Tuesday, 1 January 2013

MAESTRO ILAIYARAAJA


 Ilaiyaraaja, a name which doesn’t require any sort of introduction. He is the maestro of Indian music.He has been a prominent composer of film music in South Indian cinema since the late 1970s. His works are mainly in Tamil, but has also scored music for numerous films in Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and one in Marathi. He is the first Asian to compose a full symphony performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London's Walthamstow Town Hall. He was also nominated in the Best Indian album Music Awards category at US based Just Plain Folks Music Organization, which is the largest grassroots music organization in the world, and stood third for his "Music Journey: Live in Italy. In 2003, according to a BBC international poll, people from 155 countries voted his composition "Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu" from the 1991 film Thalapathi fourth in the world's top 10 most popular songs of all time.




Ilaiyaraaja was born as Gnanadesikan in Pannaipuram, Theni district, Tamil Nadu, India, but when he joined the school his father changed his name as "Rajaiya" but his village people used to call him as "Raasayya". Ilaiyaraaja joined Dhanraj Master as a student to learn musical instruments and the master renamed and called him as just "Raaja". In his first movie Annakili, Tamil film producer Panchu Arunachalam added "Ilaiya" (Ilaiya means younger in Tamil language) as prefix in his name Raaja and he named as "Ilaiyaraaja" because in 1970's there was one more music director A. M. Rajah who was a popular one.


A very famous book LIFE OF MUSIC about his life story is written by one of his 2 sisters padmavati. Although Ilaiyaraaja uses a range of complex compositional techniques, he often sketches out the basic melodic ideas for films in a very spontaneous fashion. The Indian filmmaker Mani Ratnam illustrates:
Ilayaraja would look at the scene once, and immediately start giving notes to his assistants, as a bunch of musicians, hovering around him, would collect the notes for their instrument and go to their places. When the orchestra played out the notes, they would be perfect, not just in harmony but also in timing — the background score would commence exactly where it should and end at the exact place required. Ilayaraja is a genius, who could compose music with just one look at the scene.

Ilaiyaraaja's music is characterised by the use of an orchestration technique that is a synthesis of Western and Indian instruments and musical modes. He uses electronic music technology that integrates synthesizers, electric guitars and keyboards, drum machines, rhythm boxes and MIDI with large orchestras that feature traditional instruments such as the veena, venu, nadaswaram, dholak, mridangam and tabla as well as Western lead instruments such as saxophones and flutes.

Ilaiyaraaja's first two non-film albums were explorations in the fusion of Indian and Western classical music. The first, How to Name It? (1986), is dedicated to the Carnatic master Tyāgarāja and to J. S. Bach. It features a fusion of the Carnatic form and ragas with Bach partitas, fugues and Baroque musical textures. The second, Nothing But Wind (1988), was performed by flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia and a 50-piece orchestra and takes the conceptual approach suggested in the title — that music is a natural phenomenon akin to various forms of air currents

He has composed a set of Carnatic kritis that was recorded by electric mandolinist U. Srinivas for the album Ilayaraaja's Classicals on the Mandolin (1994). Ilaiyaraaja has also composed albums of religious/devotional songs. His Guru Ramana Geetam (2004) is a cycle of prayer songs inspired by the Hindu mystic Ramana Maharshi, and his Thiruvasakam: A crossover (2005) is an oratorio of ancient Tamil poems transcribed partially in English by American lyricist Stephen Schwartz and performed by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. Ilaiyaraaja's most recent release is a world music-oriented album called The Music Messiah (2006). Its musical concept is based against a mythological narrative. His recent release in November 2008, is Manikantan Geet Mala released by India Tales with 9 songs praising Lord Ayyappa in almost all south Indian languages.



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