Sacred Songs (Parishudha Gaanangal – original title) was an ‘event’ in the Malayalam music industry and one of the greatest commercial successes of Tharanagani Studio. To my best knowledge, it was the first music album centered around a concept/ theme, and an-out-of-the-cinema-playback set of compositions done for the first time by a mainstream film music composer/ directer ( read Big time Composer). Sacred Songs, released in 1982, would also lay the template for the successful series of ‘Christian Devotional Songs’ series that would be put out by Tharangani Studio on a regular basis, mostly being released around the Christmas season. This album also paved way for the content format of all the albums that followed it, though most tried to keep up with some semblance of a theme, you could find one composition on Nativity and another on the Passion of Christ in almost every album that came out of Tharangini under the “Sneha” series.
As with any other legend in our film industry, its impossible to choose when it comes to our Nightingale of Celluloid, S Janaki, or fondly Janakiamma with all the respect that I can muster. Her voice is like warm honey over a cold heart when it wants to be and like a comforting cloak on a windy evening.While on the subject, I just felt I need to mention about Dhool, a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the yesteryears of Malayalam playback singing amongst a host of other subjects. Sadly, it has been live but inactive since the past two years.
I have managed to write a note to the owner to keep it up forever. I sincerely hope he does.
Shyam’s dabble in Theme Music had started long before Irupatham Noottandu or Oru CBI Diary kurippu happened. I feel he started it off in Nirakkootu (1985) itself, where the character played by Mammootty ( Ravi Verma) always had a ‘thematic intro’ running throughout the movie. Shyam, like Raveendran also used to cleverly use his melodies in the background scores of other movie – if you listen closely, there is the melody of Kannanthaliyum Kaattukkurinjiyum from Anubandham ( 1985) running through Uyarangalil (1987).
Shyam aka Samuel Joseph was like a breath of fresh air when he stepped in to take the baton of Music Composer in Malayalam. Not that there was a dearth of talent, but it was high time someone with a different ‘sound’ made his/her mark in Malayalam Cinema. And who else but Shyam, who was the pet of MSV and the favorite violinist of Salilda, we owe a big note of thanks to him for bringing the Western thematic concepts into popular mainstream Malayalam cinema. Though he dabbled in independent projects and attended as a session violinist in the Tamil film industry ( his first Tamil film was Etrikal Jagrathai in 1968) , his first independent project in Malayalam was Manyashree Vishwamathran (1974), Madhu’s fourth film as Director, and was recommended to him by none other than Sheela. This note is just a frank appreciation of his immense talent and the dexterity with which he composed his songs that had his signature in almost every tune, at times even reminding you of Salilda’s magic.
From the Times of India, TVM Edition, 19 September 2010
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Noted South Indian film music director Shyam has been selected for the 14th Kamukara Award, instituted in memory of eminent singer Kamukara Purushothaman Nair . Announcing the award, Perumbavoor G Raveendranath, Chairman of Jury, told reporters here that Shyam was chosen for the award for his outstanding contribution to Malayalam film music.