All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

9

Ilaiyaraja: Soundtrack: Neethane En Ponvasantham

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
In India, the 2012 film Neethane En Ponvasantham and its companion soundtrack proved to be quite the cultural event. Movie scenes were shot in three Indian languages (Tamil, Telugu and Hindi). The soundtrack was collaboratively written by the film's director, Gautham Menon, with lyricist Na. Muthakumar and Ilaiyaraaja, the composer globally known as "The Maestro" because he has written more than 4500 songs and scored more than 950 films in India.

While the film was released in December 2012, its widely anticipated soundtrack was premiered the preceding September at a stadium concert; each song was performed live by the singers and Hungarian session musicians who recorded the original score, Maestro Ilaiyaraaja, and the Anglo-Indian Music Productions orchestra. These musicians include guitarist Attila Laszlo, an Ilaiyaraaja soundtrack veteran, and drummer Ferenc Nemeth, who's also played with Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, Russell Ferrante and the Lionel Loueke Trio.

Considering this past as prologue, Neethane En Ponvasantham presents surprisingly mainstream music. Every tune has vocals, and while several tunes present light and floating orchestration that's curiously jazz-like, these vocals often bring them back to earth. Acoustic and electric guitars and a string ensemble create an airy and beautiful melody for the opening "Saayndhu Saayndhu" that glows with the warm beauty of Pat Metheny's work with pianist Lyle Mays, behind the vocal by Yuvan Shankar Raja, Ilaiyaraaja's son. Similarly, the melody of "Kaatrai Konjam" seems to organically grow from blended strings, percussion, piano and oboe; strings, brass and reeds flow into a melodic pool beneath "Yennodu Vaa Vaa" that ripples with classic Gil Evans, Oliver Nelson instrumentation. These show Ilaiyaraaja to be both warm and brilliant.

"Vaanam Mella" features not only The Maestro's music but his actual voice! It opens with bagpipes, tympani, strings and an orchestra, full and lush, and settles into a bobbing, fluid rhythm; Ilaiyaraaja's pleasant, inviting vocal seems to instinctively contour to every melodic turn and bounce.

In two more demonstrative tunes, The Maestro Ilaiyaraaja flat-out rocks. Led by thick acoustic and electric guitars (even a grungy little blues break), "Pudikale Maamu" chops out rhythms, chords and hot licks that suggest an up-tempo Tom Petty tune. Near the end, "Pengal Yendral" vents the male lead's frustration in angry swarms of electric guitar, a heavy and hard downbeat, and Yuvan Shankar Raja's strident vocal, all produced in a shiny, metallic hard rock sound.

Track Listing: Saayndhu Saayndhu (Singers: Yuvan Shankar Raja, NSK Ramya); Kaatrai Konjam (Singer: Karthik); Mudhal Murai (Singer: Sunidhi Chauhan); Vaanam Mella (Singers: Ilaiyaraaja, Bela Shende); Pudikale Maamu (Singers: Suraj Jagan, Karthik); Yenodu Vaa Vaa (Singer: Karthik); Pengal Yendral (Singer: Yuvan Shankar Raja); Sattru Munbu (Singer: NSK Ramya).

Personnel: Ilaiyaraaja: composer, arranger, conductor, vocals; Attila Laszlo (guitar); Ferenc Nemeth (drums); Anglo-Indian Music Productions: orchestra; Yuvan Shankar Raja: vocals; NSK Ramya: vocals; Karthik: vocals; Sunidhi Chauhan: vocals; Bela Shende: vocals; Suraj Jagan: vocals.

Title: Soundtrack: Neethane En Ponvasantham | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Sony Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Inner Core CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Core
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Dirigo Rataplan II CD/LP/Track Review
Dirigo Rataplan II
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 21, 2018
Read The Window CD/LP/Track Review
The Window
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited" CD/LP/Track Review Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Flying" CD/LP/Track Review Flying
by Paul Rauch
Published: August 10, 2018
Read "In Search Of A Dream" CD/LP/Track Review In Search Of A Dream
by Chris May
Published: July 2, 2018
Read "Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Two Hands To Tango" CD/LP/Track Review Two Hands To Tango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 15, 2018
Read "Dreams of Belonging" CD/LP/Track Review Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018