I know there are thousands of musicians out there who have composed musical pieces that anyone would love to hear over and over again. Coming from Chennai, India I have grown up listening to mostly cinema music, especially Tamil songs!!! I have to talk about two the most famous music directors of all time in the Tamil Industry (Kollywood). They have created some of the best music one can ever listen. No matter how many times you keep listening to it over and over again, you are not going to get bored. They just take me on an amazing journey every time I listen to them.
It’s just amazing how music can totally take you to a different world!!! I listen to all kinds of music and off late have also started listening to heavy metal. But may be because I have always been listening to Tamil songs, I feel that its one of the best music one should listen to. I will say that there are many Hindi songs too that are brilliantly composed. In Hindi one can find more variety as there are many upcoming artists and album songs that are equally good like the movie songs. To say, in Hindi I see more and more new talents coming up and doing their album which is great. I wish that could happen in Tamil as well where more individual artists or bands come up with good, quality music and show their talent and music to the whole world. Another kind music that I have started listening off late is Sinhalese. I have not heard so much but I am really enjoying the way they portray music. Its really nice that there are many young music directors that are coming up too like G.V.Prakash.
Hence the two biggest Music Directors in Tamil Industry are non other than the great Maestro Ilayaraja and the unbeatable A.R.Rahman. These two have not just contributed to Tamil industry. Their music has no bounds. They have touched thousands and thousands of people with their music and the fans just keep getting bigger. They have not only composed music for films but have also composed for various other purposes. A.R.Rahman has composed tunes for raising charity, for Taj Mahal and the like. the following two posts will talk about each of them, little bit in detail about their background and how they started off to reach where they are now!!! Few other good music composers are Harris Jayaraj, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Preetam, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Deva, Vidya Sagar, Vishal-Sekhar, Ismail Darbar etc.
Born and brought up in an obscure village near Kambam in Southern Tamil Nadu, Ilayaraja became the first Asian to score a symphony for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, besides scoring over 500 feature films in a period of 20 years. Raja, as he is popularly known and affectionately called, comes from a family of musicians. His mother, a huge repository of Tamil folk songs, seems to be a very strong influence in his music. He learned to play the harmonium, the typical musical instrument used in street performances. The team of the brothers, the eldest being Pavalar Varadharajan, a poet, worked as a group of musicians traveling across the state, accompanying theater artists. Raja picked up most of his acumen for audience tastes during this period.
In 1969, Raja migrated to the city of Madras, the Southern Movie capital, when he was 29 years old, looking for a break into music making for the public. He studied under Dhanraj Master, playing the guitar and piano in the Western style. He later earned a diploma in music from Trinity College in London. Ilayaraja’s break into music for films came with Annakili (1976). The film dealt with a village story, to which Ilayaraja composed great melodies. The songs offered simplicity and musicality typical of Tamil folk in an authentic way, and they offered new sounds–rich orchestration typical of Western music. The songs became an instant hit, the most popular being “Machchana Partheengala” sung by a female voice, S. Janaki. This was followed by a series of films that portrayed contemporary Tamil villages in an authentic way, against stylistic shallow portrayals before. For all of these films Raja created memorable songs. Most popular were the songs “Senthoorappove” and “Aatukkutti Mutaiyittu” from Pathinaru Vayathinile (1977), and “Samakkozhi” and “Oram Po” from Ponnu Oorukku Pudhusu (1979).
Raja soon proved his abilities in other styles as well. Classical Karnatic melodies were used in Kannan Oru Kai Kuzhandhai (1978) (Rag Mohanam), Mayile Mayile (Ragam Hamsadhwani), and Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran (Reethi Gowlai). Raja’s grasp of Western classical structure became evident with his masterful use of the piano, guitar, and string ensembles. Some of the numbers that show his orchestral genius are “Pon malai Pozhudu” and “Poongadhave” from Nizhalgal (1980), Kanmaniye Kadhal from Aarilirindhu Aruvathu Varai (1979), “Ramanin Mohanam” from Netri Kann (1981), “En Iniya Pon nilave from Moodupani (1980), “Paruvame Pudhiya” from Nenjathai Killathe (1981), and “Edho Moham” from Kozhi Koovuthu (1982). These songs could literally be heard coming from every doorstep in Tamil Nadu state every day for at least a year after being released. Raja composed film music prolifically for the next fifteen years, at a rate of as many as three new songs a day. After a few years as a film composer, he could write all the parts to a score as they came to him, and his assistants would make fair copies, which would be recorded immediately.
Raja went for a trip abroad to Europe, partly to visit places where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Ludwig van Beethoven lived. They were his Gurus or non-physical teachers, he wrote once. He also met contemporary composers and arrangers including Paul Mauriat. His listeners were awestruck by the quality and quantity of his musical output. He also scored a few films abroad. Ilayaraja’s image grew to be a unique one in the history of Tamil cinema: stories, themes, and castes would be changed to fit his music, which swept away the minds of millions of Indians in hundreds of films.
Ilayaraja also recorded non-film albums, such as “How to Name It” and “Nothing But Wind,” which were well-received in India and abroad. In 1993, he wrote a symphony for the London Philharmonic Orchestra in an amazing one-month span. To many people who know him, Raja represents more than his music. He is a mark of great achievement that is possible by hard work, yet he is seen in most of his interviews as talking very philosophically. He is very much attracted by the philosophy of Ramana Maharishi of Thiruvanna Malai, who lived in the early 20th Century. Raja once referred to Ramana as “our Zen master.”
He has composed music for close to 900 movies and has sung more than 200 songs. Illayaraja introduced many new talents to the music field like Chitra, Mano, Malayasia Vasudevan, Dipan Chakravarthy, Jency, SP Sailaja, Sujatha etc. Illayaraja brought the best out of S Janaki and showcased her talent in a multi-dimentional way. Same holds good with Sadhana Sargam. She won National award last year for the song ‘Pattu cholli’ in Azagi. He has won many awards like the Best Background Music for the film Hey Ram, Best Music Director awards for films like Rudra Veenai, Sindhu Bhairavi etc.
His music is so soothing to the ears. Every composition of his is unique. He has composed many catchy melodies and there is a way in which this song flows like with preludes and interludes. He uses instruments such as Veena, Nadaswaram, Mridangam and tabla along with electric guitars, keyboards, rhythm boxes etc. The fusions are sooo good that one can repeat it so many times and it still fells new. He has a very distinct voice too. It sounds kind of nasal and especially the song Thendral Vandhu from the film Aavatahram, I just fly away into a different world. You can listen to Ilayaraja’s music through Youtube and if you know his songs, Raaga.com should be the best choice.
His official website: http://www.raaja.com/
This is actually a previously wriiten article and it exactly speaks whats on my mind about A.R.Rahman.
The name A.R.Rahman needs no introduction. The man who redefined contemporary Indian music and is the pride of the entire nation and an idol for millions all over the world needs no preamble. But if you happen to be one who is a stranger to him and his music, then read on.
A. R. Rahman or Allah Rakha Rahman was born actually A. S. Dileep Kumar on the 6th of January in the year 1967, in Madras (now Chennai), to a musically affluent Tamil Mudaliar family. Dileep’s earliest memories of the studio are with his father. On one of those visits, a music director Sudarshanam Master found the four year old playing a tune on the harmonium. He covered the keys with a cloth. It made no difference. Dileep replayed the tune effortlessly. This impressed the music director who suggested that he be trained in music. Dileep started learning the piano at the tender age of four. He recieved his early training in music from Dhanraj Master. He also played on the orchestra of M.S.Vishwanathan, Raj-Koti and Ramesh Naidu and accompanied Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan on world tours. He also appeared playing the keyboard on a few popular music shows on televison like ‘Wonder Balloon’ on the Madras Doordarshan channel. He also supposedly composed a few short pieces of music in Ilaiyaraja’s films, a notable one being the theme music in K.Balachander’s ‘Punnagai Mannan’.
All this experience enabled him to earn a scholarship to the famed Trinity College of Music at Oxford University from where he obtained a degree in Western Classical Music. He came back with a dream to bring an international and contemporary world perspective to Indian music. After he returned, he continued to be a part of various local music troupes. He was also a part of local rock bands like Roots, Magic and Nemesis Avenue where he performed with his future colleagues like Suresh Peters, Ranjit Barot and Sivamani Anandan. This, he says, was a very valuable learning experience. Thus Dileep came to be totally immersed in music. The only source of joy to him was music.
The year was 1991. Ace Tamil movie director Mani Ratnam was on the lookout for a new composer to give music for his films. His long standing fruitful association with the doyen of Tamil film music Illaiyaraja, which had spanned over 10 films and as many years had come to an end when the two had had a fallout after the latter reportedly made some sarcastic comments during the making of Mani Ratnam’s then latest film ‘Dalapati’. One day, at an awards function for excellence in the field of advertising, Mani Ratnam chanced upon a young man who received the award for the best ad jingle which he had composed for the popular Leo Coffee ad. At the celebrations party that followed the awards presentation ceremony, Mani Ratnam was introduced to the young composer by his cousin Sharada Trilok of Trish Productions for whose company the young man had produced some outstanding work. Sharada had words of high praise for the young composer. Mani was curious and requested him for a sample of his wares. The composer readily complied and invited the director over to his studio. Mani Ratnam turned up at the studio only after six months, where the 24 year old lad played out a tune that he had been pushed into composing by his school friend G.Bharat alias Bala when they both had been greatly disturbed by the socio-political tensions in South India over the Cauvery river waters issue. Listening to the tune that was played, Mani was hooked instantly. Without a second thought he signed on the composer to score the music for his next film. That film did not work out but Mani signed him on for a new film which was to be produced by the veteran Tamil director K.Balachander for his respected ‘Kavithalayaa’ banner. That film was ‘Roja’. That tune would become the song “Tamizha Tamizha” in ‘Roja’. The music of the film would be a phenomenal success that would revolutionise modern day Indian film music. The name of the 25-year old composer was A. R. Rahman. And the rest, as they say, is history.Cut to the year 1998. Mani Ratnam’s then latest film, his first in Hindi and his fifth with Rahman, ‘Dil Se..’ hit the screens. The movie all but bombed in India. But the music, yet again was a resounding success. The music sold like hot cakes even six months after it was released in the market.
Going back in History, the following question arises. Six years ago, who listened to Tamil music? Only Tamilians. Five years ago, what did teenagers dance to at discotheques? What else but Michael Jackson, Dr.Alban or the latest Western dance hit of the day. But one man singlehandedly changed all that. With his universally appealing tunes, A.R.Rahman has demolished all conventional rules in Indian film music. He amazes with the manner in which he seamlessly integrates traditionally incompatible harmonies. If anyone can make a perfect potpourri of the latest dancehall rhythms, electro-pop, Latin melodies, Western and Indian classical and pepper it all with a local folk touch or even something as otherworldly as Reggae and serve it all in a contemporary Indian manner that mesmerises listeners, it is A.R.Rahman. His music transcends all barriers – geographic, age or linguistic. Everyone from 6 to 60, Kashmir to Kanyakumari, as the cliché goes, are fans of his music. He was the first to successfully and solidly bridge the gap across the Vindhyas with Hindi speaking denizens who did not understand one word of Tamil enthusiastically lapping up his music. He gave film music a trendy legitimacy, a legitimacy that made Indian youth who were till then ashamed of admitting in public that they enjoyed Indian film music, dance to Humma Humma, Muqabla Muqabla, Musthafa Musthafa and Chaiyya Chaiyya at every pub, club and disco. Overnight, Indian film music considered ‘infra-dig’ by the youth became ‘cool’ and ‘hep’. All in all, quite arguably, no one has influenced Indian music as much as Rahman has in recent times.
For more information check out this site: http://members.tripod.com/gopalhome/arrbio.html
His official website: http://www.arrahman.com/