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Hey Ruth

Hey Ruth -- by roymond, featuring Sudharshan Krishnamachary

Written in May 2004 for songfight! I mixed some solo vocal melodies sung in Tamil by my friend Sudhar with what I hoped to be an atmospheric landscape. Things just came together. I was mixing some feelings about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with the enlightenment of the Tamil lyric. Ruth is an agent of the Iraq invasion who questions her mission, her sources, and her own values.

"You've been making incredible stuff for months and I have been completely oblivious to it. Fuck man, this is awesome." - frankie


Hey Ruth ­ so you¹ve come to see me
The truth ­ is that you¹re scared to go
Hey Ruth ­ I won¹t always be here
It's true ­ and you¹re the last to know
Hey Ruth ­ why is there always such pressure
Let loose ­ when they come in just laugh
Hey Ruth ­ I will never forget you
The truth ­ is that I already have

The two lyrics in the remainder of the song are sung by Sudharshan in Tamil (a southern Indian language). He offers these translations:

Preface to Lyric 1: Nallador veenai... veena (veenai in line 1) is a classical instrument used predominantly by carnatic classical singers. Its an age old instrument and making a veena is a tough and painful process and it is also one of oldest instruments dating back to vedic times (technically undated). Saraswathi, Goddess of Art, Music and Wisdom, is a masterful player of veena and is always identified with veena. The depth, rythm and melody achieved by veena is supposedly incomparable and unachievable with any other string instrument. check out...http://www.veenaijayanthi.com/aboutveenai.htm

I wouldn't classify this song as a devotional, rather its a modernist questioning God with a rational approach to spiritual belief.

Essence of the song: "The singer is supposedly a great thinker and doesnt want to be bogged down by worldly things like pleasure, money etc. So he questions the Goddess as why she has given him so much knowledge only to make him feel bad about the sad state of things and people around him. But he is unable to really do anything about it. So he relates himself to a noble veena made with so much care, patience and craftmanship but dumped into trash right away. He asks the goddess why she created such a great thinker in him but let him live this worldly life with pain, suffering and sorrow"

Nalladhor veenai seidhen...
--(I)made a noble veena
Adhai Nalamkeda Puzhidhiyil Yerivadhundo...
--Would (I) throw it in the garbage?
solladi sivasakthi....
--Answer me oh Goddess
ennai suDar migum arivudan padaithu vittai...
--Why create me with a sparkling wisdom?

Preface to Lyric 2: Varavendum Varavendum... This is a true devotional song, but with a very simple meaning. The singer pleads to a Goddess to grant a wish(Another Goddess here, 'Parvadha vardhini', she is extremely powerful and for a true faithful believer she will grant anything). The song doesnt say what the wish itself is. Most part of verses(including those left out) praise the Goddess.

Varavendum Varavendum Thaye...
--Shower your grace on me, Oh Mother
Oru varam thara vendum thara vendum neeya...
-- Grant me a wish...
(above two lines are repeated to emphasize humble pleading)
Aram valarkum Amma Parvadha vardhini
-- Oh Goddess you enrich the goodness in everyone...
Thiruvayyaru dhanil megum dharma sam vardhini...
-- Oh Goddess of dharma, from sacred Thiruvayyaru (A holy place for carnatic music)

© 2004 roy walter

May 18, 2004 10:55 PM