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Music Rediscovery: Ode to A.R. Rahman

No specific track this time to recommend, actually. I was cleaning out the CDs at home, and found a bunch of Tamil and Hindi music CDs I hadn’t yet imported into my library… I had forgotten they existed, honestly, and when I finally did import them, I re-discovered some of my favourite tracks.

Most of them were A.R. Rahman creations, which explains why I absolutely love them. A.R. Rahman, for those unaware, is one of the greatest Indian music directors/composers ever, and probably one of the best in the world. I am not exaggerating. I have yet to discover something that parallels his musical genius. He is the Father of modern Indian music, the visionary to first combine the Western with the Indian, and not only that, but to invoke Indian sounds through western instruments.

His debutante effort in Roja was the first time western percussion was introduced into Indian songs – a courageous move by any standard. [Click here to listen to one of his songs in that film] His subsequent award-winning creations have mesmerised millions of people, and have led to an entirely original genre of music, and subsequently, a dance genre of its own. It wouldn’t matter if the film was an absolute flop – if Rahman was the director, you could expect high sales on the albums.

Many have copied his style thereafter, but none really come that close.  Many disintegrate into a certain sort of bastardly hybrid genre that gives homage to neither musical tradition. Rahman achieves the perfect balance between the Western and Indian, and even in a song that would not be inappropriate at a club, he manages to keep it classy. [Click here for a sample of his later works]

This is not to say he doesn’t do pure Indian – he does it, and he does it really well. [Click here for a sample from Lagaan that is authentic North Indian folk music]. His passion shines through every track, his dedication to detail in every note.

His experiments are also what pushed the digitised mastering of music in India, hence the higher-quality tracks heard today. Truly, a visionary. It is only my luck that I haven’t met him yet, because if I did, I’d surely get over-excited and die of a heart-attack.

And this, is my much-delayed Ode to Rahman. Yes, KT, I still love you.

August 12, 2008 - Posted by | Music | , , , , , ,

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