Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blogswara V4 online!!

Blogswara's fourth volume is out.Do listen to the songs there and leave your valuable comments.

Click here to listen!

It has been an absolutely fulfilling experience and many thanks everyone involved.
Something memorable associated with this song was Murali's and Vijay's visit home :)
We had a fun practice session and it was wonderful listening to that golden voice of Murali's, live! :) Vijay and I were amazed listening to his impromptu improvisations and more importantly, his effortlessness.
Every stage in making this song is worth remembering.
Thanks Vijay, for coming up with such a beautiful melody!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Varnam in Lalitha Ragam

It was about three years ago I think, when I decided to attempt one more varnam after the Bahudari one. My ever enthusiastic mom of course readily agreed again to write the lyrics. This time I asked her to try something different- instead of the usual theistic overtones, I suggested her to write something on the Raga itself, since Lalitha had left an indelible mark on me. It is an epitome of beauty, serenity, tranquil... I can go on and on (Popular songs in this raga : Hiranmayim by Muththuswami Dikshitar; Idhazhil Kadhai Ezhudhum by Ilaiyaraja, Vairamuththu)
For some reason, this song did not see the light of the day all these years- something kept me from recording it. Today, my sister's blog post prompted me to record this!
So its up here now for you to listen and appraise.

(Updated recording with swaram and 2 speeds)

Ragam:Lalitha (SRGMDNS ; SNDMGRS ,janyam of Mayamalavagowla(15))
Swaras (tune) :Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam.
Lyrics: Vijayalakshmi Bhakthavatsalam.


( Notation used: lower case-mandra sthaayi, upper case-madhyama sthaayi, upper case bold-thaara sthaayi )

Ma,D ,MGM DaMa DNSR | SaSN NDMG | MaGR Ga,, ||
MGRN DMDM GMGR SnSR | Sa,, ,,nd | nS,R ,SRG ||


Muktaayi Swaram:
SRNS ,RSR G,,M ,GR, | RNDM | ,DMa MGRR ,SnS ||

Charanam :
Ni,, ,NSR SNDa SNDM | Ga,, ,,MD GaMG RGMD ||

Chittai Swarams:
1. Ma,, ,,Ga ,,Ri ,,Ri | Sa,n ,,da | niSR GMaD ||
3.MDNS NDMa ,,Ga ,MaM | GRnS ndnd | mdnS Rni, ||
4.SaRN SNDN ,DMD ,MGG | Ma,, ,,,, | ,,,G MDND ||
SaRN SNDN ,DMD ,MGG | Ma,, ,,GM | Da,M DNSR ||
MDGM ,MGR SRnS ,Snd | ddnS RnSR | GMDN SRGa ||

mAthE mALavagowLai peRRa magaLE!
lalithE ena nAmam koNdAi

rAginiyE ERRam peRRAi sa ri ga ma da ni sa
thayai koNdu iRanginAi sa ni da ma ga ri sa

nin ezhilil en vasam izhanthEnE!

Oh lovely damsel,daughter of Mayamalavagowla,
You got to be named Lalitha.

Oh Ragini! you ascend as sa ri ga ma da ni sa
Nevertheless, mercifully descend for us; as sa ni da ma ga ri sa.

I lost myself in your beauty!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Karaigindra megam by Murali Venkatraman

Here is Karaigindra megam, a beautiful song written and composed by Murali Venkatraman, a composer I respect immensely.
I truly enjoyed the experience of singing this and sincerely hope that all the devotion, passion and feeling that he put into making this song are seen through my rendition.
Thank you so much for giving me this song, Murali :)

Song: karaiginRa mEgam
Music and lyrics: Murali Venkatraman
Singer: Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam

Do let us know your thoughts on this one.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Quintessential Qaapi

Another undisputed gem,an absolutely soothing melody from Rahman- "en mel vizhundha mazhai thuliye" based on the soul-stirring raga Kaapi. Rahman does of course go astray, and beautifully so :)
I so totally enjoyed singing this one.
Its so happening that every other song I put up here is Chitra's- it hasn't been deliberate! But I'm only happy and see this as my small tribute to the goddess.

I have sung this song with Murali Venkatraman, with whom it has been a long; musically enriching association. After being introduced to the blog world by him about a year ago, it was good to finally do a song with him. Thanks, Murali.

Song: en mel vizhundha mazhai thuliye
Film: May Maadham
Music: A.R.Rahman
Lyrics: Vairamuthu
Singers: Jayachandran and Chitra

Mixing of this version: Murali Venkatraman

Do let us know how you found it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dil dhadakne ka sabab

A human effort of a near-superhuman task: here is my version of this timeless ghazal. After many failed attempts of this song in the past I told myself to be complacent with this version. While on the one hand we feel some songs should be left untouched, the worldly, ambitious egotist in us on the other, wants to see how far we can go...sigh!:)

Song: Dil dhadakne ka sabab yaad aaya
Music: Ghulam Ali
Lyrics: Nasir Kazmi
Singer: Asha Bhonsle

Do leave your valuable inputs.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Shivakara Damaruka

A song that leaves me awestruck everytime I listen to it; and one of those that I'm forced to listen to absolutely meditatively- by the one and only Raja.

Here's my attempt of it:

Song: Shivakara damaruka
Film: Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal
Lyricist: Kaithapram
Music: Ilaiyaraja
Singers: Chithra & Gayathri

This is my second song in Malayalam, a language not known to me. Apologies in advance for any mispronunciations.

Your feedback keeps this blog going...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Aao Huzoor Tumko

Another attempt of an Asha song...
The O.P.Nayyar-Asha combo has always produced wonders and this song is yet another testimony to that.
Asha-ji!!! Bow to thee!!

Movie Name: Kismat (1968)
Singer: Asha Bhosle
Music Director: Nayyar O P
Lyrics: Noor Devasi

So here's my attempt- kindly leave your feedback.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

'Carnatic Chills'

Does the title seem familiar? Yeah, its a new fusion music album released by the violin maestroes Ganesh and Kumaresh. But no, this post doesnt have anything to do with that...

Nevertheless, Shruthibhedam I think is really one of those 'Carnatic Chills'...Its a concept that has intrigued me for so long now that I was tempted to try out a small aalaap incorporating the idea.

My undertanding of the concept:
(Much has been discussed about Shruthibhedam, among both Classical and Film Music lovers alike; Ilaiyaraja's music mostly being the subject matter for the latter :) Here is another such attempt by me to take up and deal with this in some detail. Given my limited knowledge,I'd be glad to have any inputs/corrections/clarifications.)

To avoid any confusion, I will refrain from using any terms from Western Classical Music and adhere to Carnatic terminologies.

Pre-requisites to understand Shruthibhedam:

1.Shruthi: A shruthi is defined uniquely by two distinct frequencies x and y (y>x)and their integral multiples, with a condition that the ratio y:x::3:2.
I.e., the frequency y is 3/2 times the frequency x. We give these frequencies x and y names, which are 'Shadjam' and 'Pachamam' respectively. (So since it is the shadjam that actually fixes a shruthi, it is called the "Adhaara Shadjam".) So, whether its 5 Hz and 7.5 Hz or 10 Hz and 15 Hz, it doesn't matter. Within any given pair x and (3/2)x, x will be Shadjam, and (3/2)x (or y), Panchamam.
What is to be carefully noted here, are the words 'within any given pair'. I.e., a frequency by itself cannot be called a Shadjam or Panchamam. It is only with respect to the other frequency in the pair that one can say that the particular frequency is Shadjam or Panchamam.
These are denoted in short by sa and pa respectively.
Now, given such a pair x and (3/2)x, all integral multiples of x will also be called Sa and all integral multiples of (3/2)x will also be called Pa.
Thus, a shruthi is uniquely defined by a series of frequencies x,(3/2)x, 2x,3x,4x,6x,8x..... where x, I emphasise, is a variable.
A shruthi is named by a number which corresponds to any sa (x,2x,4x and so on) convenient for performance by the human voice or any instrument. Let's call this convenient sa as the middle sa.
A middle Sa of 261.6 Hz is denoted by the number 1. The number notations for other frequences for the middle sa will be discussed eventually.

2.Sthaayi: A Sthaayi is defined by 3 frequencies x,(3/2)x and 2x.
So, x,(3/2)x and 2x form one sthaayi; 2x,3x and 4x form another sthaayi and so on.
If x is the middle Sa, then the set x,(3/2)x,2x form the 'Madhyama Sthaayi' ; the set
(1/2)x, (2/3)x,x form the 'Mandra Sthaayi'; and the set 2x,3x,4x form the 'Taara Sthaayi'.

3. Swara:Given a particular sa, we have so far only discussed about its corresponding sa and the other Sa's and Pa's; while (obviously) there can be a multitude of other frequencies.
It is largely agreed that the minimum ratio of two discernable frequencies should be 1.059.
So if we construct a geometric progression (GP) with x as the first term and 1.059 as the common ratio and compute upto the 13th term, we find that the 13th term is nothing but 2x.
So given an x which is the first term of the GP; like Sa and Pa, all the intermediate frequencies have particular names and these are called 'Swaras'. The nomenclature of the 12 frequencies as swaras are as below:
1st : Shadjam (sa)
2nd : Shuddha Rishabham (ri1)
3rd : Chaturshruthi Rishabham (ri2)or Shuddha Gandharam (ga1) in different cases.
4th : Shatshruthi Rishabham (ri3) or Sadharana Gandharam (ga2) in different cases.
5th : Anthara Gandharam (ga3)
6th : Shuddha Madhyamam (ma1)
7th : Prati Madhyamam (ma2)
8th : Panchamam
9th : Shuddha Daivatam (da1)
10th : Chaturshruthi Daivatam (da2) or Shuddha Nishadam (ni1) in different cases.
11th : Shatshruthi Daivatam (da3) or Kaishiki Nishadam (ni2) in different cases.
12th : Kaakali Nishadam (ni3)
13th : Shadjam (Sa)
Now going back to the number notations of Shrutis, a middle Sa corresponding to 1.059 times 261.6 Hz is denoted by 1.5; a middle Sa corresponding to 1.059^2 times 261.6 Hz is denoted by 2 and so on.
In other words, given a shruthi, if you want to go to the immediately next higher shruthi, you have to transpose the ri1 of this shruthi to sa and proceed to construct the geometric progression as usual. Taking the ri2 of the original shruthi as sa would give the 'next-to-next' shruthi and so on.
(Conventionally we denote swaras in mandra sthaayi with a "#" symbol and those in taara sthaayi with capital letters.)

4. Raga: A raga is a unique combination of a certain set of swaras in a certain pattern. The pattern of the swaras has to be defined for both ascent and descent of the swaras.
(Here I shall not dwell on the criteria for forming a raga.)
(Note: A raga is Sthaayi-independent.)
For example, the combination
sa ri2 ga3 ma1 pa da2 ni3 Sa; Sa ni3 da2 pa ma ga3 ri2 sa
forms the raga 'Shankarabharanam'.

Shruthibhedam :

It is to be borne in mind that cognizance/ interpretation of the shruthi of a piece is pivotal in determining its raga.
Hence, if we now retain the absolute frequencies of the above swaras, but decide to shift the sa to the present ri, i.e. make a 'bhedam' in the shruti, all the swaras change correspondingly.
So the above combination would now read:
ni#2 sa ri2 ga2 ma1 pa da2 ni2; ni da2 pa ma1 ga2 ri2 sa ni#2
(Obviously but importantly, this is possible only because the relative frequencies of successive swaras remain the same since they are in geometric progression)
Now this new combination forms the raga "Kharaharapriya".
Thus, a Shruthibhedam is said to happen when the shruthi is changed in a raga, resulting in a new raga.
The idea of Shrutibhedam has other interesting consequences too:
An entire song in a single raga can be percieved to be in one raga by one person and some other raga by another person, since it all depends on where the listener places her/his sa.
A classic example is Ilaiyaraja's andhi mazhai pozhugiradhu, which would be in raga Vasantha if one placed the starting swara of the song as ma, and Ramani if one placed the starting swara of the song as sa.
Now why is it that some people percieve it as Vasantha and some others as Ramani, and yet some others are able to pick both ragas with equal ease is a question I have not been able to answer. We would have to go into musical cognition processes for that, I'd imagine.
In other words, what is the criterion for deciding the shruthi (and equivalently the raga) of a song if it is not known to you beforehand?
And why/how is it that for a majority of songs (if the shruthi is not given), majority of people seem to find out the shruthi by some apriori ability, and also largely remain mutually consistent?
I wish to answer these questions some day!

Here is a small Alaap I did, in raga Sriranjani, with a transpose to Hamsanadam, and back to Sriranjani.
Sriranjani is defined by:
sa ri2 ga2 ma1 da2 ni2 Sa, same way back.
If the ga in the above is taken to be sa, and the Sa of the above omitted, we get,
ga2 ma1 da2 ni2 Ri2 Ga2, same way back.
This combination also corresponds to:
sa ri2 ma2 pa ni3 Sa, same way back, which is the raga Hamsanadam.
So when the {ga2 ma1 da2 ni2 Ri2 Ga2} phrase is repeatedly sung, with a stress on the ga so as to make it sound like the shadjam, what results is our perception of it as Hamsanadam.
Here it is:

--Ok, I really need to add here now that today, I'm really embarrassed by this piece :P I have to, have to, have to redo it. And really soon. Its perfectly ok if you've read the article and don't listen to this :P 02/09/2010 --

powered by ODEO

Do leave your feedback.

UPDATE as of Nov 2011: Since the player I'd embedded here doesn't work anymore (thankfully!) and also since I did this very transpose (Sriranjani to Hamsanadham) live at a recent concert, I'd like to redirect you to that:
Feedback as always would be much appreciated, thanks!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Malargale Malargale

Shrikanth Kumar is yet another talented audioblogger I got acquainted to recently.
Here is our version of Malargale Malargale, another of those sublime melodies by Rahman which traverses through the beautiful ragas Saraswati and Hameer Kalyani.
Please let us know what you think of this one.

Song: Malargale Malargale
Movie Name: Love Birds (1996)
Original Singers: Chithra K S, Hariharan
Music Director: Rahman AR
Lyrics: Vairamuthu

Mixing of this version: Shrikanth Kumar.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Vaada karle saajna with Pradip Somasundaran

A song for the occasion.
Here is Vada kar le Sajna, an old Lata-Rafi hit I sang with Pradipji -a household name in the blogworld I suppose; and someone who was so very encouraging when I just started putting up my songs on the web, and motivated me to start my blog.

Hope you all like this one. Do leave your comments.

Song: Vaada Karle Saajna
Film: Haath Ki Safai
Original Singers: Mohd. Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar
Music: Kalyanji Anandji
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Mixing of this version: Pradip Somasundaran

Thursday, February 08, 2007

'Uyire' with Murali Ramanathan- My first duet

Doesn't it feel good to sing and record songs that you've grown up listening to- songs that you would once play incessantly till you know by heart every bit of them, including the interludes and everything... :)
Uyire is one such for me; and yet another of those evergreen, unbeatable classics by Rahman.

Murali Ramanathan is an awesome talent who, luckily for us, entered the blogging world :)
Its amazing how all his renditions exude immense bhavam.
I'm thankful to him for asking me to do this song with him; also thank him for the mixing.
It has been an enjoyable and also a humbling experience.

Here is our version of Uyire :

Song: Uyire Uyire
Movie: Bombay
Music: A.R.Rahman
Lyrics: Vairamutthu
Singers: Hariharan and Chitra

I have had some difficulty singing certain parts of the song and wish I could touch the high notes with more ease...
Kindly leave your feedback.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

When recording meant nothing more than singing...

It was only recently that I learnt about cool music softwares and what they can do to your voice and how powerful tools they are. Of course I knew about their existence even before, but somehow never really felt upto it to try my hand at using them... Blogging et al never really crossed my mind. I was a happy listener and visitor to others' blogs.
So until some months back, my recording exercise consisted of just one thing- singing. No amp, no reverb, no normalising, no pitch benders or scale changers... nothing. And most importantly, no mixing! Just pop in the original casette or cd into the music system and another empty casette, hit the 'karaoke' button and just start recording, singing along with the original singer, trying drown her voice hehe...(wasn't even aware of karaoke cd's being available in the market!)
Actually in a way recording that way was great fun. 'Ignorance is bliss' so holds here.
Since I would record on a tape, there was obviously no cut-copy-paste or anything, so even a slight slip here and there, and the entire song would have to be redone, right from the beginning! There have been so many instances where I goofed up something towards the very end of the song and felt so frustrated about having to start all over again!
Although modern softwares and recording on the computer gives one a lot of flexibility and luxury, recording on tapes was a challenge in itself and the satisfaction it would give me after the completion of a song was immense. Especially after singing some of them atleast 5-6 times (the entire song, that is! ) !
I was just thinking of those good old days...and felt like blogging those old recordings, however bad the recording quality is (I trust it aint too bad, since they're all now made up and enhanced with....ahem....softwares (again! sigh)...

Some old recordings- done 6 years back :
Kannodu Kanbadhellam:
Jhoola bahon ka: Konjum Mainaakkale: Boondon se baatein: More recent ones: Thathiththom: Manam Virumbudhae: Sowkkiyama: Snehidhane: Kannamoochi: Chalo tumko lekar chalein (Jism) pal pal hai bhaari (Swades) Dil mera ek taara (December 16) Mausam ki sargam ko sun (with Deepthi Krishnamurthy) Jahan piya wahan main (Pardes)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Happy Birthday, Rahman!

Yeah, am 4 days late here :(
But I've been so deeply drowned in your music that trivial endeavours in life like blogging didn't cross my mind....And what can be bigger and better than celebrating your birthday with your music!
On your birthday, apart from listening to Guru a crazy number of times, I set my caller tune on my mobile as "Dum tara dum tara chashm chashm..." :)
Thanks- your music makes life itself more meaningful.
Happy birthday to you, Rahman!!
Hopefully will update this space with one more of your mindblowing compositions soon...