The stats on ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ indicated today was the day with the highest number of hits in the last 7+ years! A quick look showed most of the people were searching for the phrase “Kannada Rajyostava” reached my post from 3 years ago. It’s then I found that I never posted an audio of the Varna (my composition in Raga Madhuvanti) that I promised to do in that post.

Anyway, let me cut the chaff. A Varna is a musical composition that generally has a romantic theme, and the words go as a conversation between two friends, where in the nAyika is telling about her lover to her friend. Varnas are set to music such that they give a very good overview of the various musical phrases any given raga accommodates. Generally sung at the beginning of a concert in multiple speeds, a Varna is often employed by performers as a quick way of ‘getting to the form’ when on stage.

The lyrics of a large number of Varnas are in Telugu, but that does not mean there aren’t any Varnas with words in other languages such as Kannada, Tamizh or Samskrta. Since this is Kannada Rajyotsava, I am sharing a Varna I composed, with it’s sahitya lines in Kannada.

True to the style of Varnas, the lyrics stick to a romantic format. The Varna is in raga Madhuvanti, a northern import to Karnataka sangeeta, and is set to   2 kaLe Adi tALa.  The lines are are inspired by a shloka of Bilvamangala in his classic Krishna Karna Karnamrta.

Pallavi:

ಗೋಕುಲವೆಲ್ಲಾ ಕೊಳಲಿನ ಇನಿದನಿಯಲಿ ತುಂಬಿದನೇ ||
gOkulavellA koLalina inidaniyali tumbidanE

(Translation: He filled Gokula with the melodies his flute)

Anupallavi:

ಅನುಪಲ್ಲವಿ: ಆಕಳ ಮಂದೆಯ ಕಾಯುತ ಗೋಪಿಯರ ತಾನು ಗೆಲಿದನೇ || ಗೋಕುಲವೆಲ್ಲಾ||

AkaLa mandeya kAyuta gOpiyarellare gelidanE

(Translation: The cowherd, won over the hearts of all gopis)

CharaNa:

ಚರಣ: ಮಾತೇ ಮಧುವಂತಿದೆ! ಸಖೀ, ಇವನ || ಮಾತೇ||

mAtE madhuvantide! sakhi ! ivana || mAte||

(Translation: His speech is like honey! Oh my dear!)

The charaNa line was totally my imagination, to include rAga name “madhuvanti” (technically called the ragamudre),

You can listen to a recording of the Varna, played on the flute by Vidwan Vijay Kannan:

https://soundcloud.com/hamsanandi/a-varna-in-madhuvanti

For those of you interested in the notation, click the following links:

A-Varna-in-Madhuvanti (Kannada version)

A-Varna-in-Madhuvanti (Notation in English)

ಎಲ್ಲ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರಿಗೂ ಕನ್ನಡ ರಾಜ್ಯೋತ್ಸವದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು!

-neelanjana

SAMSUNG

ಬಿರಿಯೆ ಹೂಬಾಣಗಳು ಮೇಗಡೆ-
ಯುರಿಯೆ ಭೂಚಕ್ರಗಳು ನೆಲದಲಿ
ಮೆರೆವ ಸಾಲ್ದೀಪಗಳ ಮನೆಮನೆಸುತ್ತ ಹಚ್ಚೋಣ
ಪರಿಪರಿಯ ವಿಸ್ಮಯವು ತುಂಬಿದ
ಧರೆಯ ಬಗೆಬಗೆ ಜನರ ಮನದ-
ಲ್ಲರಿವು ದೀವಿಗೆಗಳನು ಬೆಳಗಿಸಿ ನಲಿವು ಪಡೆಯೋಣ

ಬಿರಿಯುತಿರೆ ಹೂಬಾಣಗಳು ಜೊತೆ
ಗುರಿಯುತಿರೆ ಸಾಲ್ದೀಪಗಳು ಸಾ-
ವಿರದ ಲೆಕ್ಕದಲಿರುಳ ಕತ್ತಲೆ ದೂರವೋಡಿಸುತ
ಧರೆಯ ಜನಗಳ ಮನದಲಿಹ ಕಾ
ರಿರುಳನೋಡಿಸುವಂಥ ಮುಡಿವ-
ಲ್ಲರಿವು ದೀವಿಗೆ ಹಚ್ಚುವಂತಹ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡೋಣ

-ನೀಲಾಂಜನ

Today is the tenth, and the last day of Navaratri – Vijaya Dashami. As per the Ramayana, this is the day when Rama defeated Ravana, and as per the Mahabharata, this is the day, on which Pandava’s ended their incognito.  This is also the day on which Goddess Chamundeshwari slaying demon Mahisha.

Goddess Chamundeshwari, atop the Chamundi Hill at Mysore was the royal deity when the Odeyars ruled Mysore. The Odeyars of Mysore started the Dasara celebrations more than 400 years ago, which they had carried carried forward from the Kings of Vijayanagara.

The last ruler of Mysore, Sri Jayachamarajendra Odeyar was a musican and vaggeyakara himself and has composed about 100 compositions. His guru, Mysore Vasudevacharya is also one the most important composers of the 20th century. He composed more than 300 compositions – most of them in Samskrta and Telugu. He belongs to the musical tradition of Tyagaraja. Since Vausdevacharya’s compositions are very much on Tyagaraja’s lines, he is often called ‘Abhinava Tyagaraja’.

On this day when Goddess Chamundeshwari goes in the Dasara procession at Mysore, what could be better than listening to a composition about Goddess Chamundeshwari of Mysore, composed by Mysore Vasudevacharya, and played on the Veena by Mysore Doreswamy Iyengar?

Desktopcollage

Set in a bright and majestic raga,  Bilahari, I think this composition the conclusion for the festivities of the season. Click on the image below, and enjoy this musical feast!

It was indeed wonderful to write the posts in the series “Veena Navartri” during Navaratri 2014, and in that process listen to some excellent music and become familiar with some new artists as well.

I wish all visitors of “ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ” for an year full of happiness and  you the very best in your lives.

-neelanjana

p.s: Generally, I am careful about giving image credits. However, for this “Veena Navaratri”, I could not do that and idid not cite image sources. Just wanted to acknowledge this fact, All images belong to their respective copyright holders.

Today, 10/2/2010 is the ninth day of Navaratri, which is celebrated as Mahanavami.  The first eight days of Navaratri, the music compositions I posted were all about Parvati (or one of her forms). Since, Mahanavami  s also the day when many people perform Saraswati pooja, I thought it would be very appropriate to share composition about Saraswati today.

The Sharada shrine in Shringeri, which dates back to Adi Shankara’s days is one of the most famous shrines of Saraswati. The  temple is known for it’s grand celebration of Navaratri.

10460275_10152700017143490_6503044967632634702_n

In one of my earlier posts this series I had mentioned how the term Veena was a term used to indicate any string instrument. Some sculptures of Saraswati show her playing a fret-less string instrument. The music compositionI am sharing today is also played on a Veena without frets. Known as Gotuvadya or Chitra Veena, this instrument is a close cousin of Vichitra Veena and Rudra Veena which are used in Hindustani system.

The composition starts with the words “Sarasiruhasanapriye” and praises the Goddess as one who is delighted by singing and Veena playing. It is a composition of Puliyur Doreswamy Iyer, a post Trinity composer ( and father of Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer and Ramaswamy Shivan).

This composition is in rAga nATa, which has been a popular raga for several centuries, and particularly considered an excellent raga to play tAna. No wonder the artist has preceded the composition with a short Alapa and tAna.

Happy listening!

-neelanjana

Today, 10/1/2014, is the eighth day of Navaratri. This is celebrated in the name of Durga, and so the festival is called Durgashtami. While the Bengal region is known for it’s Durga puja, in Karnataka Navaratri is celebrated in the name of  different forms of the Goddess.

In the first seven days of the festival, I wrote some some interesting bits about seven composers of Karnataka Sangeeta and their compositions – Syama Sastry (Devi brova samayamide)  , Muttuswamy Dikshita (Meenakshi memudam dehi) ,Tyagaraja (Darini telusukonti) , Swathi Tirunal (Pahi jagajjanani), Muttaiah Bhagavatar (Sudhamayi sudhanidhi) , Lalgudi G Jayaraman (Tillana in Mand) and G N Balasubramanian (Ranjani niranjani).

Today also, I am planning to do the same – although there is meager information on the composer. I chose this song because of couple of different reasons, but let me do some history talking first.

The term used for “composer” in Indian music is Vaggeyakara – which implies that both the words and the music were created by the same person. Traditionally, Indian music was primarily to be performed vocally, and hence the necessity of having words. Therefore, unlike in western music, there were almost no compositions which were created for playing on instruments until very recent times.

But there have been instances when the lyrics are penned by one person and the music given by another. We have very limited view of our music compositions before the 16th-17th centuries. It may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but most of compositions of early composers such as Purandara Dasa (and other Haridasas) or Annamayya have been tuned by later day musicians. Only a few have retained their original form. There are also instances where in the lyrics were written by a person specifically to be given a musical form by another. I can cite the example of Devottama Jois writing the sahitya for the 108 compositions on Chamundeswari for Muttaiah Bhagavatar during his stint in Mysore as the Asthana Vidwan. Then there are cases of Swati Tirunal‘s compositions being re-fitted with music by Muttaiah Bhagavatar, and later by Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. So in such cases, the role of Vaggeyakara is split between two people.

And then in some cases, compositions that were probably never set to music or sung before,  are set to music by a musician, and they become popular as a “composition” of the person who wrote the sahitya lines, rather than the person who set music. The composition I am talking about is one such , which is set in multiple ragas.

Ragamalika (ರಾಗಮಾಲಿಕಾ, ರಾಗಮಾಲಿಕೆ) – is a type of composition that is quite popular in South Indian classical music today. As the name suggests, such a composition sung in multiple ragas, and so the name Ragamalika, i.e. “garland of ragas”. As a composition type, they seem to gained popularity from the early 18th century. Muttuswami Dikshita’s father Ramaswamy Dikshita, and his guru Veerabhadrayya are some of the earliest Ragamalika composers known. As I was telling earlier, several Purandara Dasa compositions that are sung as Ragamalikas, have been set to music by later day musicians, since we have lost most of original structure of haridasa compositions from the 15-18th centuries. And their ragamalika form is more than likely to be of recent origin.

There is some food for thought here. Why didn’t Haridasa’s who composed suLAdis , which are compositions in multiple tALas (tALamAlike), think of composing in multiple ragas? They my indeed have, but we can’t prove they did. As an aside I can cite a composition of Sripadaraya ( who composed several decades before Purandara dasa) – ಲಾಲಿ ಗೋವಿಂದ ಲಾಲಿ – in which three of the twenty three charaNas have names of the ragas embedded in the lyrics (Kalyani, Anandabhairavi and Devagandhara) giving us an opportunity to speculate that the composition indeed might have been a ragamalike, sung in those ragas for those specific charaNas ( because that’s how the raga signature is included in more recent ragamalika compositions). Yes, again, it remains only a speculation.

sri chakra, image 12

Today’s ragamalika, Srichakraraja simhasaneshwari, is said to be a “composition” of Agastyar – only means that someone with a pen name “Agastyar” wrote the sahitya, as the language and style look contemporary. This is set in four ragas, that are sung in madhyama shruti – Jhanjoti, nadanamakriya, Punnagavarali and Sindhubhairavi.

Now listen to a rendition of this composition by Aravind Bhargav, a worthy disciple of the Mandolin maestro Srinivas, who passed away recently. This is from a concert recently in memory of his guru:

The embedded video seems to start at the wrong time – Start from the 1hr 35m mark to listen to Srichakraraja simhasaneshwari in ragamalika. I recommend you listen not only to this composition (which is only about 5 minutes long), but the entire concert, which is excellent.

Happy listening!

-neelanjana

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Ramaprasad K V

Ramaprasad K V

ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ. Musicphile. Bibliophile. Astrophile. Blogophile. Twitterphile.

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