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In 1976, Film producer Panchu Arunachalam engaged him to compose the songs and film score for a Tamil-language film called Annakkili (‘The Parrot’). For the soundtrack, Ilaiyaraaja applied the techniques of modern popular film music orchestration to Tamil folk poetry and folk song melodies, which created a fusion of Western and Tamil idioms.

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Music maestro Ilaiyaraaja

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Early life of family was born as


Ilaiyaraaja was born as Gnanadesikan on 2 June 1943 in a Tamil family in Pannaipuram, Theni District, Tamil Nadu, India. When he joined the school his father changed his name as “Rajaiya” but his village people used to call him as “Raasayya”. Ilaiyaraaja joined Dhanraj Master as a student to learn musical instruments and the master renamed and called him as just “Raaja”. In his first movie Annakili, Tamil film producer PanchuArunachalam added “Ilaiya” (Ilaiya means younger in Tamil language) as prefix in his name Raajaand he named as “Ilaiyaraaja” because in the 1970s there was one more music director A.M. Rajah who was a popular one.

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Early Exposure to music


Ilaiyaraaja grew up in a rural area, exposed to a range of Tamil folk music. At the age of 14, He joined a travelling musical troupe headed by his elder brother, PavalarVaradarajan, and spent the next decade performing throughout South India. While working with the troupe, he penned his first composition.a musical adaptation of an elegy written by the Tamil poet laureate Kannadasan for Jawaharlal Nehur, India’s first prime minister. In 1968, Ilaiyaraaja began a music course with Professor Dhanraj in Madras (now Chennai), which included an overview of Western classical Music,compositional training in techniques such as counterpoint.

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Film Composer


In 1975, Film producer Panchu Arunachalam engaged him to compose the songs and film score for a Tamil-language film called Annakkili (‘The Parrot’).For the soundtrack, Ilaiyaraaja applied the techniques of modern popular film music orchestration to Tamil folk poetry and folk song melodies, which created a fusion of Western and Tamil idioms. Ilaiyaraaja’s use of Tamil music in his film scores injected new influence into the Indian film score milieu. by the mid-1980s Ilaiyaraaja was gaining increasing stature as a film composer and music director in the south Indian film industry.


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