Ilayaraja and Beyond
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Post  kameshratnam on Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:33 pm

From Saravanan Natarajan

In celebration of the Maestro’s birthday, posting a song that remains close to his heart…
At the height of his magnificent career, Ilaiyaraja was persuaded by his well-wishers that he needed a break. Initially reluctant, the maestro agreed, but on the condition that it would be a pilgrimage to Europe to visit the places where revered masters such as Bach, Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven lived and composed.
As part of that unforgettable 1983 tour, he requested his friends - ‘Air India’ Gopal and Professor Jamal to arrange for him to meet with the famous French composer and conductor, Paul Mauriat.
Mauriat would not condescend to see anyone so easily, they were told. Gopal forwarded to Jamal a resume of our Maestro and after several phone calls, Jamal succeeded in getting Mauriat agree to meet Ilaiyaraja one afternoon for ‘just 5 minutes’. Ilaiyaraja entered Mauriat’s composing chamber, laden with gifts- a statuette of Lord Krishna, a sandalwood garland and a few cassettes of his songs. As Ilaiyaraja and Mauriat started conversing on the greatness of Carnatic Music, they dwelt deep into technicalities such as micro tones and Indian rhythm patterns. Afternoon gave way to evening and the two were still engrossed in enriching exchange of ideas… Mauriat took Ilaiyaraja to his ‘Listening Room’ downstairs, and as Ilaiyaraja played cassettes of his compositions, Mauriat closed his eyes in blissful enjoyment and declared that ‘he had never heard anything like this earlier!’….
And the song that had elicited excited words of wholesome praise from Paul Mauriat- ‘Edho Moham’ from the 1983 Tamil movie Kozhi Koovuthu.
The song is a ballad of love, lust and longing, of dreams and desires, of guilt and redemption… the newly-arrived young postman and the guileless rustic lass find themselves strongly attracted to each other… they cannot fathom the inexplicable torrent of emotions and yearnings that are remorseless in their assault…the song is a raconteur of this restless torment, a voyeur into this village rhapsody…
I have my friends, many of them who have partaken deep of the nectar of Western Classical Music, stumble for words while describing the structure of the intricate composition- chord changes, harmonic progression, arpeggio movements, Ostinati and String stabs during flute calls, Congo rhythm, sheer silence. … all these and more, they say in awed tones, have gone into this marvel, this miracle…Memories flood in of nights when we used to listen to treasures such as these in repeat mode and discuss each note, each nuance with wonder...
Janaki, as usual, is the voice for the maestro’s muse…. all through her remarkable rendition, she reflects the urgency of the pining, the surreptitious thoughts that come unbidden, the helpless despair, the piquant perplexity…
And yes, there is this Piccolo that plays the opening tune to set the stage for the drama that unfolds, and Janaki croons, in hushed whispers, the opening lines in the same she sings the lines of bewildered anguish, the chorus voices (all of them Janaki!) respond in reassuring empathy…


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Post  Usha on Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:58 pm

Happy Birathday Raja Sir.........


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Post  BC on Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:37 am

Wow! That was great to know about Paul Mariat and Maestro!


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