Super Talent – Kanye West

Kanye West oozes talent and I hope he makes it this time around.



Yogi B & Natchathira’s Ticket to Fame

I’m sure all you Tamil music followers know about Yogi B and Natchathira and their musical experiments. They first shot to fame with this remix and remake work on Ilaiyaraaja’s classic “Madai Thiranthu” song from the movie Nizhalgal.

We were all instantly hooked with their captivating and creative effort. They totally revamped an already fantastic song making it reach today’s music fans adopting the recent trend of hip hop and mad beats.

They have a new song out for the movie “Polladhavan”. NOT a remake of the Rajinikanth movie from the 80’s, thank god !

The song is yet another remix of a classic ” Engeyum Epodhum Sangeetham Sandosham” from the 70’s movie Ninaithaale Innikum, done their way ofcourse. Like it? What do you think?

I really like the song. I’ve been listening to it over and over again. It’s has a great original tune, very peppy, enthusiastic and captivating beats and SPB’s voice has to been given special mention. For me, his voice is the key factor. He could song the telephone directory and I’ll love it, but that’s just me!

The song achieves its purpose of revitalizing a 30 year old song adapted perfectly to today’s trend.

I only hope there were some copyright laws that existed and the musical geniuses who came up with this song originally are attributed something! It seems like we have forgotten them all together and yet seem to need their songs all the time. On that note, ARR has done a remix of “ponmagal vandhaal” in his latest movie. The original by MSV from the movie Sorgam.

Yogi B & Natchathira have found their ticket to fame. If they keep remixing yesteryear’s great hits and some wonderful songs, which seems to be their success formula, they have a few thousand hits in their future!

GV.Prakash – The new composer in town

GV. Prakash is now the most talked about, upcoming music director in Tamil Cinema. His first movie composition was ‘Veyyil’ that released last year . His next venture is the just released movie ‘Kreedam’.

This 18 year old is A.R.Rahman(aka Dlip Kumar)’s nephew. He is the child voice in most of ARR’s songs like “Kuchikuchi” (Bombay),”Azhakaana” (Mudhalvan) , “Chikkibukku Rayile”(Gentleman) , ” Kaathu Kaathu” (Uzhavan) and many more. He has also worked as the keyboardist in A.R.Rahman’s troupe.

It’s interesting to listen to his compositions from Veyyil and Kireedam. You cannot help but notice how similar sounding to AR Rahman’s style it is and it reminds you of AR Rahman’s ‘Roja’ days. Its kind of a similar effect. But, that apart, it’s a good thing to have a refreshing change in the current trend and it’s about time we got someone new ! I’m so sick of the nonsense Harris Jeyraj, Imman, Srikanth Deva, Jassie Gift, Bharathwaj, Vijay Anthony, Joshua Sridhar and many more such “composers” (irony!) call music.

GVP’s first movie was Veyyil. Songs from the movie that are worth a mention :

-‘Kadhal Nerupin’ sung by Karthik and Chinmayee (Harmony : Nitesh). Its an enthusiastic yet melodious and beautiful song!

-‘Urugudhe Marugudhe’ sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Shreya Goshal : The ‘melody’ number in the movie, bares some resemblance to ‘Kaadhal Rojaave’ from Roja.

-‘Veyillodu Vilayadi’ sung by Kaiilash Kher, Jassie Gift, Tippu and Prasanna. A peppy folk song. A good song.

His second movie is Kireedom. Songs in the movie :

– ‘Kaneer thuliye’ – The token pathos song of the movie sounds “very” similar to “Poongatrile” song from Uyire (“Eh Ajnabee”from Dilse) composed by ARR ofcourse. Sung by Vijay Yesudas.

– ‘Vizhiyil Un Vizhiyil’ – A lively melodious song sung brilliantly by Sonu Nigam. The female voice is Swetha. A great song, very well done.

-‘Akkam Pakkam’ – Listen to it once and it wouldn’t take you more than a few seconds to realize that the pallavi sounds ‘exactly’ like “Snegithane” from Alaipayuthey. Sadhana sargam’s voice in both these songs adds to this similarity. She ofcourse has kept exactly the same way of singing and of course still the same absolute massacre of the language.
This song I wouldn’t classify as a replica because it has been tweaked quite a bit in comparison to Snegithane, but overall, it all falls under the same skeleton!

– ‘Kanavellam’- An enthusiastic situation based song which makes sense more if you watch the movie. Sung well by Jayachandran and Karthik. A good song just because it doesn’t sound like any of the currently existing ARR songs.

GV Prakash’s music is 99.99% similar to Rahman’s style. While Rahman’s first movie Roja was a major departure from the ‘then prevailant and popular’ Illaiyaraja’s style (which is why ARR’s became big and has lasted this long), I wonder how big of a change/difference GV prakash’s music is from current day composers including his own uncle.

Despite these two big musical hits, G.V.Prakash would be better off differentiating himself from his peers.

Every single song in Veyyil and Kireedom can very easily be confused for an ARR composition. The background score in both these movies are exact recreation of ARR’s style. Right from the instrument choice, to the beats, the arrangement of the instruments and most importantly the sound engineering. Do you classify this as “similar style” or just a replica?

Can’t say much from two movies, lets wait and see how consistent and good he is. I really do wish he is the next break out composer because Tamil cinema is in desperate need of a refreshing new outlook on music and severely in need of good music. At least I am!

The Unique ‘Srothaswini’

Srothaswini (S G2 M1 P N3 S  : S N3 P M1 G2 S) is a unique, disctinctive and beautiful raagam. It is just half note away from Suddha Dhanyasi(S G2 M1 P N2 S  : S N2 P M1 G2 S) but renders a completely different feeling, emotion and melody.

‘Tfm page’ a popular website has a forum where people claim that Illaiyaraja “invented” this new raga through his song. Since I don’t have any facts, I cannot comment. Kudos to him if he did, but even if he did not, doesn’t reduce his genius in anyway! He is one of the very few composers to even dare attempt a compostion in this ragam and bring it to our attention! There are very tamil film songs in this raagam. Not an easy job composing songs in pure melodic ragam based fashion.

Illaiyaraja has created some phenomenal music in this raagam, my favorites are

1) ‘Sindhiya Venmani’ from the movie Poonthotta Kavalkaaran
2) ‘Poojaiketha Poovidhu’ from Needhana Andha kuyil
3) ‘Oh Vasantha Raja’ from Neengal Ketavai

‘Super Singer’

I guess the name is pretty self explanatory! Think American Idol contestants are talented? Watch this show on Vijay TV. If you are out of India, its well worth you-tubing! It is mind-boggling and almost impossible to wrap my brain around the sheer number of phenomenal singers in Tamilnadu. They are not just moderately good, they are simply the best of the best.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand Tamil, I would still recommend you read further. Music has no language boundaries. I assure you, you will love it.

In this day and age where movie playback singers who are very bad live stage performers, these ‘super singer’ contestants are a delight and wonder to watch. These days with the boon (curse?) of technology everyone sounds good in the final version in the movie, but not all of them really can sing as great as they sound on tape.

How about picking a few of these great talents instead of bringing in people from elsewhere and making us music fans struggle and flinch at their bad pronunciation and simply unacceptable singing!

Here’s a little sample from this season’s ‘super singer junior’ contest that just ended. In this video this kid Krishnamurthy is singing one of my all time favorite Illaiyaraja compositions “Sangeetha Jaadhi mullai ” from the movie Kadhal Oviyam. Such a phenomenal song brilliantly composed as usual. This is one of those songs that bring me down to tears everytime I listen to it. It’s the magic of pure music and melody. SPB’s voice adds a whole new layer of emotion that seals it all together. It is such a tough song even for a professional singer to recereate, forget singing live on stage ! Watch the judges SP Shailaja (SPB’s sister), Usha Uthoop and Kavitha Subramaniam (Krishnamurthy) in awe. A flawless song, sung perfectly by this kid. He won the competition and here’s why :

The current winner of ‘Super Singer’ is Nikhil Mathew. Here is his duet with Harini that brought him to the finals and clinched him the win. He sang the beautiful “Sudum Nilavu” from the movie Thambi composed by Vidyasagar in one my favorite raagams Reetigowla. Nikhil is another mallu singing wonder in the making joining the group of the greats like Yesudas, Sreekumar, Chitra, Unnikirshnan, Unnimenon, Sujatha, Madhu Balakrishnan and Rahul Nambiar. The judges are Unnikrishnan, Anuradha Sriram and Sreenivas.

Here’s another favorite contestant of mine, Priyadharshini , singing with Tippu yet another fantastic playback singer. Tippu along with Madhu balakrishnan and Karthik are among the few young singers I enjoy. Here is the wonderful “Raa Raa” from the movie Chandramukhi :

‘Super Singer’ airs 8PM friday and saturday on VijayTV. It’s sad I can’t watch this as regularly as I would like to, but thanks to Youtube I will be up-to-date anyway!

Go youtube ‘Super Singer’ and enjoy.

‘Sivaji’ and more….

I am a big fan of Rajinikanth and Kamalhassan and never miss(or have missed) any movie of theirs. A lot of people don’t get how I can say that, How I can love them both! It usually is one or the other for most of them but not for me.

I love Kamal’s progressionist thinking, novel ideas and simply, his passion for cinema, not just indian but world cinema. This passion clearly reflects in his work. His comic timing and unlimited multi faceted talent is simply mind boggling. Truly a genius considering how a despite being a 7th grade drop-out he has a natural flair for all languages all art and literature.

Rajini on the other hand is talent with atmost humility. His screen presence, style and charm is simply unmatchable by ANY actor yet. All he has to do is appear on screen and it creates a vibe and connection with the audience. That is no simple task. Not everyone has that kind of presence. Despite his so called ‘average’ looks, scrubby hair, dark skin and lanky body he has the ability to create a fan base in the millions and captive audience to see him in the billions all over the world. That is not any simple task either.

The movie Sivaji totally proves this. The movie has nothing else worthwhile noting but Rajini and Rajini all through. Thottatharani the Art director proves yet again he is the master in his class with his flawless work. Shankar brought a bit of stereotype in his story telling. But it can also be argued as ‘his style’.

Music was totally lackluster with the worst kind of movie background score I have ever heard. I was more disappointed because it was AR Rahman and he ususally gives much better stuff that this. This movie is far below his quality and genius. I wouldn’t even dare comapre this to his usually high class quality like Roja and even his recent Jilliunu Oru Kaadhal. Usually it takes around 15 to 20 listens to start getting/feeling ARR’s music but 50 listens did nothing for me but irritate me more. With the bad immitation of rap and hip hop in ‘Oru koodai sunlight’ and absolutely logicless choice of Udit Narayn for a melody ‘Sahana’ , added to the irritation. The first song of the any Rajini movie, his introduction song usually packs a powerful punch and gives you goose bumps with SPB’s voice and inspiring lyrics perfectly adding to the song. This is the first movie where this song did NOTHING for me. Totally non descript and uninspiring’Balleilakka’. Even SPB’s voice couldn’t come to the rescue. Usually even a bad song sung by SPB can sound better solely attributed by his absolute emotion and purity in his voice. But this one was too far beyond help. ‘Vaaji Vaaji’ is another circus on its own, with madhushree killing and butchering words as usual and a barely memorable interlude music.  The few other songs are not really worth reviewing.

The other actors worth noting are Vivek the comedian/Hero’s side at all times and Suman the Villain. Both are fantastic. Shreya the heroine simply serves as the token, ‘for the sake of balance’ female in the movie. She is totally dispensable from the whole movie. Ofcourse if that happened, there would be zero drooling and oggling, which totally doesn’t work with Indian cinema.

Overall rating for the movie:

Logic – 0
Story idea – 6
Shankar/direction – 6
Thottatharani/Art- 10
Sujatha/Dialog – 8
KV Anand /Cinematography – 9
AR Rahman/music – 2

Rajini – 10
Vivek -10
Suman -10
Shreya – 4 ( a token rating for the token woman who has danced her ass/hips/belly button off for the sake of drool factor)

If this movie has created such records and hit the roof in popularity despite the bad music (usually very essential for a successful movie) and stereotypical logicless story, yes, Shankar’s , AR Rahman’s , AVM’s brand name definitely  had something to do with it, But its mostly all because of and only because of the master of style and charm – Rajini. That’s how much power he has and thats the screen presence I was talking about.

Madhu Balakrishnan

This name doesn’t sound too familiar does it ? That’s because little is talked about him. Hence, I decided to ! He is slowly becoming one of my favorite male playback singers of this generation. I very strongly hold the opinion that after singers like SPB, Yesudas and Mano there is no one to really take over and hold the same place they once did and still do. Madhu Balakrishnan(MB) along with other young singers like Karthik, Balram and Tippu from this generation are now proving themselves with their phenomenal voice and singing talent.

Although some feel Madhu Balakrishnan(MB) falls under the stereotype of another malayalee singer sounding somewhat like Yesudas, Jayachandran or Sreekumar, I definitely feel he breaks that mould with his *very* distinct voice. Master of melody is what he is. His voice has a natural, flawless melodious tone to it that absolutely works for composers with great flair for melody like Illaiyaraja and Vidyasagar.

He has done wonders in songs composed by my favorite, the king of rhythm& melody, Illaiyaraja and other good composers like Vidyasagar, Karthik Raja and sometimes even Ramesh Vinayagam! He has also sung for others like Harris Jeyraj, D.Iman, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Praveen Mani, SA Rajkumar,Sabesh Murali etc

Here are some of my absolute favorites(in this order) sung by MB. If you love a good melody, please do take some time to listen to these songs. I assure you, its worth it.

(Song: Movie: Composer: Singer)

Piraiye Piraiye: Pithamagan : Illaiyaraja : MB solo
Pillai Thaamarai : Album : Karthik Raja : MB solo
Kanaa Kanden : Parthiban Kanavu : Vidyasagar: MB solo
Yen Swasathil : Jerry : Ramesh Vinayagam : MB and Kalyani
Ding Dong : Ji : Vidyasagar : MB and Madhushree
Konja neram : Chandramukhi : Vidyasagar : MB and Asha Bhosle
Vizhiyum Vizhiyum : Sadhurangam : Vidyasagar : MB and Harini
Atrai Thingal : Sivappathigaaram : Vidyasagar : MB and Sujatha
Maatram Ondre (Manmeedhudhaan) : Em Magan : Vidyasagar : MB solo
Oru Kili : Paramasivan : Vidyasagar : MB and Sujatha
Pesa Madandhaiye : Mozhi : Vidyasagar : MB solo

Some of his Malayalam masterpieces, My favorites in this order,

Ponnavanippaadam : Rasathanthram : Illaiyaraja : MB and Manjari
Ariyathe : Kanmashi : M.Jayachandran : MB solo
Pottu Thottu : Nammal Thammil : Vidyasagar : MB solo
Chembakame : Kakkakurumban : M. Jayachandran : MB solo
Chentharmizhi : Perumazhakaalam : M.Jayachandran : MB and Chitra
Kanakassabathalam : Udayapuram Sulthan : Kaithaparam Viswanathan
Guruvayoor : Aanachandam : Jaison J Nair : MB solo

All the above listed songs are my personal favorites, straight out of my Ipod ! If you know of any other good ones please do share them. I am always waiting to expand my music database.