Saturday, November 25, 2006

A gift of the gods..

The other day a friend and I were discussing playback singers. Some singers are great because they've honed and literally chiseled their voices over the years with hardwork and practice. Today, their voices are like honey maple syrup over pancakes (Yeah, I made that up. Its breakfast time and I can only think of food)! Example: SPB, Hariharan.

But some people are just born with killer voices. Voices that are just rich in cadence and timbre, that can just hit any high note with ease, that can simply twirl and swirl to the whims of the singer. Just listening to them, you know that this is something they were born with! You just can't achieve that kind of a voice through any amount of practice. Example: Shankar Mahadevan, A.R. Rahman, T.R. Mahalingam, K.B. Sundarambal

I was listening to Shankar Mahadevan sing "Rangola hola.." from Gajini. I simply loved the way he has sung this song. Similarly, I love "Kumari.." from Anniyan and "Merke Merke.." from Kanda Naal Mudhal. I've become a total Shankar Mahadevan convert..:)

A.R. Rahman has come a long way from his "Urvasi.." days. Listening to him in "New York Nagaram.." and "Tere Bina.." (Guru), his range just amazes me. I'd thought earlier that maybe he used some kind of audio pyrotechnics to help his voice sound like it did. But, when he performed live at Dayton in June, he effortlessly sang "Dil Se re..." at exactly the same range as the audio recording. I was blown away..!

I watched "Raja raja chozhan" (Cast: Sivaji, Lakshmi, Sivakumar, Muthuraman et al) last weekend and there's this song "Thanjai periya kovil vaazhga". T.R. Mahalingam simply made my jaw drop in one of the sequences of that song. That dude sure had a voice that could beat even Rahman today! He was probably singing somewhere at 4 kattai (sruthi) and he was doing vocal gymnastics at that scale! I know how much I struggle to sing at 6.5 which is considered ordinary for today's female playback singers. Made me envious..sigh.

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Narasimhan said...

Dear Subha,

Just hopped into your blog while searching for AR Rahman by in blogger by chance.

Couldn't agree more on your observation about Shankar Mahadevan. I have liked Shankar right from Vara nadhi karaiyoram but Sukumari is something i heard for the first time last month, when while riding on a car to Livermore Temple, my friend suggested that I hear. I am forever thankful to her for letting me know of this song.

I have been listening to this almost once everyday so religiously that even my wife, who can't speak Tamil, enjoys.

Sometime back, while talking to Ramesh Mahadevan, he told me that AR Rahman's music is like writing a thesis. I couldn't understand Ramesh initially, but now I think I exactly know what he means.

Just listen to "Yunhi chala chal" from Swades.

Enjoyed your notes on the school crush. You should definetely read Ramesh Mahadevan's piece on School Days. I am sure you will like it.

Will check your blog regularly.

With Regards

Prabu Karthik said...

Totally agree with u on shankar mahadevan and ARR.
ARR has come a long way on the vocals dept.

i remember a live show by ARR in Bangalore and the way Shankar started out and rendered the song "Sandhana Thendralil" there
vaaipey illa! awesome!

namakku indha 4.0 and 6.5 matter laam theriyadhu.
edhuna software version a? :D

Anonymous said...

Engal thalaivar TRM pathi ezhudhina onaku oru thanks...

Enna irundhalum naanga avar set...

Indha eezhu kattai .. naalu kattai konjam link iruka?

namaku therinjadhu ellam.. inga solla venamnu pakkaren..

dinesh said...

When A.R.Rahman sings in a live show, he usually has one track in the background from the original. SPB, Hariharan etc don't do that. So IMO it's a little ess creditable.

TRM a "that dude" nu soltaye ippdi. Pera pullainga kochukka maatanunga ? :)

Subha said...

Thanks for stopping by! What's Ramesh Mahadevan's link?

"Sruthi" is the scale at which a person sings. We classify it on a scale starting from 1. Women normally sing at 5.5-6.5 while men sing at 1-2. In comparison, TRM's scale was at 3-4 which is really highhhhhH! :)

TRM oda varisu neenga..nee sollalai naalum nee enna solla vandha-nu enakku theriyum man..!:)

I didn't know that about ARR...interesting.

Anonymous said...

Intha post-kum enakum sambantham illa-naalum, onne onnu solli kolla aasai padaraen..

En(gal)aku therinju - ghee over a chakkarai pongal is Nee dhaaan. :)

yet another shankar mahadevan's piece I like is: that song from Rhythm...

Adiya said...

ya right. thats what music is dividine and voice should be blessed.

well come to the orcheratration of a.R.r he does in a different form. Singers throw up some n number output for the same mood with different variations. he will pick the best in all and collate the same to get the good output.

Narasimhan said...

Dear Subhashini,

Please find the web address to Ramesh mahadevan's article.

With Regards

Anonymous said...


" merke merke " song + thaniye thannan thaniye song + oh kumari of SM romba pidikum

Anonymous said...

wow. 6.5 kattaya... * gasp *

Anonymous said...

6.5 kattai.... Am not good in the field of music jargon. But I am a fervent listener to music ranging from the music I make while I brush my teeth :) to the alarm I test when I go to sleep. All I can understand is ur 6.5 kattai must b pretty amazing. Keep up the good work Subha and work hard to gain that maple syrup stuff voice instead of being envious.... :)

Anonymous said...

ur articles and blogs in and around SRIRANGAM are captivating .pl post ur views regularly about temples in ur Doodles aswellas Arattai blog.can u enlighten me more on KUZHANTHAI SWAMIGAL -sundar

Anonymous said...

andha listle unnaiyum add panniko..
ur kurai ondrum illai is still the talk of the town