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Dasara of 2012 is just over. In the past few years, I’d written series of music-based articles in my web spaces, in English, and in Kannada. This year, I was planning out another thematic series along the same lines during the festival but it ended up just being a plan. Or if I look at the brighter side, yay! it’s an opportunity for next year’s Navaratri! Just the case of seeing the glass half-full or half-empty I guess :)
Last couple years, I also posted some of my musical compositions on my blog around the Navaratri time. You can visit those posts from 2009 (Nasamani), 2010 (Ranjani) and 2011 (Bindumalini) by clicking the hyperlinks.
This year, I’m not posting a brand new composition, but am posting an updated one! Earlier this year, I’d composed a swarajati in the rAga Kamavardhini (also called as Ramakriya and somewhat incorrectly as Pantuvarali). You can listen to the swarajati here, sung by my friend “IndianMusicFan“.
Thanks to the Samskirtam group on Facebook, I met Sri Mahesh Bhat, who recently wrote a very beautiful lyric for this swarajati, just in time for Dasara 2012. Here it goes:
तव मृदुलम् पदयुगलम् मम शरणम् शिवे जननि
तव मृदुलम् पदयुगलम् मम शरणम् परशिवे जननि
तव मृदुलम् पदयुगलम् मम शरणम् जय परशिवे जननि ॥ पल्लवि॥
कल्याणानाम् वितरणि पापे मयि ते करुणा भवतु ॥॥
ईशनायिके लोकपालिके इन्द्रवन्द्य पदसरसिज लसिते
दितिसुत गजगण विदलनचतुरे सदा निवस मम हृदि गुहजननि ॥१॥
कुवलय दलसम सुरुचिर नयने निरुपम परिमलयुत मधुचषके
अतिधवल – रजतगिरि – वरनिलये कलशजनुते मधुमथनसोदरि ॥२॥
पायसमुदिते मधुरहसिते जनिमृतिहरसुधे कलिमलहरणि ॥३॥
संसारे परमविषमे संतापो दहति हृदयम्
एहि त्वम् तुहिनगिरिजे तापम् मे शमय ललिते
नीरागमतिरायातु मयि वेदादिनय संस्तुत चरिते
नाकलोकशोकहारिसुबले चारुचंद्रभासमान चिकुरे! ॥४॥
If you are interested in the notation along with sAhitya, click this link: A Swarajati in Kamavardhini
Finally here is a video slideshow from the “Bombe Habba” at our home during Dasara 2012:
Today is the first day of Vasanta – the spring season. Although spring can’t arrive in an instant, for the calendar, we need to have an official start of spring, and that is the Vernal equinox. From today, the days get longer everyday, till the summer solstice. In India, spring is associated with koels singing in mango trees, and the smell of jasmine flowers.
In California, there is no dearth of flowers during spring!
Unfortunately, there aren’t that many singing birds. But to make up for that deficiency, I’m posting here a recording – of my composition, sung beautifully by “Arvind”.
Arvind, is known as IndianMusicFan on Twitter world, and his website is http://www.aboutindianmusic.com/
Click on the play button to listen to the composition.
The composition is in rAga kAmavardhini, that is also known by other names as Kashi Ramakriya & Pantuvarali. You can read why this rAga has so many names, in this old post here.
Your feedback & comments on the composition are welcome!
Today is the sixth day of Navaatri. We are halfway through the ten day festival. In many parts of Karnataka, Saraswati pooja is performed on the day when the Moon is near moola nakshatra (Lambda Scorpii). This generally falls on the sixth or seventh day of Navaratri. There is also another tradition of performing Saraswati pooje on the 9th day on Maha Navami too.
The elaborated composition you’d listen to if you went to Navaratri Mandapam in Thiruvananthapuram is about Saraswati, starting with the words ‘Saroruhasana jAye’ in raaga kaamavardhini. This raaga is also known by the name Pantuvarali. The composition is in praise of Goddess Saraswati. Listen to a rendition of this composition by Rama Varma who comes from the lineage of Swathi Tirunal who ruled Thiruvanathapuram, at his performance at the Navaratri Mandapam concert.
Students of Karnataka sangeetha typically start learning music with swara exercises in MayamalavagouLa raaga, and then go to learn simple songs called ‘geete’s. After that they learn some jatiswaras/swarajatis. After that they start learning varNas.
The word varNa means color. It can also mean a letter of the alphabet. One could easily say varNas showcase the hues of a raga clearly, but very concisely. In a normal performance, you might see a varNa sung at the beginning, but not as a rule. But for music students, a varNa is avery important instrument in raaga learning. Just like a foundation in grammar is required to write a good essay, learning many varNas is recommended for any music student. Varnas generally have very less sahitya, and follow a very structured pattern.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I have chosen a varNa today – composed by Dr Balamuralikrishna in Gambheera Nata raga. Balamuralikrishna is one of the most well known 20th century composers of Karnataka sangeetha. His varnas and tillanas have become very popular. He has also composed hundreds of compositions in Samskrta, Telugu and Tamizh. He has also translated a number of Purandara dasa compositions into Telugu too.
The sahitya of the varNa is in Telugu, and describes Parvati as the manifestation of Omkara.
Listen to ‘amma Ananda dAyini’ in gambhIra nATa, sung by Nagavalli Nagaraj & Ranjani Nagaraj.
Tomorrow, let us meet with another charming composition.