Kangalal Kaithu Sai - First impressionsTwo days into listening Kangalal Kaithu Sei, the latest offering from Panchatan (quite a burst of albums these last few months), and I'm a little pleased that the first vibes are much more positive than what I had with the earlier ones - Boysdidn't make the best impressions on me (though on repeated hearings I think quite well of this), nor did Tehzeeb (except for Meherbaan, it didn't catch on for me) and Enakku 20 Unakku 18 was decent, but not special (except for the melodious Santhippomaa). Well, Kangalal Kaithu Sei has a few good ones with the potential to be quite memorable, though still not in the topmost league, I think. Bharatiraja has had quite a good success rate in partnership with Rahman. This combination may not be well known outside the Tamil landscape unlike the ones with Mani Ratnam or Shankar, but has produced such gems like the folk-enriched Karuthamma and the unreleased Anthimanthaarai. Taj Mahal may not have been so good, but had its bright moments.
Kangalal Kaithu Sei is a departure from other Rahman offerings of late and (as has been remarked in many circles) falls in the category of albums like En Swaasa Kaatre or even Jeans where the score isn't rhythm-based but what seems to me to constitute proper "light music". Light on the ears and not brimming with instruments. Three of the five had rather melodious openings, which was the highlight of the collection for me.
Tamizhamma is one of those that don't instantly endear, but those that aren't intolerable either. It easily grows on you, for the beats and meter are such that they hook into the mind easily. The rapping (if it can be called that) towards the end seems rather pointless, even if it is the Tamil alphabet (I don't see how this really adds anything to the song). The insertion of an electronic version of an old and legendary song Senthamil NaaDu (I could recognize the tune as something I'd heard before, but couldn't place it - apparently because the Srinivas-Chitra version that airs on Jaya TV has erased the memory somewhat) adds a touch of novelty to the song.
Anarkali makes you sit up and notice - primarily because of the wonderful use of the bandish Ja Jaa Re Apne Mandarava and the tabla. The rest of the song in comparison is a bit of a letdown. I'd say the jury is still pondering over this one. Azhagiya Cinderella (by Hariharan, being heard in a Rahman song after a long hiatus) is alright, nothing remarkable to me.
And then come the sweet beginnings of En uyir thozhiye, which is quite in the league of Sakhiye Nee thaan thunaye. One of the top points of this score, Unni Menon (if I'm right) does very well here. This was followed by Theekuruvil which is again great - the opening is quite unconventional with (two?) male voices uttering (how else does one describe it) words in Tamil. A curiously semi-staccato and unexpectedly fast-paced singing by Harini ensues and leads into a complex song structure that I found enthralling.
I found myself coming back for Theekuruvil, En uyir thozhiye and even Tamizhamma, with a quick stop to sample Anarkali. Let's see if this estimation rises with the inevitable encores. Will also be curious to know what the music blog-guru has to say.