8

Ilaiyaraja: Soundtrack: Neethane En Ponvasantham

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Ilaiyaraja: Soundtrack: Neethane En Ponvasantham 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.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Sony Music


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Ida Y Vuelta" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Y Vuelta
by James Nadal
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Tales From A Forbidden Land" CD/LP/Track Review Tales From A Forbidden Land
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Acoustically Speaking" CD/LP/Track Review Acoustically Speaking
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "The Way You Say It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way You Say It
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "All Things" CD/LP/Track Review All Things
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!