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Ilayaraja's Melodies - V

5. Mazhai Varudhu, Raja Kaiya Vacha - The first time I heard the opening verse ('lalalala') of this beauty, I thought this was a plain vanilla imitation of a lullaby sung very boringly by K.J. Yesudoss. But as the pallavi opened serenely in the footsteps of those opening verses without any fanfare, it had a tranquilizing effect which makes you feel at ease and relax, like a lullaby but not put you to sleep, unlike a lullaby. Only by the first charanam do you get the rhythm (until which a brilliant bass guitar guides) and as the song changes gear, the grip with which it holds our attention tightens, which is again loosened by the second interlude where a group of violins (lead and back-up) calms down the musical climate. This masterpiece has a subdued sweetness that even after successive listening sessions, I feel like I can listen to it once more.

P.S: A minor but delicate arrangement in the charanams has to be pointed out: the mid-segment lines go on like ascending a staircase, then traces back by two steps and then proceeds again. It's not great, or inventive or unique, but its gently charming.

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