Sangamam

Music:     A.R.Rahman
Direction:     Suresh Kriss(!)na
Lyrics:     Vairamuthu
Released:     July 99

This album has 6 tracks
Reviewed by lighter sense and Thiagesh Sukumaran

Thumbs Up rating Lighter Sense's Thumbs Up Rating

Sangamam is a modest effort from ARR in adapting the South Indian Classical music in the fullest sense. It is quite a risky move at the peak of his career. He has successfully done it.

Varaaga Nadhikkaraiyoram uses Yaman Kalyani raag quite well. Shankar Mahadevan is here to stay with his lovely pronunciation of Thamizh. He is at ease in the high pitch and manages this fast paced song very well. The song reminds me of Damaadam Mastkalandhar by Nusrat Fateh ali Khan/Runa Laila. S.Janaki has made the song Maargazhi Thingalallavaa set in Sindhu Bhairavi a sorrowful one. Her aging voice shows up now and then. Unnikrishnan comes in the 2nd stanza. The start with the chorus is very divine, gives the feeling of watching the sunrise, sitting in the shores of Kanyakumari beach. The number is a bit slow. The song resembles Miley sur meraa thumhaara tho sur baney hamaaraa, a patriotic song which was frequently screened in the early 90's in the TV. (Did ARR tune for this one too?)

Vindhiya, Rahman, Vijaykumar, Manivannan, Srividya and others in "Sangamam"Sowkiyamaa is definitely the pick from this album. What an adaptation of raag Maandu! Reminds me of Oru naal podhumaa by Balamuralikrishna and Vaanathin meedhu mayilaada kandaen by M.S.Subbulakshmi. Nithyashree has sung extremely well. She invited criticism for shouting at many points in Minsaara Kanna and here she has mellowed down a lot. (Adhukkaaga 'Sowggiyamaa'nu pronounce pannanumaa NS?) Kadri Gopalnath's Saxaphone interludes are so soothing and the chorus voices are pretty good too. But ARR should avoid the monotony of using NS only for Classical tune based songs in future.  Mudhal murai killi paarthaen sung by Sujatha and Srinivas reminds me a lot of the song Androru naal idhey nilavil aval irundhaal enn arugey from Naadodi. Srinivas is another talented singer we have got (recall Poongaatriley from Uyirae). This is another slow paced song, impresses you only after repeated listening. Has some folkish interludes.

Mazhai thuLi and Aalaala kandaa have nothing to rave about. MSV for this song? ARR better give him another song to make up for this. Hariharan is his usual self. The song is supposed to be filled with emotions (reading the lyrics) but does not do the job well. The base music is irritating sometimes.

Sangamam may be received by the audience including the die-hard fans of ARR with mixed feelings. After K.V.Mahadevan and Ilayaraja, here is a person who has shown his flair for Carnatic music. He started off with Ennavaley inviting a strong criticism from the Carnatic music jaambavaans and now has come quite far. Keep it up Rahman!

lighter sense

 

Thumbs Up rating Thiagesh Sukumaran's Thumbs Up Rating

In the wake of remarks that A.R.Rahman is producing too many albums and and his music nowadays lacks punch comes a album meant to blow the critics away as A.R.Rahman shows his versatility at not only western music, but at Carnatic music as well. After what I felt was a successful venture in hindustani/punjabi style music in Kaadhalar Dhinam, he once again proves he's the man in Sangamam.

The first track of the album is Mazhai ThuLi in which several parts sounds like a rehash of Padaiyappa, but sounds very refreshing because of Hariharan and the evergreen M.S. Viswanathan. After a short break from ARR's movies (the last one was a very short stint in Uyire) Hariharan returns with another superb combination with ARR which has always given hits in the past (think Anbae Anbae, Uyire Uyire). However, this time he does with M.S. Vishwanathan whose voice proves to be another good factor in the song. Another sure hit.

The second track is Varaaga Nadhi which is, for my money, the best track in the album. It is a wonder why not many tamil music directors use Shankar Mahadevan as he is a definite asset to any album. His energetic voice adds to what is just any ordinary folk song and turns it into a sure hit. ARR mixes folk music with western and comes up with a expolsive hit as it defititely will remain a real foot tapper for a long time. Sowkiyama has converted me into a classical music lover.  Nithyashree has outshined herself this time. If u think that she was good in Jeans, I think you ain't seen nothing yet. ARR has given us a classical treat and this is one song which will stay on the charts for a long time.  Muthal Murai sung by Sujatha and Srinivas is a ordinary number in which Sujatha has done a good job. Srinivas carries on here from where he left off in Minsaara Poovae. So there isn't much expected from him. Still a listenable number.

If you thought that that was it, it ain't over yet. Maargazhi ThingaL sung by S. Janaki and Unnikrishnan will definitely convert everyone into classical music lovers. S. Janaki breathes life into the song and sings it beautifully. Unnikrishnan comes in only for a short while but clearly shows that he has been underused by many a music director. ARR has brought out the best in Unnikrishnan and hopefully we will see more from him. The final track is Aalaala Kandaa which is a follow up to Mazhi ThuLi and there is not much to say about that as I have discussed it previously.

Finally, a lot of people have said that ARR has lacked ideas, but in this album he has shown his true class. Period.

Thiagesh sukumaran

Original Photograph (Sangamam): Cinema Express
Photograph scanned and reworked by: Sandya