Tuesday, January 19, 2010
DECEMBER 22, 2009
The soundtrack to the forthcoming Tamil film, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (“Will you come to me, from across the sky?”), was previewed on Saturday evening at a reception at BAFTA in London.
The soundtrack, by Oscar winning composer A.R. Rahman, accompanies the latest film from director Gautham Vasudev Menon. All the artists featured on the soundtrack performed live at the launch and A.R.
Rahman went on stage to talk about the film and also to thank his fans.
The top singers of India, including National award winning Naresh Iyer (Roobaroo from Rang de Basanti) performed to a select VIP and press audience who were extatic to have mingles with the actors, Simbu and Trisha and their favourite musicians like Blaaze, the lyricist on Hollywood movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Couples Retreat.The backing notes was given by the great Keyboard player player Stephen Devassy..
This is the first Tamil soundtrack that AR Rahman has worked on since winning the Oscars. Speaking at the launch, AR Rahman said: “Winning the Oscars was great and it does make you mindful of a global cross-over audience, but every film I work on is precious to me. The music is key for this film; Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa is a story of two different cultures, and all the emotion of that comes through the music. It's the first time that Gautham and I have worked together and because it's a new combination, there has been a lot of curiosity and anticipation about the soundtrack.”
The seven-song soundtrack features lyrics in Tamil, Malayalam. The soundtrack will be released globally through Sony BMG in January 2010.
ESCAPE ARTISTS MOTION PICTURES AND RS ENTERTAINMENT
MADAN, GANESH, ELRED, JAYARAMAN
GAUTAM VASUDEV MENON
TRISHA KRISHNAN, SILAMBARASAN
Hosanna : Blaaze, Suzanne, Vivek Agarwal, Dr. Narayanan, V.V. Prassanna, Haricharan Sesh
Hosanna : Choir by KM Music Conservatory
Nadaswaram on Omana Penne : Natarajan
Guitar : Johny, George, Sanjeev Thomas
Solo Violin : Ganesh Rajagopalan
Bass guitar : Keith Peters
Flute : Naveen, Kiran
Cello : Elith Martyn
Chennai strings conductor:
T.R. Krishna Chetan, Deepak P.A., Hentry Kuruvilla, Vivianne Chaix
Additional vocal supervisor :
Sivakumar S., Deepak P.A., T.R. Krishna Chetan, Vivianne Chaix, Suresh Perumal, Kannan Ganpat
Recorded and mixed at Panchathan Record-Inn and AM Studios
Chennai Mixed by K.J. Singh and Deepak P.A.
Mastered by Sivakumar S.
Mastered at AM Studios, Chennai
Noel James, Faizuddin T.M.
Twelve Christmases ago, sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, played a memorable version of ’Silent Night’ in the Church of North India, New Delhi – an experience that some who were privileged to be there, claim, still brings out the goose pimples for them, when ever they recollect that rare combination of music and devotion. After all these years, the Ustad finally found the time, recently, to get together with a skilled arranger – Stephen Devassy – and a sensitive instrumental group – the Southern String Orchestra – to create, what is without doubt, one of the most unusual, and most ’Indian’ Christmas music experiences to be available in recorded form.
Airtel has supported this venture and Times Music has issued the album (Breaking Barriers; CD Rs 295; Cassette Rs. 65), just in time for the rest of us to experience the warm and mellifluous touch that the Ustad’s sarod brings to “Joy to the World”, “Silent Night”, “Jingle Bells”, “We Three Kings” and five other well loved hymns and carols. The mixing of the solo instrument and the orchestra by Manoj Kumar and Sam Devassy is superb – and makes for a true-fusion experience.
Let the barriers break and the soulful music flow...
This review is of an album that released a couple of months back. The reason I write this review in spite of it being couple of months old, is that I don’t want any music follower to have missed out this album. I have not been a big fan of Sivamani’s previous album with James Asher, Drums on Fire, mainly because it was a predominantly percussion-oriented album with pretty much nothing else. Although it excellently showcased Sivamani’s mastery over the field, I found it lacking in diversity. However Mahaleela has completely floored me, as it has a lot more elements than just percussion. The list of people who have teamed up with Sivamani for this album, which includes almost all of his fusion buddies from India and some from outside, is itself more than enough to give the listener a pretty good idea of what to expect. Enough intro I suppose. Here goes the review.
Dancing on the Moon
The track starts off with a rendition of Sarva Mangala Mangalye by the Bosnian singer Alma Ferovic. Alma Ferovic is a singer/lyricist who has been closely associated with A R Rahman, singing his theme for the Chennai-based NGO Banyan and working with him on his LoTR soundtrack. You might want to visit her myspace page and I assure guys that you won’t be disappointed! Alma has got excellent looks to match her singing skills!Along with Alma this song sees Tanvi with supporting vocals, A Premkumar doing the rhythm programming and of course Sivamani on the percussions.
This song has Louiz Banks on the keys supported by Steven(I wonder if this is the keyboard prodigy from Kerala, Stephen Devassy), Sitar by Niladri Kumar and Naveen on flute. The Sitar is evidently an electric one and could easily pass off for an electric guitar in many places. A lounge/spiritual song a la Prem Joshua, this song is a good choice if you are looking for a meditative sort of ambience.
Dedicated to all the masters of percussion, this song has Zakir Hussain and Sivamani engaging in a bout of Konnakol. The start of the track I believe is a pre-recorded Konnakol session by the late Tabla maestro Ustad Allah Rakha, as he is also seen in the credits list. The song sees Naveen at his best on the flute, excellently complementing the vocals. Krishna Chetan on the keyboard. The raga I believe is Abheri or Shuddha Dhanyasi, though I could be wrong.
This lullaby starts with a discourse by Osho. The Tamil folk rendition by Pandaram Selvam has been brilliant, and the blending of the Sarangi by Liyakath Ali Khan in to this South Indian-ish song has been simply superb! Wonder why the regular Sarangi maestro, Ustad Sultan Khan was not chosen for this one, but that by no means takes any credit off Liyakath Ali Khan who has been astounding in the song. The backing vocals by Subhangi Bose and Kavitha and Group also deserve a mention at this point.
This is the only pure-percussion track in the entire album and I must say Sivamani makes the most of the opportunity, bringing in an entire array of percussion instruments into play starting from drumming on water to Chendamelam from Kerala to Japanese taiko drums. The taiko drum section in the end however resembles the taiko drum sequence in Dacoit Duel by A R Rahman in the Mandarin movie Warriors of Heaven and Earth.
To hear Mandolin Srinivas in action is always a very pleasant experience and it is no difference in this song either. Add to that some splendid percussion and this song becomes a mesmerizing experience. The Kuthu style Tamil folk beats are something Sivamani invariably includes in all of his performances, and in this album he chooses to put them at the end of this song. The English vocals by Sonia however could have been done without.
Naveen in action yet again, this time alongside the next two veterans, R Parthasarathy on Veena and Vikku Vinayakram on Ghatam. The flute bit could be in raga Kanada or Darbari Kanada. The folksy rendition by Rangbir has a thottam song feel to it. On the whole the song could easily pass of for a Tamil or a Malayalam movie song!
Shankar Mahadevan joins the party with this song, and what a song indeed! Shankar eases through the high notes with his characteristic improvisations, accompanied by Nomojin. One can hear percussion resembling kitchen utensils in between. The incorporation of a bagpipe-like sound sequence in between has been beautiful.
S M Anandan
A tribute to Sivamani’s father, this song is a bit complex and with dark overtones. The song starts with song aggressive Kanjira by Selvaganesh Vinayakram, and then goes through a rollercoaster ride of a lot of other percussion instruments. Although Janette Harris is credited to the usage of saxophone in this song, I couldn’t recognize a sax sound anywhere. Wonder if the kombu sound or shell sound heard in between is a prepared usage of the sax.
This song sees a duel of sorts between Hariharan, who starts with a ghazal, and Raja and Tala on the sax. The song is the best song in the pack from the fusion point of view, touching on Hindustani, Carnatic and Jazz. Zakir Hussain is on tabla and Harmith on the keyboard, apart from Sivamani as usual on drums and percussion.
Sivamani chooses to thank all the people who made a difference to his life and those who worked on this album, through a song, thus making up the 12th track of the album. This one has Sivamani going through his vote-of-thanks while Blaaze raps on in the background. Towards the end of the song there is also some good Carnatic sax by Janardhanan.