17. Antaryami Alasiti Solasiti (Annamayya): The deep meaning words makes me cry throughout the song. SP Balasubrahmanyam and SP Sailaja have sung this soulful Annamacharya composition set to tune (Shivaranjini) by MM Keeravani with complete divinity.
18. Elu Narayane (Udayaraga album by Sri Vidyabhushana): This album was played everyday for years in my childhood. The flute bit at the beginning sets the mood of the song. When Sri Vidyabhushana starts ‘Elu Narayanane’… it simply means one has to wake up from slumber!
19. Ranganaayaka (Udayaraga album by Sri Vidyabhushana): The slow paced stotra at the beginning “kuNdala-maNdita-gaNda kambugreevam” gives us a hint of what is to follow. “Ranganaayaka” is sung in vilamba kala. It gives immense pleasure and mental peace to hear this devaranama, wonderfully sung by Sri Vidyabhushana. When he sings the line “Ghana shuka Shaunaka Vyasa Valmikaru nenedu nenedu kondaduvaro hariye” tears swell!
A word about the music director. H.K. Narayana was a well known singer and music composer from Karnataka, India. He was an icon of Light music and played an important role in popularizing the genre of Sugama Sangeetha in Kannada.
20. Shiva Shiva Ennada Naalige (Hemavathi): This song is out-of-the-world! It’s one of the most complex classical songs (half in abhogi and other half in todi – carnatic todi is different from Hindustani todi) sung by S Janaki whose rendition is energetic, vibrant and her felicity all through the very long and daunting song is remarkable. The composition is by L Vaidyanathan. Except for the last 1 minute or so you will enjoy the rest of the song and it’s sublime singing. Not that the last one minute is disappointing. It is just extremely hard to sing and Janaki has done a commendable job at it.
Janaki has managed the level of difficulty involved in singing the swaras really well. Singing the same swaras as a taan with akaaras (which is what the violin is doing) is quite different from actually saying the swaras as you sing it. That’s why you don’t hear too many carnatic singers attempting to render kalpana swaras (actual swaras not akaaras) at the 4th kaala (8 swaras per beat). But this song would have been better without the last few swaras at 4th speed when you sing two ragas.
The swarasthanam do go out of synch at super high speed to an extent. Though it is not bad. It is impossible to go back and forth between two ragas at that speed with human voice, with two different set of notes and assent and descent pattern.
21. Jag Mein Sundar Hai Do Naam (Anup Jalota): The comparisons are so perfect between lord Ram and Shyam… when Anup Jalota sings “Chaahe seetha-ram kaho ya bolo raadhe shyam” there are tears in my eyes.
22. Rang de chunariya (Anup Jalota): This bhajan takes you to another world…Anup jalota was born only to sing bhajans! When he gives answers to those set of questions “Jal se patla kaun hai…” I cry.
23. Patta Patta Boota Boota (Mehdi Hassan): One of the most fascinating yet intricate renditions by Shahensha-e gazal. I would never get enough by listening to this masterpiece of one and only Khan sahib Mehdi Hassan. When he begins this ghazal “Patta patta, boota boota, haal hamaaraa jaane hai” (Every leaf and every shrub here knows of my state), tears in my eyes!
24. Giripai (M.D Ramanathan): If you want to hear Raga Sahana, you must listen to MD Ramanathan which is medicine when you are in distress. MDR firmly believed that Carnatic music should give emotional satisfaction, instead of being merely an intellectual exercise.
When I was a three-year old, the great musician MD Ramanathan treated me with a ‘Masale Dose’. The story goes like this. I was taken by my uncle to MDR’s concert that was in Bangalore and I waited for the kruthi ‘Giripai’ and he didn’t sing it in this concert. My uncle, who knew the singer personally, took me the next day to the hotel where MDR was staying. The singer asked me what ‘M.D.’ stood for in his name and it seems I said ‘Masale Dose’. And not only did he treat me with my favourite number, he treated me with my favourite dish as well!