It's December and Music Season time. Ofcourse anyone who knows a bit about Carnatic music knows that season refers to the unorganized music festival held all over Chennai during this month. Once Music Academy starts its programs around the 15th of Dec, the season will be in full swing. It is a different experience being in Chennai during this time but that is not going to be the purpose of this post.
I am going to give you a couple of delightful Telugu songs based on Carnatic ragas. While the last couple of posts extolled the virtues of Dakshnimaurthy Swami's tuning of carnatic based ragas, this post will showcase the brilliance of two Telugu composers. Composers those days had a good grounding in classical music and were able to come out with some nice songs which had the classical touch, strong enough for you to feel the raga and light enough for you to enjoy it as a film song.
This year the Music Academy gives its 'Sangeetha Kalanidhi' to Sudha Raghunathan. She is a disciple of the legendary M.L.Vasanthakumari. So let me start with a song sung for a Telugu film by MLV. I still remember a brief debate long back in RMIC where one person had commenting on a Hindustani singer singing in movies stated that classical musicians did not know how to lighten a tune and sing in films. Rajan Parikkar was quick on the draw. "What about MLV?" The reply was equally quick, "You have a point there. I concede" MLV knew how to sing in movies and her voice suited the movie songs very well. She has sung many song and the song 'Ellam Inbamayam' set to Simendramadhyamam was a very popular song and is still well known.
The song I have chosen is from the film, 'Bhookailas'. If someone says he has not heard of this movie or the songs from this movie, you can be sure he is not a Telugu. Such is the popularity of this film and the songs. The Ghantasala sung songs are the most famous and this song is not as famous as the other songs of the film.
R.Sudarsanam, who has given some great songs, tunes this in Sankarabaranam and lets MLV voice execute the magic. You can hear Sankarabaranam but at the same time it is not a kutcheri type Sankarabaranam. MLV gives it a breezy feel, a feather touch to enhance its appeal to all segments of the audience. The tune covers quite a lot of Sankarabaranam ground and as the charanam starts meandering into the upper reaches you realize why someone like MLV is needed to deliver it. In the film the song is addressed to Lord Siva and is sung by Ravana's mother. Enjoy the song.
The next song I want to take up is based on the raga Malayamarutham. While it is a fairly well known raga, its appearance on the concert platform is limited nowadays. Maybe because of lack of lot of krithis in the raga or maybe because it evokes the morning hour and singers want to sing it only in the morning !! In case you don't get to hear the song in the concerts hear this song and you will satisfied.
This Pendyala tuned Malayamarutham number is an extremely famous one from the film 'Uyyala Jampala'. Pendyala has given some very nice classical based tunes in many movies (I had spoken about his famous 'rasika raja' earlier in this series). The raga so casually evokes the early morning mood. Pendyala orchestrates the song to gives us the feeling being in a boat. Infact the tune too oscillates the same way as a boat would oscillate. As usual Gantasala invokes the raga with minimal fuss. There are very few who can get to the soul of a raga in cine music like Gantasala. This song is proof enough for that statement. Susheela's singing, especially the humming, adds so much more melody to this song. Lyrics by Arudra are superb as well.