On a musical trip down memory lane

Music composer Shyam. Photo:Vipin Chandran   | Photo Credit: Vipin Chandran

Samuel Joseph is thrilled about his visit to Kochi. Though Kerala has accepted him wholeheartedly, he has not been to the State in a long time.

Samuel Joseph or Shyam, as he is known among music buffs, was in the city to receive an award instituted in the name of one of his favourite music composers, the late Devarajan.

A ubiquitous presence during the one of the best periods of Malayalam film music, his name brings to the minds of music aficionados songs such as “Ormathan Vasatha” (Daisy), “Poomaname” (Nirakkoottu), “Oru Madhura Kinavin” (Kanamarayathu), “Shyamamegame Nee” (Adhipan), “Mainakam kadalil” (Thrishna), and “Devadaaru poothu” (Engane Nee Marakkum).

“Devarajan had told me that he liked the song ‘Devadaaru poothu’. Coming from a brilliant composer with deep knowledge of music, there is no need for any other certificate,” said the composer during an interaction with the media here on Friday.

Recollecting his days with Devarajan as a violinist, Shyam credited him with laying the foundation of Malayalam film music. “His Malayalam diction was perfect and he was uncompromising, confident and sincere, knew his job and was least bothered about criticism,” he said.

Shyam had also assisted legendary music composer Salil Chowdhury, whom he regarded a genius who came up with difficult and unpredictable notes during composition.

Asked about new-age Malayalam film songs, Shyam admitted that he hadn’t listened to many. Justifying the change in music in keeping with changing times, he said, “Rhythm dominates now and when that happen melody recedes and lyrics become hard to understand. But the new generation is enjoying it.”

Refusing to be drawn into the debate over the supremacy of the tune or the lyrics, Shyam attributed the essence of a good song to a perfect understanding between the lyricist and composer. “It’s like the understanding between a husband and wife that makes a good family,” he said.

Shyam also threw light on his association with filmmakers and lyricists in Malayalam. He had worked in 42 films with prolific filmmaker I.V. Sasi, whom he regarded a hard taskmaster who would not let compositions go in waste and fit in even bits of compositions into his films.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 12:48:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/on-a-musical-trip-down-memory-lane/article5565654.ece

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