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Thread: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

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    Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    Dear All

    If anyone were to ask you about Indian music, I am sure that most of you would respond with the names of Pandit Ravi Shankar or Zubin Mehta

    But I introduce to you all, the most creative, accomplished, avant-garde, composer from India, Maestro.Ilaiyaraaja

    Let me tell you as to why and how millions in India hold him so dear and what makes him so special - Ilaiyaraaja represents the ultimate Renaissance in Indian music - his knowledge of Indian classical and Western classical music is very deep, and gifted with an ability to soak up any genre of music in stunningly short times, he has used diverse forms/genre of music in his compositions with all of them coexisting in harmony, without much of a jarring note - most of his compositions annoyed the purist pundits, and thrilled and excited kids like me - with time, the compositions were unanimously accepted as topnotch avant-garde stuff - I can give at least around 1000 examples og his compositions, in which he has defied all existing
    rules and given avant-garde stuff!

    In a highly stratified society, where classical music was often considered the possession of the high and the mighty, where the system was on the decline thanks to the heavy 'inbreeding' that was practised in the higher echelons of classical music heirarchy, Ilaiyaraaja stormed in, not just changing the rules, but also brought an entire generation of youngsters back to classical music and made classical music easily accessible to everyone and sundry, from the commoners on the roadside, to the self- righteous connoisseurs ensconced in high citadels of self-indulgence and snobbery

    perhaps, what might genuinely interest/impress you is the fact that, in India, if an entire generation got hooked onto Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart,Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin et al, it is only because of Ilaiyaraaja, who gave us the flavor of western classical masters, without plagiarising, and thus drew us and charmed us towards western classical music! Trust me, none of us would have been attracted to and obliged to listen to Bach's "Toccato and Fugue", Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", Vivaldi's FOUR SEASONs, if Ilaiyaraaja had not graced the music field

    That is the reason why Maestro.Ilaiyaraaja is both highly revered and also easily hated!

    And more than anything else, the fact that Ilaiyaraaja rose from abject poverty, shunned by society as someone from the backward sections of the society (there were times when he had gone without food for days together), music being his one and only reason for living, his life-story is an example of what perseverence combined with prodigious talent can achieve - he is our very own 'Million Dollar Music baby' ! and a source of inspiration for many kids to do something in life!

    Just look at his lifestyle - spends all his time writing music, books,and literally MUSIC is his life, breath and in his own words, his path to salvation!

    In a music industry plagued with indiscipline and callousness, he brought in elements of rigorous strict discipline, time management, punctuality and values of commitment, dedication and hard work!

    He is a devotee of Bach and baroque music and a big time admirer of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith - in fact, I have been told by reliable sources that Ilaiyaraaja has composed and recorded his own version of STAR WARS scores and wants to play the same to John Williams sometime in the near future!

    In his two instrumental albums namely "HOW TO NAME IT ?" and "NOTHING BUT WIND", he has given brilliant dialogues between Indian and western classical systems, both coexisting harmoniously without one subsuming the other. His latest work "Tiruvasakam in Oratorio" is claimed by many as his best, setting to tune ancient lyrical works written by a saint poet, and using a full-fledged Western Classical Orchestra to embellish the same

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    You can all access his website through this link:

    www.raaja.com

    enjoy

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    Administrator Frederik Magle's Avatar
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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    That's a really interesting article! I must shamefully admit that I did not know of Ilaiyaraaja before, but now I do, and I'll be looking to find out more about him and his music (but your article is a great introduction!). Thanks for writing this and letting us know about the composer/artist Ilaiyaraaja. I've just taken a quick glimpse at his web site but will explore it further as soon as I have a little more time.

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    'I must shamefully admit that I did not know of Ilaiyaraaja before'

    If there is one contemporary composer who has been underrated, unrecognised and also completely unknown to the music listeners around the world, that is Maestro.Ilaiyaraaja

    http://www.tis-usa.com/ - you may access this site for info on his TIRUVASAKAM in ORATORIO

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    Hmm... I must admit that my knowledge of Indian music in general is very poor, but it is actually on one of my lists to get around to when I get the time... there is generally very little coexistence between the different continents of the world, musically that is.... though the middeleastern influence has a steady rise in todays "westernmusic", owing in no small part to the large immigration to Europe and the US from these parts of the world...

    Thank you for this article, it's a welcomed addition to this forum!

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    corno - just give this composer's music a listen and you will understand what I am talking about - I would be glad to share sample MP3s if you (or the others) have no objections - let me know then

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    Indian classical music (ICM) is based on melody - harmony has no place in it - glissandos (known as 'gamakas' or 'brighas' in Indian classical system) literally fill up ICM, while Western Classical Music (WCM) is based on harmony with no room for glissandos (correct me if I am wrong)

    can such diverse systems be married ? it has been tried before several times, but Ilaiyaraaja is the only composer who has achieved this to give a wholesome product - harmony is interpreted Indian style and vice versa, and in the end, both forms seamlessly merge with one another, becoming indistinguishable

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    Of the 4 audio samples on the first page of that site, I enjoyed #3. The music is indeed different. Very interesting in fact. Something you just don't hear in the US. Thanks for visiting with us and sharing this information.

    You said that millions in India hold him dear. Does this mean that this type of music dominates India in popularity? Or is there an Indian equivelant to western pop music or something that is more popular with the people?

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    Hi Jason - thank you for your feedback! I am glad that you could listen to the samples - I suggest that you go ahead and listen to the entire album (Tiruvasakam in Oratorio) - you will find that it is entirely unique! to highlight how this is a unique effort read below:

    TIRUVSAKAM is a set/anthology of verses penned several centuries ago by a saint poet in South India by the name Manickavasagar (MV)

    When MV wrote this, it was all exptempore without any proper format of usual poetry

    For Ilaiyaraaja to choose some verses of this work, set music to them, make the score in a format that is middle of the line between Indian and Western classical, also accomodate perfectly a score that would involve/require a full-fledged Symphony orchestra, drench it with metaphysical aura and also stamp his own trademark elements - it is some accomplishment !

    For Ilaiyaraaja to have come up with a score that goes beyond the limitations imposed by the imprompu format of the verses, needs to be kept in mind while listening to this album!

    Indian mysticism, spiritual traditions are centered around the concept of birth and death caught in a continous cycle - and SOUND plays an essential role in Indian metaphysical concepts

    Ilaiyaraaja has brought expression to these mystical concepts using music with mind blowing use of Western classical and Indianclassical idioms, straddling a middle path and the result is this album

    We live in a world where even modern science says 'Everything is a system, even elementary particles (if you believe string theory)!!'

    Throughout his musical career, be it in his film compositions or
    non-film albums, Ilaiyaraaja has adventurously explored 'n' number of idioms, genres, and proven time and again that 'music is also a system' and cannot be differentiated into one genre or class and by debunking all existing norms, he has given rise to his own systems approach to music, where the output symbolises the systems approach that 'the whole is greater than the sum of parts!' With this album, he takes his self-created systems approach to music to an all-time high!

    "You said that millions in India hold him dear. Does this mean that this type of music dominates India in popularity? Or is there an Indian equivelant to western pop music or something that is more popular with the people? "

    well a very valid and relevant question - much of the pop music culture existing in India today is ripped off from popular albums of the West, or based on borrowed loops and musical software! copyright laws just do not work here

    popular music in India has two streams - one is the strictly classical stream, with different schools spread out in the country, which try to uphold traditional stuff - their patronage is dwindling -

    the other is the music that comes from Indian movies and private albums

    as far as Indian movies are concerned, until the early 80s, much of the music had its strong base in Indian classical system -thereafter, with the advent of satellite television, every tom and harry jumped into the fray capitalising on the urban market, giving out absolute trash, that includes private albums -

    the reason being that while talent is the basic prerequisite for anyone to take up music as a profession, it needs to be accompanied by enormous amount of discipline, dedication and hard work - which is what most of the present day composers in India lack - some of them blatantly plagiarise or give repetitive fare

    amidst all this ruins, composers like Ilaiyaraaja stood apart and have consistently given top-notch fare - the reason being that besides phenomenal talent, they had groomed themselves to be very very disciplined and spent considerable time understanding classical (both Indian and Western) music in their entirety!

    I hope I have answered your questions satisfactorily - if you want to listen to some popular music in India, let me know and I will give you the links for the same

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    THose interested are invited to listen to these two compositions of Ilaiyaraaja, examples of his creativity and versatility

    http://as01.coolgoose.com/music/song.php?id=161391

    in this composition, he has used Indian Raag MOHANAM (which is purely meant for traditional rituals)in a novel way, kindof hiphop style, in 1988, annoyed the purist pundits, and thrilled and excited kids like me then - with time, the composition was unanimously accepted as topnotch avant-garde stuff - that is just one example

    http://as01.coolgoose.com/music/song.php?id=193243

    In his homage/tribute to Mozart, Ilaiyaraja re-works Indian Raag Kalyani into a Mozartian framework!! classic crossover!

    Let me know what everyone feels about the music!

    to access these you will have to register, which is free!

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    Hmm... I myself am not inclined to register on another site in order to be able to download a mp3, so I'm sorry that I won't get to hear it this way.
    But if it's cleard in ways of copyright issues as I gather it would be to be on coolgoose.com, why don't you attach it to one of your posts here?

    You speak very highly of Ilaiyaraaja, very highly indeed, but aren't there any other composers in India worth mentioning? with over 800 million inhabitants I would assume that he'd not be the only one "breaking the predefined laws"? or is he?

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    corno - thanks for the mail - how do I attach it here ? if you can guide me in this connection, it will be great and I can do it right away

    Ok - besides Ilaiyaraaja (IR) , there are other composers as well, such as AR Rehman (ARR) - IR started off in the 1970s and has adapted himself and continues to prove himself

    ARR started off in the 1990s and already in spite of his impressive output, he is showing signs of being jaded

    there are a few others like Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, Vishal Bharatwaj etc, but their output is minimal and qualitatively average

    IR is like John Williams, while ARR is more in the James Horner mould!

    There are composers like L.Subramaniam, Bhupen Hazarika, each unique in their own right, but their repertoire is limited!

    I hope that helps - pls let me know as to how to attach/upload MP3s

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    This is an edited quote from the Not So Serious Forum:

    In order to attach a file to your post first click on the "reply" button (or "post" if you're starting a new thread). Just above the "Continue" button you will see a "I want to preview my post and/or attach a file" - make sure that is checked. Then click Continue.

    Next you will see "You may attach a file if you like (no bigger than 8000000 bytes please)." And a button named "Choose file" click on that button, then browse your hard drive for the file you wish to upload. WHen found select it and click choose. Finally click OK and wait for the file to upload.

    That's it


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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    Thanks for the info - I am attaching the files now - let me know if you could download the same - and give me the feedback after listening to the same!

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    Re: Ilaiyaraaja. Introduction to a Unique Music Genius!!

    It's downloading fine.
    I'll listen to it a bit later.

    Thank you for posting it in here.

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