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Discernment. Online























    This is Yuvan Shankar Raja growing up to recognise his roots. He composes unafraid of the "international" sounds to which composers are expected to conform these days




Sounds echoing this land

Yuvan Shankar Raja digs deep into his Indian soul and comes up with tunes resonating with folk and classical overtones

Five Star
Rs 40

Nanda features six tracks from Yuvan Shankar Raja. A film by Bala whose hit Sethu brought well-deserved acclaim to actor Vikram. Ilaiyaraja scored the music for Sethu, here it is his son.

Surya is the son of actor Shivakumar, who is now enjoying a second run of popularity thanks to the Tamil serial Chitti. Surya is paired with Laila. Rajkiran who acted and directed En Rasavin Manasile plays the older man who sees in Surya his own youthful ways of uncontrolled anger and fury. In the trailers on the music channels, Surya looks very intense though I can't figure out how he came by his blue eyes!

Bala cast Vikram in the role of a madman in Sethu and changed the way the audience reacted to him. Earlier roles were insipid, with Vikram playing the moony lover singing songs. But in Sethu love leads to madness. In Nanda Surya plays a youth simmering with anger.

Yuvan Shankar Raja digs up his Indian roots and for the first time reveals his father's influence. In most of his earlier albums he has vehemently denied both these, and though he has turned out some reasonably intelligent numbers, they lacked heart.

Take the first track Mun paniyaa by SPB and Subha. The wistful flute phrase has a haunting slide to it. The emotional index is high on this contemplative number. The parameters are also very Indian on SPB's inflexions and on Shubha's folksy lines.

The interludes hold together with their mist-like violins and the piercing notes of the flute. The song describes a first mist, the effect of the first rain on the heart. This song is written by Pazhanibharati as also Engengo. Amma endralay is by Vijay and Orayiram is by Muthukumar.

Kalliyadi Kalli is by Thamarai and is sung by Anuradha Sriram. It is the most influenced by folk rhythms. The beat is 7/8.  Engengo is sung by Ilaiyaraja and has some touching sarangi passages (Ustad Sultan Khan). It is reminiscent of Enge sellum from Sethu, also sung by Ilaiyaraja. The interlude is remarkable for its warmth in the sarangi and flute phrases. Living in the hope of dreams makes up the content of the song.

Vazhkai enge pogum
Kaalam seyyum theermanam

Ilaiyaraja also sings Amma enrale, a maudlin number, dwelling too much on the pathos-creating notes of raga Puriya Dhanasri. Maayane, an Andal Tiruppavazh song, is set to raga Sindhubhairavi of the Karnatak scale. Rajalakshmi and chorus sing. It begins with a blow on the conch and a Sanskrit sloka. The pakhawaj lends it a northern ambience while the fluid veena phrases remind you of the South Indian identity of this mystic poet's lyrics. Some loud violin phrases try to give in to modern music pressure.

Oraiyiram brings out some intense singing from Unnikrishnan who has not been used for such songs. The mendicant style drum beats take on a more aggressive role in the interludes.

An album worth listening to.

S Suchitra Lata

Published on 9 November 2001

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