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Beat Street

This collection evokes the bhavageethe feel of the '80s


Neenillade Nanagenide?

Lahari, Rs. 35

The album has got a late-'70s - early-'80s feel to it: a time when bhavageethe was at its best. A period when the best of Kannada poetry was set to timeless tunes, rendered by musicians who loved poetry just as much as they loved music. This album captures, in its sound, that essence.

As I listened to this compilation what came to my mind were those songs treading the bhavageethe-ghazal line like "Mattade besara ade sanje ade ekanta... ", "Ella maretiruvaaga illa sallada nevava". They carried a sense of silence in them. Many of the compositions in "Neenillade nanagenide" have that same sense of space, though there isn't much of a sparkle in the lyrics. It also gives you the much-needed reprieve, particularly when you're feeling exhausted by bhavageethes tossed around by an over-zealous orchestra, with mostly synthetic sounds.

"Elli hoguve nee nilla baarade" is my personal favourite simply for the manner in which it has been conceived, completely in sync with the lyrics with M.D. Pallavi doing a fantastic job of it. The composition is full of unanticipated moments: it shifts not just in terms of register, but also in perspective. In fact, the violins change the whole standpoint so beautifully. Pallavi negotiates the subtleties in composition with great finesse.

The opening of the song has a lovely chord progression on the guitar. Much like the unforgettable phrase in the lovely "Tum itna jo muskara rahe ho" in the film Arth. The build-up on the tabla is equally striking. "Ninna nage biridaga", also by Pallavi, is again marked by bright and unexpected moves and glides. In fact it redeems the rather grovelling lines, so complete with submission. The violins deserve a special mention in this particular song.

"Bare sakhi" has a rich orchestra of violins and sitar. It's probably the choice of the raga Shivaranjani, which comes with a natural grandeur. The composition is replete with lovely dissonances. The chords on the guitar, placed so perfectly, in fact, accentuate it. Though in the charana they don't work as well as they do in the pallavi. I like K.S. Surekha's energy in the song.

"Neenu mamaravaade" by Archana Udupa is a tune that traverses between octaves, and dramatically at that. She handles it with ιlan, without making it sound jerky. The gejje sound that coincides with the tabla muktaya though, is jarring and unsophisticated.

"Yaara dani idu" by N. Aparna is an interesting composition set to a march beat and accordion effect. But going by the mood of the rest of the compositions, the orchestra for this one seems a little too loud and run-of-the-mill.

Of the three songs he has sung, Upasana Mohan is best in "Madaka nageyu". While the composition itself is staccato, the background score has a flow, and the contrast works rather well.

You may not like every song in the album, but you'll certainly appreciate the thought that has gone into most of them. The music is by Upasana Mohan and lyrics by M.N. Vyasa Rao.

DEEPA GANESH

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