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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:
Rajyotsava. Novermber 1st. A day no Kannadiga would forget. Last year, on Rajyotsava, I posted this video of Vidwan Ragavan Manian singing a varna in Kannada language that I composed. That varna had the sAhitya taken from a well known vacana of Basavanna – ನಾದಪ್ರಿಯ ಶಿವನೆಂಬರು. You can click here for the notation of that varNa in rAga nAgaswarAvaLi.
This year too, I am posting another composition of mine which I did a while ago, since it has gone through some “quality testing”! This too is a varna with lyrics in Kannada. No audio or video this time, because I don’t have one worthy of posting :-).
This varNa in rAga Madhuvanti, and set to Adi tALa. And, this time, the sAhitya lines are mine, although indirectly, they are inspired by a shloka of Bilvamangala in his classic Krishna Karnamrta.
Varnas generally have very limited sAhitya, and often have romantic themes. This one is also not an exception, and you could think the lines as being said by one gopika girl of Gokula to another.
ಗೋಕುಲವೆಲ್ಲಾ ಕೊಳಲಿನ ಇನಿದನಿಯಲಿ ತುಂಬಿದನೇ ||
gOkulavellA koLalina inidaniyali tumbidanE
(Translation: He filled Gokula with the melodies his flute)
ಅನುಪಲ್ಲವಿ: ಆಕಳ ಮಂದೆಯ ಕಾಯುತ ಗೋಪಿಯರ ತಾನು ಗೆಲಿದನೇ || ಗೋಕುಲವೆಲ್ಲಾ||
AkaLa mandeya kAyuta gOpiyarellare gelidanE
(Translation: The cowherd, won over the hearts of all gopis)
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” :-)
Here is the notation of the Varna for those interested:
A-Varna-in-Madhuvanti (Kannada version)
A-Varna-in-Madhuvanti (Notation in English)
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.
ನೆನ್ನೆ ಬಸವ ಜಯಂತಿ ಅನ್ನುವುದರ ಮೇಲೆ ಇವತ್ತು ಧ್ಯಾನ ಬಂದಿತು. ಕೆಲವು ತಿಂಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಬಸವಣ್ಣನ ವಚನವೊಂದರ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯವನ್ನು ಬಳಸಿ ನಾನು ರಚಿಸಿದ ವರ್ಣವೊಂದನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕೊಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ.
If you do not read Kannada, here is the notation for the Varna in English: