Thursday, December 25, 2008

Singing: Across The Border

Sometimes an oft-repeated age-old Ke.Pe. 1430 discussion provokes heated debate. Yesterday a debate broke out in my family on singing. I casually mentioned that it was more pleasurable to listen to a really good female singer as opposed to a really good male singer. Obviously such views are perception based and not measurable objectively. This did not mean that a female singer by default was better than any male singer. Just that if you compared the "really good" among them - the woman, to me, seemed slightly better. The small extra dimension that a woman provides while singing is the difference. when it comes to film music -> I argued that the historical lack of good female singers in Thamizh movie industry is what made people assume that "nobody can beat SPB, Jesudas etc". I never say anything complimentary about women so people arguing in favor of "male singers were better" thought I was putting "same side goal". My dad surprisingly also put "same side goal" by stating that D.K Pattamal and M.L.Vasanthakumari were much better in their peak compared to MBK or Maharajapuram. Such debates never gets solved. They needn't be. But it is fun to have them.

Moving on, here are two videos - one from the Kerala version of super singer and one from the Thamizh Nadu version. Both these videos feature the best singer of this year in the competition trying to sing a very difficult song. Both singers sing the same song. I have to say that the Kerala version of this competition, in general, is much better organized. It seems to have better sound infrastructure and quality. Some of the feedback given is also very nuanced and interesting. When you think of Kerala and music there is a perception that the culture of music has permeated well into that state. In Thamizh Nadu carnatic music is restricted to few sections of the society. Not that folk songs are more prevalent. It is as limited in its spread if not more than its carnatic sister.

Roopa Singing Udhaya Udhaya (Note: she cannot speak/Understand Thamizh)

The comments from Judges are also interesting.

Ravi Singing udhaya Udhaya

As an interesting "extra" here is Roopa singing my favorite song "Gangai Karai" from Varusham 16. This is a very difficult song to sing. "Mottai" in a rare interview (Source: Random IR forums) said that this was probably the only song he ever composed in "Thodi" raagam. That it was a hard raagam to compose for film music and if he made a slight error here and there it would "degenerate" into another raagam (Sankarabharanam ?). Jesudas sang that excellent song.

Here is Roopa trying Gangai Karai Mannan.

Here are the originals

Udhaya Udhaya

Gangai Karai Mannan


Gradwolf said...

For some strange reason, I prefer the female voice too. Especially if it's carnatic or carnatic based songs. Like I love the nila kaigirathu female version much more than the Hariharan version.

Pradeep Kumar said...

I liked the male voice more. Her's is too smooth a voice. The gruffy feel his voice has is really good. Maybe her voice is almost indistinguishable but his voice has the 'guy next door' personal touch which I like!

lux said...

wow.. her voice is heavenly..
thanks for posting tht link bharath.

i finished litening to all the songs she sang thru out the contest ... oh .. man.. what a performance...

our airtel folks ( the best ones - ravi and renu) are nothing when compared to roopa


Karthik said...

i think one reason why the female voice sounds better is because of the echo in the audio system. that seems to be absent when ravi was singing.

Anupadmaja said...

I still think Ravi's Udhaya Udhaya was better. It had "deiveegam" that Roopa lacked.

Poongodi said...

First of all thanks for the beautiful compilation -- very nice. While it is wonderful to listen to both renditions of the song, my vote is definitely for Ravi's performance for it was very soulful -- thanks again.

Anonymous said...


You're music related posts and links to videos are truly amazing !! You're my ultimate go-to man for any music related links.

Way to go... Keep up the good work !!

- Jupe

Anonymous said...

My take on this is that humans prefer a higher pitched voice : try cooing to a baby in low and high pitches and see the response. I also like listening to singing by children well trained in classical voice.