Friday, June 08, 2012


With music playing out 24*7 home when running/ cycling/ swimming/ tweeting/ eating, have been listening to pretty much one set of songs for sometime now. Hence, I try and change the playlist frequently to avoid monotony.

Back in college and school, during culturals, there was a particular set of songs on high frequency renditions. Every second school or college band / individual going up on stage would end up singing the same song and the audience would "Boooo" as soon as the singing started. Not many people realize a hit song need not necessarily (even if it is sung well) win them prizes. Don't know what exactly works but the judges always look for the "Yo" moment in the song has when sung live on stage. It could be in the lyrics, a humming or even an instrumental bit.

In  Oruvan Oruvan mudalaaLi from Muthu. The "Yo" moment of the song is SPB singing "Hayhayhay hay" the "Tattadadattada Tadadatt toing" starts.

In yet another favourite song of mine, it is the lyrics. Watch at 0:29-0:37

Here are some of the songs I have grown up singing / listening to during school and college culturals.


(not linking the original video which is TERRIBLE)

This was an anthem of sorts for the professional college bands of Madras in the 80s and 90s competing in Mardigras (now Saarang at IIT Madras). I guess this song was most sought after because it gave an equal opportunity to the singer (especially during "ore veenai" with ore da feel), the percussionists, the keyboardists to showcase their talent.


Our Economics teacher in school was also in-charge of training the music choir. She would teach and train our band for the various cultural events. Apparently while she was in school/ college she'd play the Veenai for this song when her band sang the same on stage. She promptly passed on all that she learnt to us. Still remember listening to this song again and again on a,cassette trying to learn it in a day. And this was not an easy number though the tune is fairly simple. Listen to the song. In both the first and second stanzas, you have a humming going in the background when the main singing (Sillena melliyaSindanai Ambugal) happens in the foreground. Quite difficult to concentrate on stage and sing your bit since there are a set of others parallely singing the humming. Wouldn't say we always won the first place, but we were placed second or third whenever we sang this. When I moved to college and participated in Antakshri, once our team given the letter 'Ta'. Started singing this song . Usually in Antakshari the host stops you after 30 seconds or so. But this time he let me sing the entire bit (to check if I was able to complete the song) and I managed to do so ,with thunderous applause. Do listen to the Tamizh version but not before watching the #gvlt version here. I personally think it sounds better in Telugu but I wonder why Illayaraja did away with my favorite background humming bit during the stanzas. The videos are so typically Bharathiraja with the background dancers in white clothes. Really pity them)


Not exaggerating, but every second girl (out of the 100+) that went up on stage in the screening before the finals in the inter-departmental culturals sang this song. The judges were fatigued at the end of 3 hours. And this was not even a song to sing for a solo competition.


This song is extremely close to my heart. This is the song that got me, a two month old fresher  become a celebrity overnight, in college. During the inter-departmental culturals my Senior in college (AM) asked me to learn this song and I thought it was going to be a group rendition. Was in for a shock when she mentioned I was going to sing the male bits of Yesudoss and she the female portion. Was so not confident because I had never sung solo except in the bathroom, till then. Was always a Gumbaloada Govinda wherein most of the times (esp. when one had to go high pitch) I'd just vaaya asachufy. Even while practising I was very sure it was going to be an #epicfail moment on stage.

On the day of the interdepartmental culturals competing with 16 other teams on August 27th, I was tense.. very very tense. It was a sensuous number and we had ore da build up when AM started with her "ssss..aaaa" and all that with the drum beats ably assisting her.  She started with "Maasi maasam aalana ponnu maaman Unakku taane.." and I entered trembling with my mike singing "Poovodu aaaa.. taen-aada.. ". And boy! there was a super duper applause. We ended up singing it in all inter collegiate culturals and winning prizes. Might sound pompous but post this started the trend of female singers with a katta koral like mine singing the male bits in inter-college and school culturals.


A beautiful composition by the one and only #God. Super special to me . This was a hit song within our college premises when we sang during the inter-departmental culturals. The team that won the inter-departmental got to represent college at the inter-collegiate competitions. That year (and every year :-)) we won the inter-departmentals and we were at an inter-collegiate Women's Christian College's culturals singing this. And guess who the judge was? The man himself - ARR! We had the guts (timir!) to sing it for Him, infront of Him. We were super thrilled when He awarded us the second prize. The "Yo" moment of the song is when Hariharan comes back to say "Tamizha Tamizha ...Kangal Kalangade"


I see a lot of teams singing this on television shows. Some of them do a brilliant job of it. Don't remember the show but it was on Sun tv and this team did a fantastic version of this song. One of my favorites and an apt song for competitions especially for the female singer. The "Yo" moment is the grand finale with both the Jadis and female singer singing simultaneously. 


I'm categorizing these two under the 'India tolaikkatchigalil 100 murayaga' category. God knows how many many many times we would've practised these songs in college. When we didn't have time to learn a new song for college culturals, we would end up singing this. Not just us, the college juniors were forced to learn these when our band was asked to 'coach' them.


Had Rahman heard us, he would've cried... buckets. In all our enthuness, we took up this song and messed it up big time.


Every girl eyeing the first prize in culturals, would sing this in school....

 10... competing against the one who'd sing this one


Infact, a friend of ours in the band was so good at Toongada Vizhigal that every time when she'd practise and sing the "Aaaaa" bit at the end of the stanza, we would say "inga applause varum". This, when sung well was a sure-shot winner during Culturals.

These days every time I listen to a new Tamizh song, I analyse its 'Culturalability' meaning if it can be sung by a band/ individual in school/ college culturals and help them win prizes. Not all songs that are hits are 'culturalable'. In the recent hits, I think this one, when sung well can win the singer laurels.


12. One song which I never thought was 'culturalable' was making the rounds on the internet as a 'Culturals song' sometime ago. Ending this post with a wonderful choir rendition of an (almost) solo number. Love their singing. Enjoy ! 


9 Responses:

ashok said...

your list is amazing!

anantha said...

One addition to that list would be Megham kottatum. One particular school used to perform that in every culturals...

Anand said...

One particular-a? Bleddy fellow!

gaya said...

Ilamai ennum poongaatru is my all time fav. My friend used to sing in all culturals (Down stering -Loyola , Sarang etc)

Ramiah Ariya said...

One more - Sangeedha Megam, Then Sindhum Neram. For some reason very popular as a backup song.
I learnt Carnatic and wanted badly to be the hero guy singing in a college music show. First time the college band asked me to try "Pani Vizhum Malar Vanam" in a private setting. Failed miserably. They said my voice was shaking and I sang too carnatic.
Gave up the dream. Now singing for wife alone.

Anonymous said...

so many memories bubby. my fave was maasi maasam.

Anonymous said...

the whole office enjoyed the ballelaka choir version! We had a good time thanks to ur post

Unknown said...

hindi folk songs used to doimnate in our school days :P

Unknown said...

hello nice post