Songs at the end. (Thanks to @_drunkenmunk for helping with some of the credits)
Composer Ilayaraja has employed verses from Manikkavasagar’s Thiruvaasagam to produce some great music in the past, most prominently in 2005 album Thiruvasakam in Symphony. In his 1000th soundtrack too he gets to work on one piece from the anthology and produces a winner out of it. The haunting classical-based (nadanamakriya or mayalavagowla raga, possibly) melody Paruruvaaya features a beautiful arrangement, highlighted by Rajesh Vaidhya’s veena, and is fabulously sung by Surmukhi and Sathya Prakash. Shubhapanthuvarali raga is perfect choice for the melancholic Idarinum that initially features a verse from Thirugnanasambandar‘s Thevaram, before Raja’s own lines take over. Sharreth conveys the pain very well in his nuanced rendition. Lovely violin solo in the first interlude, and the overall devotional touch adds to the song’s appeal. Raja pens the lyrics for Aattakkari Maman Ponnu as well. The rather familiar sound the song carries is made up by the composer’s characteristically top-notch employment of violins. And also the singing by M M Manasi and Prasanna.
The remaining segment of Thaarai Thappattai’s soundtrack is the earthier, more folksy bit that features a lot of the titular instrument. Raja spruces up the 1959 Vishwanathan-Ramamoorthy song Aarambam Aavadhu, amping up the percussion bit and making some tweaks to the tune. Behind the mic is Ananthu who aces the yesteryear styled singing (the lady who speaks in between a la the original song is uncredited). Vathana Vathana Vadivelan is largely about the vocal power of Kavitha Gopi and Priyadarshini, despite its other engaging elements. The Hero Intro Theme is a good display of the individual prowess of the percussionists and naadaswaram players, but doesn’t feel particularly “hero intro”-ish. Thaarai Thappattai Theme on the other hand gets everything totally right! A rich assortment of percussions coming together with the naadaswarams and the choral chants in a grandiose, frenzied fashion.
Thaarai Thappattai. Outstanding mix of folk and classical music, something that Ilayaraja has always excelled in.
Music Aloud Rating: 8.5/10
Top Recos: Paruruvaaya, Idarinum, Thaarai Thappattai Theme