Today is the fourth day of Navaratri. On the first three days of the festival, I had written about a composition of Tyagaraja, Muttaiah Bhagavatar and Shama Sastry, and about the respective navaratri kriti of Swathi Tirunal.
On the fourth day, the composition sung at Navaratri Mandapam in Thiruvananthapuram is Bharati Mamava in raga tODi.
Today I’ll move on from the 18th century to a composer from 20th century, much closer to our times. Yes, I’m talking about G.N.Balasubramanian, a.k.a GNB.
G.N.B.’s (1910 AD- 1965AD) first concert was an unplanned event. When a scheduled artist did not arrive, G.N.B. who was still in high school was sent there as a replacement. Right from this start he won the hearts of rasikas, and did not turn back. Although he passed away at quite an young age, his style lives today through his line of disciples, such as Trissur Ramachandran, MLV etc.
G.N.B. has composed about 50 compositions in Samskrta, Telugu and Tamizh. But apparently, he did not sing many of his compositions during his concerts. Many of his compositions have become very famous.
For this fourth day of Navaratri, I have chosen G.N.B’s composition in Amrta behag raaga – kamala charane.
Being an innovator, he was inspired by two existing ragas, Amrtavarshini and Behag, and came up with this new melody, and carved out a very attractive form for this raga.
The song has a peppy chitte swara too that showcases the raga swaroopa. The kriti is in Samskrta, and G.N.B’s signature, Vimarshanananda shows up at the end.