People who understand the technicalities of raagams and the nuances of western classical music are the ones who are really stunned by Ilayaraja's magic. For a man who has been unexposed to western classical music for a good part of his life - Ilayaraja has shown amazing propensity and talent in picking up the subtleties of that craft. When most of todays musicians seem to earn the millions without knowing what a "counterpoint" is? Ilayaraja, who is considered to have the potential of a Bach, a Tchaikovsky or a Chastakovich, leads an unnasuming life. He rarely speaks but the magic of his ragas and his orchestration seem to do all the talking. I grew up in the AR Rahman era ( and I love Rahman too) but Ilayaraja still mystifyes and captures my imagination. He would always be the true unsung hero in my books.
In the good old days when Internet was in its early days, there were no blogs no yahoogroups abd we barely had a search engine that was worthy of mention. Things were, as they said, evolving. Now things are still evolving but we seem to be at a more advanced stage in the evolution cycle than, say a decade before. There were newsgroups.
Dr. Lakshminarayanan Srirangam Ramakrishnan is a doctor in Norman, Okhlahoma, USA. He wrote 15 articles on Film music and did a critical analysis of each music director and the use of certain raagams by different music directors. When I was new in the US of A and quite new to this email thing, I was stunned by the amount of forwarded messages sent ( a separate blog in this later). SideNote: to the "forwarded mail" saga, the small girl, who was a daughter of a Seimens employee was dying of cancer then and still dying even now, when I got the same forwarded mail 6 years after I got it for the first time telling me the girl was dying of cancer. So in that era, which was some 6-7 years before, I received 15 forwarded emails from a friend containing articles by Dr.Lakshminarayanan. I was simply stunned by his brilliant exposition of all things film music. He appeared to me as a carnautic music expert and he definetly understood raagams and the technical aspects of music in-depth.
I am a person who is retarded in such fine cultural things like carnatic music, I was awestruck by Dr.Lakshminarayanan's knowledge on this subject. I was thinking "here is a doctor who is also so specialized in what he learned as a hobby". As I was backing up my computer, I started reading some of my archived emails and slowly got engrossed in that when I found these forwarded emails. I thought I should publish these articles here just to keep this alive.
These articles were sent by Dr.Lakshminarayanan to the Recreation Music Indian Classical and Social Cultural Tamil newsgroups ( yes! the same ones in which another famous internet author Ramesh Madhavan posted).
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Lakshminarayanan Srirangam Ramakrishnan in a mutual friend's house in Dallas, Texas. I had already read all his articles extensively and was almsot star struck while talking to him.
The list of articles and their links are
1)Ilayaraja - Chakravagham, Malaiyamaarutham & Kaapi:: In this articles Dr.Lakshminarayanan talks about Ilayarajas music in the movie Chembaruthi and his use of Chakravagham, Malaiyamaarutham & Kaapi
2) Gowrimanohari, Hemavathi, Karaharapriya, Sriranjani:
This articles talks about music from M.K, Thiagaya Bhavathar, K.V.Mahadevan's Thiruvilayadal to Ilarayarajas use of the above mentioned ragas in movies like Guna.
3) Ilayaraja & Subhapanthuvarali, Panthuvarali, Mayamalava Gowlai, Lalitha:
This article talks exclusively about Ilayaraja and his handling of these raagams in some of the popular Kamal and Rajini movies.
4) Ilayaraja (and Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan)- 4 ( Thodi, Kalyani, Amir Kalyani, Saranga): Here he talks about violin and Ilayaraja's favorite raagam, the Kalyani.
5) Ilayaraja Vairamuthu, Rahman (Kedaram, Sankarabharanam, Nalinakanthi): Here apart from analysing songs that have the above ragams he describes the function of lyrics in songs.
6) Ilayaraja 6 ( Rishabam/Madhyamam - Hamsanadham ) : Here he analyzes music from Manirathnam's to ramarajan movies.
7) Ilayaraja -7 ( kanakangi, Sudha Saveri, Rasikapriya ): Here he analyzes music from Sindhu Bhairavi to AVM's Pudhumai Penn.
8) Ilayaraja 8 ( Names & groups of Ragas, Rajanis, Bhairavis, Vivadhis): Here he details the Kalyani ragam and talks about Ilayarajas music to AR.Rahman's music in detail.
9) Ilayaraja 9 ( Thiyagaraya Krithis, Hindolam, Chandrakauns, Saramathi ) : Here ha talks about Sain Thyagaraja, patenting and Ilayaraja's "how to name it". did you know "muqquabula" and "chandralekha" are raagam based songs?
10) Ilayaraja - 10 ( Western Classical, vasantha, Poorvi kalyani, Hamsanandhi) :Ilayaraja's use of eastern and western classical music. Review of the famous "andhi mazhai" song. He also talks about sex. AR Rahman's music and Jingles are also mentioned.
11) Ilayaraja-11 ( Humor, Brindhavana Saranga, Sudha Dhanyasi, Arabhi, Kaanada ) :Here he talks about humorous situations and songs surrounding such situations.
12) Ilayaraja - 12 ( Birth of Ragas, Thodi, Suddha Dhanyasi) : Here he talks about the birth of ragas, birth in general. He also talks extensively about Ilayaraja's usage of the rare Thodi raagam.
13) Ilayaraja-13 (Copying, Shruthi, Suddha Saveri, Hindolam, Aandholika, Madhyamaavathi, Bowli, Sriraagam) : Here he talks about copying of songs, common misconceptions about copying. Here he explains the technical detail of what really "shruthi" means and also talks about a bevy of raagams.
14)Ilayaraja 14 ( Sex, Reethigowlai, Chaalanattai, Nattai, Gambheerai Nattai, Vakram) : Here he talks extensively about sex and the "vakram" factor. He also writes extensively about the various strains of nattai and their uses in film songs.
15) Ilayaraja 15 ( Dharmavati, Genesis, Shanmugapriya, Lathaangi, Vijayanagari, Sivaranjini & Conceit) : Is Ilayaraja conceited. Do brainy/successful people have conceit? Lakshminarayanan has his views on it. He also talks about movies like "Azhagan" and some old classic tamil songs.
Disclaimer: I know nothing about carnautic music or western classical. I am just a good listener. So all views music or otherwise expressed in those articles are Lakshminarayan's and his own. Since I am not gaining any money out of this blog one canno say I have violated patent rules by exposing these articles. In the Linux Global Public Licence world, everything in the internet domain is for public knowledge ( ofcourse Harvard Business School disagrees with such a view). Ofcourse you have to credit the source. Which I have done. Moreover I have published these aricles with a goodwill of making the public more aware that such articles and people like Lakshminarayanan exist.