In simple words, if I have to describe my relationship with Maestro Ilayaraja’s Music, I would say “I grew up with my mum and maestro’s music”. I was cursing myself when I could not attend the “andrum indrum endrum” – the first live show of Raaja a few years back but when this “Nothing But Wind” live orchestral concert was announced I was determined to go at any cost. Although he was not performing, it was organised by his daughter Bavatharini and I know she would not make a mockery of it.
At around 7.05 when I entered the auditorium, Maestro, Vaali and Uttam Singh were on stage to light the lamp and inaugurate the show. Bavatharini rendered the ever favourite Janani Janani to invoke the blessings of God. Originally, Nothing But Wind is an Indian – Western fusion album composed and orchestrated by Ilayaraja, the flute exclusively performed by Hari Prasad Chaurasia with an 100 piece orchestra. The album was released in 1988. There are 5 musical pieces in the album – Singing Self, Song of Soul, Composer’s Breath, Mozart I love you, and Nothing But Wind. Reproducing the genius of a music with a 30 piece orchestra and accompaniments is not a joke. I would say they gave a fitting tribute to the original.
Navin Iyer played what Hari Prasad Chaurasia took 7 days to record and reproducing the musical genius’ with with a few changes of flutes in a live performance – absolutely scintillating. He was overwhelmed when Raaja applauded and blessed him. Prabakar, who is conducting for Raaja for the past 30 years played the solo violin and managed the orchestra to perfection. It was amazing to hear that he wrote the whole set of notes by listening to the CD of the original as Bavatharini couldn’t find the original notes of Raaja. The 30 Piece orchestra played the perfect foil for Navin and Prabakar. After the completion of every piece there was a standing ovation from the crowd and when Nothing but wind ended, tears were waiting to break down from my eyes. I joined the 1000 odd fans in unison to applaud for the genius and the re-creators.
It was followed by a felicitation ceremony and the fans were treated with interesting anecdotes from Uttam Singh and Raaja. It seems initially Hari Prasad Chaurasia saw the musical notes and said it was simple. But when he met, Raaja explained the notes to him, he was reluctant to do it. Once he started playing for the recording, he fell in love with the notes and even said that he can’t play with a single flute. It took 7 days to record the 5 musical pieces for which Raaja took only half an hour per piece to write them. There was a sixth piece which didn’t make it to the original record and guess who got the opportunity to take it to his movie – Kamal Hassan and the song – wait until the end of the post.
Raaja felicitated each and every person who was responsible for the concert to happen. It was very heartening to see even sound engineers getting felicitated for the wonderful job. Then followed a few songs of Raaja rendered by young singers – Thenpandi Seemaiyile, Ennama Kannu, Gumm Summ Gumm, Oru Poongavanam but the lateral part of show was blown away by the rendering of Anjali Anjali by Yethishwar (Karthik Raja’s Son) and the mind blowing performance of Pop Shalini and Haricharan of Ithu oru Nila Kaalam from Tik Tik Tik.
The concert was soulful, perfect and magical in relative to innumerable crappy shows running all around. I just felt good sitting with a wonderful audience who were in pin-drop silence when the orchestra was performing except for a couple mobile ring-tones. As Baski said “Chennai proved that they intelligent audience of Cricket and Music alike”. And Baski along with Rohini played the perfect hosts. Baski with his own play of words and Rohini with her command in language looked perfect. It was Baski’s statement which drew the longest applause for him – ” if all the technologies and machines dies out today, there will be only Ilayaraja who can make music with only Harmonium” – Aye Baski ( if MSV can’t because of his health).
When everyone left the auditorium awed and vibrantly discussing the concert, there was a voice “when is How to name it?” – ” Soon ” was the reply from Bavatharini – I said to myself – “the world is waiting”
P.S: The song that was taken by Kamal Hassan for his movie. Listen to it.Brilliance Personified