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Singers bring back pride of Tamils

Venkat Raman – 
venkat@indiannewslink.co.nz

Two Tamil singers from Chennai brought back the pride of Tamilians as they participated in the 15th anniversary celebrations of the Auckland based Muthtamil Sangam Inc on Sunday, June 5, 2016.

More than 650 men, women and children attended the five-hour programme at Dorothy Winstone Centre (Auckland Girls Grammar School), almost four of which belonged to M J Shriram and his wife Srilekha Parthasarathy.

It was however Shriram who spent more than three hours on the stage, belting out immortal numbers of S P Balasubrahmanyam to the tunes of Ilayaraja, although a few numbers belonged to the late P B Srinivas who rendered the compositions of Viswanathan Ramamurthy, culled from Tamil films of 1960s.

Shriram performed in the Karaoke style and his immaculate voice, reaching high and low, brought authenticity to the original singer, engaging the audience in foot-tapping and hand-clapping.

Tamilians are not prone to dancing on or off-stage at music concerts and hence the request of Srilekha for ‘let us have some dancing’ was largely ignored.

Inimitable Ilayaraja

A few early tunes of Ilayaraja were prominent for their powerful vocals and lilting music. They included songs from ‘Apporva Sagotharargal,’ ‘Singaravelan,’ ‘Nizhalgal Nijamagirathu,’ Nayagan’ and ‘Rajakumar.’

Ravi Muthumanickam, our own singer, joined Shriram to render a couple of songs, of which ‘Nilave Ennidim’ taken from Tamil film ‘Ramu’ resonated the voice of the late P B Srinivas for Gemini Ganesan on whom the song was picturised.

Ilaiyaraaja was one of the earliest Indian film composers to use Western Classical Music harmonies and string arrangements in Indian film music.

This allowed him to craft a rich tapestry of sounds for films, and his themes and background score gained notice and appreciation among Indian film audiences.

The range of expressive possibilities in Indian film music was broadened by Ilaiyaraaja’s methodical approach to arranging, recording technique, and his drawing of ideas from a diversity of musical styles.

East-West meeting

According to musicologist P Greene, Ilaiyaraaja’s “deep understanding of so many different styles of music allowed him to create syncretic pieces of music combining very different musical idioms in unified, coherent musical statements.”

Ilaiyaraaja has composed Indian film songs that amalgamated elements of genres such as Afro-tribal, bossa nova, dance music (e.g. disco), doo-wop, flamenco, acoustic guitar-propelled Western folk, funk, Indian classical, Indian folk/traditional, jazz, march, pathos, pop, psychedelia and rock and roll.

By virtue of this variety and his interfusion of Western, Indian folk and Carnatic elements, Ilaiyaraaja’s compositions appeal to the Indian rural dweller for its rhythmic folk qualities, the Indian classical music enthusiast for the employment of Carnatic Ragas, and the urbanite for its modern, Western-Music sound.

Ilaiyaraaja’s sense of visualisation for composing music is always to match up with the storyline of the running movie and possibly by doing so, he creates the best experience for the audience to feel the emotions flavored through his musical score.

He mastered this art of blending music to the narration, which very few others managed to adapt themselves over a longer time.

Although Ilaiyaraaja uses a range of complex compositional techniques, he often sketches out the basic melodic ideas for films in a very spontaneous fashion.

Srilekha’s ability to render Hindi and Tamil songs with equal ease brought her wide applause. Her rendition of ‘Dum Maro Dum,’ a captivating number by Asha Bhosle in ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ resounded the auditorium with calls for encore.

“Our visit to New Zealand was made memorable by our people. I hope to return with my husband and our one-year-old son Aarush next year,” she told us after the show.

Srilekha’s first movie song was ‘Yedho Onru,’ (for Tamil film ‘Laysa, Laysa’) and her career reached its height with the blockbuster hit Kalyanam Dhaan Kattikkittu (‘Tirumalai’), which topped all the music charts.

Ratna Venkat

Ratna Venkat was the Master of Ceremonies of the first part of the programme. Greeting the audience in Tamil, she outlined the highlights of the 15th Anniversary celebrations. Following her speech, she presented two dance numbers, including a Bharata Natyam performance on Lord Krishna and a folk dance in Lavani style to a Tamil romantic number.

She explained the content and meaning of each of her dances before presenting them.

She also announced citations and certificates of appreciation to a number of former officials of Muthtamil Sangam Inc. They were as follows.

Presidents: Ilango Krishnamurthy, Nathan Saminathan, Premkumar Kandasamy, Purushotham Madanagopal, Ray Annamalai, Thangamani Periasamy and Vai Ravindran

Vice-Presidents: Balasubramanian Santhanakrishnan, Krishnakumar Thandavarayan, Shyam Sundaraman and Sridhar Nagappan

Secretaries: Kathiravan Sivaprakasam, Senthilnathan Natarajan, Sheba Soundhararajan, Soundharrajan Thiruppathi

Treasurers: Balu Ramalingam, Mallika Thangamani, Saleem Naagoor, Vijayakumar Gurusamy

Executive Committee members:  Anbarasi Mohanaselvam, Anitha Maninilavan on behalf of Maninilavan Arivukkarasu, Arun Mudaliar, Balamurali Subbaraj, Britto Antony Cruz, Deen Mohamed, Gomathi Nayagam, Jagdeesan Ramasamy, Jamal Harris, Karthik Ramanathan, Krishnan Lakshmanan, Rajkumar Ramalingam, Sasi Indiran, Shakthi Krishnamurthy, Shanthosh Krishnakumar, Sree Swami, Sridevi Kathiravan, Subbiah Sundara Mahalingam and Yashwanth Kumar

Tamil School Teachers: Balamani Somasundaram, Kumudham Sadasivam, Lalithavathi, Leenamani. Malar Senthilnathan, Mano Subramaniam, Dr Meenal Chandra, Seetha Meiyappan, Siva Nachiyappan, Subathra Rajaguru, Sujatha Purushotham and Vinodhini

Radio Programme: Gobi Dinakaran and Rajamani

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