Dec 25, 2012

IlaiyaRaja- Maestro- Great Melodies Music Director

IlaiyaRaja- Maestro- Great Melodies Music Director- Biography- Profile-Full Details

Ilaiyaraaja born June 2, 1943 as Gnanadesikan is an Indian film composer, singer, and lyricist. He has composed over 4,000 songs and provided background music for more than 800 Indian films in various languages in a career spanning 30 years. Ilaiyaraaja was the most prominent composer of film music in South Indian cinema during the late 1970s and 1980s. His work highlighted Tamil folk lyricism and introduced broader Western musical sensibilities to the South Indian musical mainstream. He has thrice won the Indian National Film Award for best film scoring. He is married to Jeeva, and the couple's two sons (Karthik Raja and Yuvan Shankar Raja) and daughter (Bhavatharini) are film composers and singers. llayaraja is a music director who works at everything. From composing to orchestration to conducting.

He also does recording and balancing of tracks.Entering the Tamil film industry in 1976, his music for the film Annakkili became a runaway hit. He can conceive and write out the entire orchestration for a song, without having to play out each part. He has scored music for Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and one English film. During his on-stage Carnatic vocal performance, he sang his own 'Kirthanas'(Songs in Carnatic music). He created the Raaga "Panchamukhi" explaining the five facets of music that included the colourful aspect of film music. Usually a song requires a minimum of five notes (swaras). He is the only music director to compose a song in just three notes.He won the Indian National Film Music Award for his scores in the films Sagara Sangamam (1985), Sindhu Bhairavi (1987) and Rudhra Veena (1989). He is also the recipient of the prestigious Lata Mangeshkar award for the year 1998.His first fusion music album 'How To Name It?' set a new trend in non-film-based music album making. This was followed by Nothing but the Wind and recently - India 24 hours.

Early life and education

Ilaiyaraaja (or Rasaiyya, as he was called during his younger days) was born into a poor rural family in Pannaipuram near Madurai district, Tamil Nadu, India. He was the third son of Daniel Ramaswamy and Chinnathayammal.

Popular video Ilayaraja  Tamil Video song - Duration - 4 hrs.38 minutes

Ilaiyaraaja's formative contact with music-making and performance came at the age of 14, when he joined a travelling musical troupe headed by his elder step-brother, Pavalar Varadarajan, who was a propaganda musician for the Communist Party of India. In association with his brothers, he journeyed through numerous villages, towns and cities in South India for about ten years as one of the musical Pavalar Brothers. It was during this period that he first tried his hand at composing music: he set to music an elegy written by the Tamil poet laureate Kannadasan for Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister.

Arriving in Madras (now Chennai, Tamil Nadu) in 1968, he came under the musical tutelage of a Master Dhanraj, who, noticing the young musician's talent, dubbed him Ilaiyaraaja ('young king'). Ilaiyaraaja was introduced to Western classical music during his training, and the music and compositional styles of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, among others, were lasting influences that would later become a motif (as seen in the use of elaborate counterpoint, for example) in much of his compositions. Ilaiyaraaja's classical training culminated in him completing a course in classical guitar (higher local) with the Trinity College of Music in London.

Career and music


Summary of career

In Madras, Ilaiyaraaja worked in a band for hire involved in performing music for various stage shows and formal occasions. He was hired as an assistant to a film music director called G.K. Venkatesh, an event that marked his entry into film music direction. During this stint he learnt the practical methods of orchestration, and would hone his compositional ability through frequent experiment accomplished by persuading session musicians to play, during their break times, the scores that he wrote.Ilaiyaraaja's break as a full-fledged music director came in 1976, when film producer Panchu Arunachalam decided to commission him to compose the songs and film score for a Tamil-language film called Annakkili ('The Parrot'). This soundtrack, and the others that quickly followed, earned Ilaiyaraaja critical recognition for his adaptation of Tamil folk poetry and music to popular film music orchestration. By the early 1980s, Ilaiyaraaja had established himself as the leading music director in the South Indian film music industry which he proceeded to dominate for more than a decade and in which he continues to play a significant part.

Popular video song-2

Impact of his career

Ilaiyaraaja's arrival onto the scene of film music direction in South India broke new ground in the industry. It saw the centralisation of expressive control in the hands of a musical director brought to a heightened level. The Indian filmmaker Mani Ratnam illustrates: "Ilayaraja (sic) would look at the [film] scene once, and immediately start giving notes to his assistants, as a bunch of musicians, hovering around him, would collect the notes for their instrument and go to their places. When the orchestra played out the notes, they would be perfect, not just in harmony but also in timing — the background score would commence exactly where it should and end at the exact place required... A [film] director can be taken by surprise at the speed of events."

The range of expressive possibilities in Indian film music was broadened by Ilaiyaraaja's methodical approach to arranging, recording technique, and ability to draw from a diversity of musical styles. 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". Indeed, Ilaiyaraaja has composed Indian film songs in styles that include pop, acoustic guitar-driven Western folk, jazz-inflected tunes, the ballad, rock and roll, disco, funk, doo-wop, cabaret, march, pathos, native folk/tribal, and Indian classical (in both the predominantly classical and semi-classical formats). 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 effective employment of Carnatic ragas, and the urbanite for its modern Western-music sound.

Traits of his music

Ilaiyaraaja's music is characterised by the use of a distinctive orchestration technique that is a synthesis of Western and Indian instruments and musical modes. He pioneered the use of electronic music technology that integrated synthesisers, electric guitars and keyboards, rhythm boxes and MIDI with large orchestras that also featured the veena, venu, nadaswaram, mridangam and tabla. The popularity of Ilaiyaraaja's music can be attributed to his flair for catchy melodies, and to his employment of subtle nuances in chord progressions, beats and timbres. His songs, many of which demand considerable vocal virtuosity, have found expressive platform amongst some of India's respected vocalists and playback singers, such as K. J. Yesudas, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. Janaki, P. Susheela, K. S. Chitra, Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar. Ilaiyaraaja has sung many of his own compositions for films in various languages, and is characteristic for his unsweetened, nasal voice. He has penned the lyrics for his songs in the Tamil and Hindi languages. Ilaiyaraaja's is also famed for his evocative themes and background music for films.

Accolades and notable works

Ilaiyaraaja's composition Rakkama Kaiya Thattu from the movie Thalapathi (1991) was amongst the songs listed in a BBC World Top Ten music poll. He composed the music for Nayakan (1987), an Indian film ranked by TIME Magazine as one of the all-time 100 best movies, a number of India's official entries for the Oscars, such as Anjali (1990) and Hey Ram (2000), and for Indian art films such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan's FIPRESCI Prize-winning Nizhalkkuthu ('Shadow Kill') (2002). Ilaiyaraaja has composed music for events such as the 1996 Miss World beauty pageant that was held in Bangalore, India, and for a documentary called India 24 Hours (1996). Among Ilaiyaraaja's more recent works are his songs and film score for the comedy film Mumbai Xpress (2005) starring Kamal Haasan, and his Thiruvasagam in Symphony, an oratorio of ancient poems performed by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, conducted by László Kovacs.

Live performances

Ilaiyaraaja rarely performs his music live. His last major live performance, the first in 25 years, was a four-hour concert held at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai, India on 16 October 2005; he played to an audience of 10,000. The show was widely televised both in India and abroad. Less prominent was his live 2004 performance in Italy during a music festival. A television retrospective titled Ithu Ilaiyaraja (This is Ilaiyaraja) was produced, chronicling his career.

Awards and honours

Ilaiyaraaja has won the National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the films Saagara Sangamam (1984), Sindhu Bhairavi (1986) and Rudraveena (1989). He won the Gold Remi Award for Best Music Score jointly with music director M. S. Viswanathan at the WorldFest-Houston Film Festival for the film Vishwa Thulasi (2005).

He was conferred the title Isaignani ('musical saint') in 1988 by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and received the Kalaimamani Award, an annual award for excellence in the field of arts from the Government of the State of Tamil Nadu, India. He also received State Government Awards from the governments of Kerala (1995), Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh (The Lata Mangeshkar Award) (1998) for excellence in music.

He was conferred honorary doctorates by Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India (Degree of Doctor of Letter (Honoris causa)) (March, 1994), the World University Round Table, Arizona, U.S.A. (Cultural Doctorate in Philosophy of Music) (April, 1994), and Madurai Kamarajar University, Tamil Nadu (Degree of Doctor of Letters) (1996) . He received an Award of Appreciation from the Foundation and Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (1994), and later that year was presented with an honorary citizenship and key to the Teaneck township, by Mr. John Abraham, Mayor of Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Ilaiyaraaja has proposed to institute awards to honour people who contribute outstandingly to the Tamil literature, in memory of his late brother, Pavalar Varadarajan.

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