலக்கியத்தில் பலராலும் போற்றப்படும் நூலாகும்.


நொண்டிச்சிந்து அல்லது நொண்டி நாடகம் என்பது சிந்து என்ற தமிழ்ச் சிற்றிலக்கிய வகைகளுள் ஒன்றாகும். சிந்து வகைப்பாக்கள் இசைத்தற்கென்றே உருவாக்கப்பட்டமையாகும். உடல் ஊனமுற்ற காலை இழந்த நாயகன் மேடையில் தோன்றுவதால் இது ஒற்றைக்கால் நாடகம் என்றும் அழைக்கப்படுகிறது

I am glad I could find Tamil Wiki of some use :-)

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  ravinat on Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:56 pm

From a melody PoV, there are several forms of Tamil folk music and here are some of my notes (again, source unknown). Please feel free to add to this or correct, wherever erroneous:


  1. thAlAttu - Thene Thendpaandi Meene (not sure), Kanne Kalaimaane (not sure)
  2. KuRavanchi or kurunji - nAnga pudhusA - MSV 
  3. Sindhu - cholam vidhaikayile , mArgazhi thAn ,  rAsaVe unnai nambi ,pAdi parandha kiLi
  4. kummi - Aayiram thaamarai MottukkaLe
  5. villu pAttu or hari kadhA - rAmam kadhai keLungal, Vanamellam Shenbagapoo
  6. oppAri - ucchi vahideduthu
  7. nadOdi - vArAndA vArAndA

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  app_engine on Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:57 pm

Actually, IR does present nAttuppuRappAttu without any ornamentation - but not as a complete track but inside his movie songs.

Like the ones in the interludes of kothamallippoovE (kallukkuL eeram), 2nd interlude of pudhu vaNNangaL konjidum sOlai (murattukkALai), the prelude of araichcha sandhanam (chinnaththambi), the portion prior to 'pAttu chaththam kEkkalayA' of mudhal mariyAdhai song (i.e. from ERAdha mala mEla to "pAdum kural kEkkalaiyA")...

There may be examples of such ones as a "complete song sans any decoration" also (short songs may be) but I can't quickly recall at this time.

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  ravinat on Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:00 pm

From a rhythm perspective, like the Latino music having several forms (Samba, Bosso Nova etc.), the Tamil folk music has several forms too:


  1. naiyAndi - machi mannARU
  2. urumi - annanukku jE, ayyA voodu
  3. karagam - mAngulyile Poonkuyile

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  ravinat on Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:13 pm

app_engine wrote:Actually, IR does present nAttuppuRappAttu without any ornamentation - but not as a complete track but inside his movie songs.

Like the ones in the interludes of kothamallippoovE (kallukkuL eeram), 2nd interlude of pudhu vaNNangaL konjidum sOlai (murattukkALai), the prelude of araichcha sandhanam (chinnaththambi), the portion prior to 'pAttu chaththam kEkkalayA' of mudhal mariyAdhai song (i.e. from ERAdha mala mEla to "pAdum kural kEkkalaiyA")...

There may be examples of such ones as a "complete song sans any decoration" also (short songs may be) but I can't quickly recall at this time.

There are several such songs where Raja almost had it as pure folk. However, his synthesizer or guitar or bass will always accompany them. One of the interludes of 'PiLLai Nila' (SJ version) was also like that.

Here are posts that I wrote where he used folk arrangement (with ornamentation) in his compositions:

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2012/01/female-folk-choir-singing-orange-tulips.html

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2012/02/male-and-female-folk-choir-singing.html

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2012/10/usage-of-folk-and-western-choir-in.html

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2012/01/male-folk-choir-singing-purple-tulips.html

And here is a post dedicated to his folk percussion:

http://geniusraja.blogspot.ca/2009/10/rajas-rhythm-innovation-stage-10.html

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  Usha on Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:45 pm

ravinat,
   AS usual Nice thread..........

Raja's Nativity......... adhu avaruku iyalbaga varugiradhu.. adhu endha statekum.. endha oorukum............ avare oru time solli irukar.. idhai patri. adhu iyalgava thanaku varugiradhu endru.......

Goa. adhan culture.. andha nativitiy.... adhuvum dhan. edhuuvm dhan........

Marugo marugo..... indha paatai kaeta pin dhan.. after 10 years.. Goa sendren.. Goa nuzhaindhadhum.. IR bgm dhan manasil..........

one more type of Raja's variety...... indha kadal.. adhai sarndha idam... adharkagana oru style........ adhuuvm list podalam.. adhuuvm..
paatai kaetalae.. naam feel panna mudiyum. idhu endha oor endru.. padam parkamalaeyae....

Chinna ramasamy periya ramasamy.......  kadalaiyae kadalaiyae   ... indha paatai kaetalae.. enaku Ramaswaram sarndha idam pola thonum.. andha
oor ellam naan ponadhu kidaiyadhu.......


kadal. aaru, neerveezchi.. endru.. thani thaniyaga feel panra madhirii  compose seidhu irupar............ adhu dhan Raja...

Malai.. adhai sarndha idam.. adharkana oru music style...  

ooty.. adhanudaiya border.. kerala......

koda manjal thaazh varaiyil  .. indha paatai kaetal.. kearala theiryum. chorus... adhu ooty side chorus endru feel panna vaikum.........
karnataka.. ipadi  oru union.... adhuvum reflect agum avar music il...........

inum niraiya niraiya pirithu parkalam avar isaiyai...........

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  ravinat on Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:25 pm

Usha,

   The trouble with lists like what you have mentioned is that it can be perceived in two ways: 1) there is true nativity in a Raja song 2) the listener is perceiving some nativity on his/her head. It is hard to establish whether 1 or 2 is true.

  This is generally the case with folk. This is the reason for several things getting passed on as 'folk', 'village subject' and the rest of the cinematic nonsense.

  As a start, I would like to understand the basic forms of folk music in Kerala, AP and Karnataka before we jump to any conclusions.

 There must be some basis for analysis and the folk is an area (I hate to call it genre) where there is no strict definition. Raja does not help in this discussion much as there is always sugar coating on his underlying folk. If you think of Rasathi Unnai Kaanadha Nenju, this is complete western orchestration camouflaged with a tabla, lyrics and visuals to make you think that it is folk. It is not. Same is the case with Muthu Mani Maalai or Megham Karukaiyile. This list is quite huge.

 I hear too much about this 'feel' business, which does not work for me. It's like the cinema guys saying 'Raja is great in BGM' or 'Raja will elevate the movie with his music' - these are loose comments that have no basis.

  Bottom line, there must be some basic research on what the folk forms of various states are, and which forms have been made use of in film music. Unless we do that, we will only have a lot of 'feelings' going on.

  Please do not interpret this as a criticism of your post. This has been the case with folk type songs in films for ages. I remember Raja reacting to the BBC interviewer that he showcased folk music in film music - he said, KVM did that years ago, and the interviewer has not done enough research.

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  crimson king on Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:54 am

I think what the feel argument really attempts to express is that the music evokes a rural flavour (as opposed to urban).  Classical (and ghazal in Hindi) tends to get included in urban even though this may not necessarily be the case.  For instance, I have no idea if Sawan Ka Mahina is definitely folk, but it is intended to sound rural.  The difference is in fact mainly in the lyrics and emphasis on slightly coarser pronunciation more than even the music.  Yeh Dil Tum Bin as a tune is not worlds apart from Sawan ka Mahina but the 'treatment' is more 'classy' and hence would not be considered rural.  Why I am bringing up these Hindi examples is this kind of thing has been going on in Hindi too.  But because IR started with a rural based film and seems to have had a pretty high proportion of rural based films in general, there is the impression that he is a folk based composer.  I agree that folk based and rural flavoured may not really be one and the same.

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  kiru on Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:57 am

I think Usha might have a point with regards to IR's composition based on the 'land type' - kurinji, mullai, marudham, neithal, paalai. There must be some music styles or raagams associated with landtype, apart from geography and culture. When it comes to kurinji/malai I have mentioned before that the songs have mostly been beat/tribal rhythm oriented (lots of example). Similarly, marudham effect is captured in many songs where it is set in a 'vayal veLi'. There are some neithal songs too which use fisherfolk music as the backbone. IR's time coincided with tamil cinema moving away from indoors to outdoors and with people like BR had more rural subjects. In my opinion, IR is a south indian composer. The whole of south india shares a common culture and history. (To some extent it is applicable to the north as well, but with mughal influence it has diverged quite a bit). As IR never 'fakes' his music ie it comes from deep within him, it is not a superficial composition, As such, it will appeal to the south indian audience very naturally (with a base carnatic flavor - and folk is not very far from our carnatic).

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  Usha on Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:44 am

kiru,
Thanks a lot for ur kind words...... solla vandhadhai ezhuthil epodhum solla theriyadhu enaku......... en karuthai purindhu azhagaga eduthu
sonnadhuku romba nanri kiru............. idhai Ravni nat accept seidhu kolla matar... avar vera theoryil irukar.......


Ravi_nat,
ungal thread ai disturb seiyum ennam enaku kidaiyadhu..... kiru sonnadhai pola.. iyarkaiyai sarndha idam.. adharkana oru isai.. idhaiyum
IR folk endra list il serthu kollalam... adhai solla theiryamal.. feelings endra varthai solli... disturb panniten ungalai. sorry.....

anal.. Feelings.. IR music. .. epadi thavaraga agum.......

1. IR compositiion... yaanaiyai thottu partha kurudargal.. idhai ipodhu ellam yetru kolla mudiyavillai..... ipadi solven...

kaleidascope madhiri... enakum sila color , sila design therigiradhu.... aduthavarl parkum podhu.. veru therigiradhu......... adhanal.. naan parthadhu
thavaru illaiyae...........

2. IR composition...... Niraiya Layers iruku,......... Naan sonnadhu Feelings layers.. anal adhu ungaluku thevai ilai. purigiradhu..... Neengal irupadhu
Instrumentation engira Layers... anal adhuvum.. Feelings and expressionsku thanae............. Embarassed

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  ravinat on Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:41 pm

No offense to anyone here. I took Usha's post to illustrate that there is no strong basis to classify folk film music. (maybe it is an oxymoron). We need to create some fundamentals, however loose they are. It can be refined with time. However, anything and everything is being passed off as 'folk' music today with films. You can never get to the point like where Suresh corrected me that Kalyani is a sampoorna ragam. That is the strength of classical music. Even today, people struggle with classifying film music with Jazz even though the definitions of Jazz music is much better than our folk music and nowhere near WCM.

I was intrigued when some of the tracks of Sri Rama Rajyam were touted by a few Raja fans as Telugu folk - can somebody provide more details on the basis of Telugu folk?

Film music is an application of traditional music, be it classical or folk. However, my desire to start this thread is not to write several posts, but to foster a discussion on at least some fundamental folk types of South India so that we can loosely start classifying the work of Raja to those folk types. This is not easy nor has this been attempted, to the best of my knowledge.

However, only a wider participation can help us settle this.

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  krraju82 on Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:40 am

Nice post its good to learn more about folk from this post....thank you guys

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Re: Raja and folk music

Post  jaiganesh on Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:51 am

http://www.tamilvu.org/library/libindex.htm

Navigate to 'naattupura ilakkiyam" section.
I get a distinct feel that Thamizh folk art must be always wedded to a context.
The context could be mythology, real life incident or calendar events of a community (related to farming, festivals) and real life.
The distinct lack of abstraction is another hallmark. Apart from percussion, the wind and string instruments are not polyphonic.
However there is a distinct feel of "Question" and "Repartee" style arrangement with lack of pre determined lines indicating 
 how folk could be the precursor for 'Jazz and Blues'. The emotions are always at a higher pitch and the art emanating from that
 'high' is always high energy (except the thaalaattu and oppaari).

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