Soaring on the wings of poetry

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N.J. Nair

In his book ‘Devageethikal,’ veteran music director G. Devarajan says melody should complement the lyrics.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Every creative endeavour has an interesting story. The secret behind the ingenious creations of the late veteran music director G. Devarajan and his association with accomplished poets such as Vayalar Rama Varma, O.N.V. Kurup, P. Bhaskaran figure in the book, ‘Devageethikal,’ compiled by the composer himself.

The compilation released by Prof. Kurup here recently sheds light on his musical journey spanning four decades. Lucidity is the hall-mark of the creations.

When a musician with a passion for poetry works with poets yearning for melody, they succeed in striking a unique chord.

While elucidating his approach to music, Devarajan makes a clear distinction between a poet and a lyricist. A song should soar on the wings of poetry. A lyricist should essentially be a poet too. The songs should be pristine poetic creations embellished with imageries, simile and alliterations.

The soulful strains of melody composed by the musician complement the lyrics. A poet like O.N.V. visualised the charm of the universe in a glistening drop of rain.


He exercised self-restraint while writing songs for the uninitiated audience without relinquishing the magic of his poetry.

The songs written for the plays of the Kerala People’s Arts Club (KPAC), which still continue to be a rage among connoisseurs of music, have been cited as an instance.

Deviating from the system of blindly copying the tunes of Hindi and Tamil film songs, the Devarajan-O.N.V. duo created an indigenous music, composing songs based on Carnatic and folk music.

The same was true with Vayalar who deftly interspersed Sanskrit in his songs which had specific hints for the layman.

Devarajan has cited ‘Palazhi mangaye parinayichu…’ as a case in point. Composing the music without diminishing the poetic beauty of the lyrics was an exacting task. But Devarajan says he took it as a challenge and effortlessly selected tunes for each song.

Devarajan’s logic that he would not pick up a tune that has not struck his mind is proof of his commitment to making each song a novel experience.

While Devarajan, O.N.V. and their compatriots excelled as artistes in their own right, they also made systematic interventions for the cause of the downtrodden.

Around 1,900 songs and the Carnatic compositions, including the details of the ragas, have been included in the anthology.




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