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Music Review - Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya

Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao
04/01/2010

(This article is sponsored by Sounds Of India)

Vinnai thaandi varuvaaya, Gautam Menon’s latest release starring Simbu and Trisha is making waves after its release and is supposed to be a sweet charming love story with very elegant and pleasant music. His usual music-team of Thamarai and Harris Jayaraj has one difference this time - A.R.Rahman instead of Harris Jayaraj and also additional Malayalam lyrics by Kaithapram and Kalyani Menon! ARR’s signature style including distinctive arrangements, skillful employment of varied and unusual instruments,  melding of Indian and western music and remarkable back up vocal section can be clearly seen in this album .  The lyrics for all the songs are mostly soul searching and tinged with tenderness and romance.

Omana penneThis song is surely the pick of the album, with some amazing orchestral interludes and excellent vocals.  This utterly romantic song starts off gently with the tinkling of bells and Benny Dayal begins crooning softly and gets the listener hooked (why his voice is synthesized through most of the song, I don’t understand when he has a perfectly gorgeous voice!) – there is a Malayalam verse in the middle written and sung by Kalyani Menon – the song has some lovely back up harmony.  The icing on the cake is an incredible and heart-tugging Bilahari played by a nadaswaram/shenai like instrument (or is it the continuum) that softly drifts in and out like a gentle breeze and then just takes over in the postlude to bring the song to a stylish and elegant conclusion.

Aaromale my second pick of the album with lyrics in Malayalam by Kaithapram-a rock number with the hint of the blues – the beginning guitar riff immediately reminds you a number of Western numbers. Great lead and rhythm guitar and very impressive violin work are the song’s plus points!  Alphonse Joseph (well known Malayalam music director and singer) has a raucous and raw quality to his voice and has good range though at points he does seem rasping – but again it might be deliberate to suit the mood and feel of the song– the vocal interludes (swasthi swasthi) by back up singers are both neat and harmonious and merge in well.  On the whole a number that is both moving and intense.

Mannipaaya - Shreya starts off with the right dose of passion.  Her Tamil diction as always is impeccable and her voice drips with velvety magic! Rahman who also puts in the requisite feel and expression for the song is her co-singer.  The lyrics talk of forgiveness and reconciliation.  A soft song that is really quite multipart in its composition and arrangement.  A rich string and flute section, the latter being especially very attractive, complements the background score. Indeed very pleasing to the ear!

Hosanna Vijay Prakash, Suzanne and Blaaze.  Another soft song that speaks of heartbreak and unrequited love - with a lot of voice box effects throughout the song.  And then we have Blaaze with his reggae taking the song into a realm of a confusing hotchpotch of styles.  Vijay as always sounds good while Suzanne is competent with a strong voice and style of rendition.  I was not very sure if I really liked the song in the beginning and like many other ARR songs, took me a few listens before I started enjoying the song.  Great violin work and back up vocals throughout the song.

Anbil avan a fast paced song sung by Chinmayi and Devan with very predictable twists and turns– seems to be a wedding song wherein church organ playing the Christian wedding march morphs into the traditional Tamil Hindu wedding song (anandam anandam).  The song is actually not that exciting – may be one of those songs which could grow on the listener.  But did nothing for me.

Kannukul Kannai very fast paced –The tune is very reminiscent of some of his earlier songs like kannai katti kollathe etc.  The song actually has no soul and is quite lackluster- seems very to be very hurriedly put together and I honestly found it difficult to get through the song even one time.

Vinnai thaandi varuvaaya very very Pink Floyd, in fact very much like Wish you were here!  Comparisons notwithstanding, the song shines on its own merits - Karthik is excellent as are also the back up vocals and harmony and the guitar and keys accompaniment in this percusionless song!

Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya is certainly one of ARR’s better albums in recent times.  It’s been ages since he came out with some really melodious numbers like those from Indra, Roja, Minsara Kanavu and Kandukondein…however, Manipaaya and Omana penne do give us a more than just a glimpse of his brilliance!  ARR has delivered an album that has all the ingredients necessary to make it a hit.  We have ballad and soft and hard rock, reggae and blues and the folk and foot-tapping dance numbers too. Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya offers the listeners a couple of really scintillating and sparkling numbers, a couple of sweet and gentle and not-so-exciting numbers and a couple of non-descript numbers!

Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao

March 30 2010

(Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao is a homemaker & amateur light music singer (specialising in the golden oldies) based in New England - sings with Saptaswar in the US and Friends' Orchestra in Chennai, India and also gives private Karaoke based performances. She is also deeply involved with Tanker Foundation (that helps the poor & needy with kidney ailments- www.tankerfoundation.com) and Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust (a home for orphan and destitute children in Chennai).
Sudha's music websites:
http://www.youtube.com/user/sudsless,
http://uhooroo.com/sudsless,
http://www.youtube.com/user/saptaswar )


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