Ilaiyaraja’s ‘Thiruvasagam’!

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I am an ardent fan of Ilaiyaraja. I would say he is a far better music director than A R Rahman. The latter’s music reaches your head, while former’s reaches your heart. Listening to janani janani is more soothing than listening to en mel vizhunde mazhai thuliye any day.

I was glad about Ilaiyaraja’s new work being released – ‘Thiruvasagam’ – where in he clubs Indian classical with Western orchestra. And probably I was the first to run to music store to fetch one of the copies. I was disappointed totally about what was available in the music store. The store keeper proudly said, “for now they have released only the CDs, and based on the initial sales of CDs - cassettes will be released.” A sick marketing move I should say.

I have a CD player of course, and I would have very well bought his CD for Rs 125 if he had kept the option of buying the cassettes open. What does the move mean? Only the elite with CD players hear to the song first? I didn’t buy the CD. And I waited for a fortnight till the cassette was released. Life was smooth even without listening to Thiruvasagam, I should say. I bought one yesterday, and listened to it today morning. People (musicians) – you need to be honest about yourself before you talk about music piracy on the stage. Marketing strategy like this one can only prompt more people to use MP3s!

I am no one to comment on the composition part. I am sure I don’t know anything about the music language. But as a listener I have an opinion.

Music has no language, agreed. But it has the potential of creating a particular mood. In India, most songs were sung in the praise of lord, and it had the aptitude of creating an environment that brings peace & tranquility around us, while Western songs had different purposes. Except for songs that are sung in the Church, not many songs are composed for God in the West. Of course melodies are composed, but not many focus on the divine aspect.

So what’s wrong in Thiruvasagam? The lyrics of Lord Shiva sung by Ilaiyaraja being followed by a chorus voice of Western team doesn’t match at all! The initial Indian lines try to take you to the divine, while the rest of the Western part is a major flop! It takes you nowhere.

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