Tamil Features

Music to My Ears: Composer K on Ilangaathey

How are songs composed? How do those different ragas, tunes and beats fall in perfect lyrical harmony? Every month, Music to My Ears explores the making of a song, the vocals and visuals, along with its composer.

Music director K had two equally important duties in Kallappadam. For the heist/meta film, K had to compose the music and play a music composer onscreen. While his work on both fronts have been appreciated, it is his music that we wanted to speak to him about. The song Ilangathey, in particular, sung by the composer himself.

The Story


I called in my guitarist, Vikram, who has played for all my films. I had a very basic idea of the tune – I wanted a blues kind of feel to it. We jammed a bit and came up with the idea for it. A completely blues feel to it didn’t happen, but the final song ended up being a little pop. Vadivel really liked it and wanted me to sing for it. This is when Mani Amudhuvan, the lyricist came in. He wrote lyrics for this song.

I prefer to work this way. A tune comes into my head and then I work on it. I almost never set lyrics to music.


The twist

I always like to experiment with every song of mine. I like to add something different. So for this song, I got a schoolmate of mine – Krishna Kishore, a percussionist. I wanted drums in it, but I also didn’t want it to sound completely rock. So Krishna played Cajon, an African percussion instrument. It is a small box like instrument made in Peru. It gave me the sounds I needed, without making it feel like a rock song.