Continuing from the previous post, we will see more about the shades of emotions that Charukesi creates by taking up some great compositions and using them as our starting point for analysis.
Innam En Manam, pada Varnam by Sri LGJ
I had mentioned before that Charukesi creates a feeling of sadness mingled with hope. When you listen to this raga, just close your eyes. Imagine the following scene, that of a devotee beseeching God for salvation, begging Him to alleviate oneself off suffering. It would fit perfectly. And hence the reason why I had mentioned that one would want to be near their loved ones after hearing a good rendition of Charukesi. For discussion we will start with the famous varnam by Sri LGJ, Innam En Manam. (please see this doc file in order to understand easily the following paragraphs)
This is a Pada varnam (link to wiki). A pada varnam is one that has extensive lyrical content and is suitable for dance recitals. In this charukesi varnam by Sri LGJ, the composer calls out to Lord Krishna, asking Him for moksha and alleviation of suffering and pain. This particular recording is set at D# sruthi, ie. the Sa is set at D#. So the scale of the raga is as follows
S R2 G3 M1 P D1 Ni2 S’ as D# F G G# A# B C# D#’
S’ N2 D1 P M1 G3 R2 S as D#’ C# B A# G# G F D#
Some of my favourite portions from the song
The song is beautiful with the swaras and lyrics so intertwined that just the tune alone even without the lyrics spells out the pain of the composer and his ardent appeal to Lord Krishna. From the point of view of appreciation of the raga, some particular parts of the song stand out for truly bringing out the essence of Charukesi. Although the entire song is too beautiful I am mentioning some parts which actually turn my heart out, bringing tears to my eyes.
In the finishing part of Mukthayi swaram following the first two stanzas (pallavi and anupallavi), the lyrics finish as,
….(ninaiyazhaitthen) (manam-salitthen) (oru-tunaiyilen) which roughly translates to ….I cried out to you….(…but You(the Lord) did not listen to me, so)…my spirits sagged down….with no one to care for me (1.30 to 1.42 of the recording)
the swaras formation bring out the meaning of this part soo beautifully, in particular the first two parts (1.30 to 1.34 of the recording) of him calling out to the Lord, and then his spirits sagging down is just terrific for its appropriateness.
In the latter part of the song, the Charnam and the following chittai Swarams are all stupendous. In this particular recording, Sri LGJ plays his heart out with the charnam being played in 4 different ways, each a gem, as if dedicating each to the four chittai swarams. Here I have cut out only those four varieties that he plays. (2.00 to 2.05), (2.31 to 2.37), (3.27 to 3.32), (4.48 to 4.53) in the recording.
Also the last chittai swaram totally mind blowing, both for the dancing swaras and the beautiful lyrics (The lyrics of this chittai swaram translates roughly to I see you everywhere. With flower like eyes, moving curls on your face, you wear the peacock feather, my Lord! This is the time to come, you are the symbol of true love. Your smile lights up the whole world, your music enchants everyone and everything)
KrupayA pAlaya ShourÉ by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal
I had mentioned this song in the previous post when listing some of the compositions in Charukesi. This composition is one of my favorite. This kriti is on Lord Padmanabha (A form of Vishnu). The composer while sketching a picture of the beauty of the Lord, requests for the blessing and protection and pApa vimochanA (pApa = sins; Vimochana = liberation)
The following is a rendition of the song by MS Subbulakshmi.
Cinematic and Western Flavors
I had mentioned a few cine songs in the previous post. But some of my very favorite cinema songs in Charukesi includes the song Udaya Udaya by ARR from the film Udaya. Though the song is mostly set in the Charukesi scale, the effect created due to the appearance of G2 in between gives an unique feel to the song. The video of the song is here. But I provide below the mp3 of the song as true to most tamil film songs, the dance sequence actually kills the mood of the song, and duh its ilayathalapathy Vijay!!! gawk!! 😛 ;-).
The song Annan Oru Kovil Endral…thangai oru dheepam andro.. (meaning if an elder brother is a temple….his younger sister is a lamp (there)) from the Sivaji film, Annan Oru Kovil is a very nice song. It is set in a raga which is Charukesi without the Ri (no R2), so the scale of the song is
S G3 M1 P D1 N2 S’…..S’ N2 D1 P M1 G3 S (I still have not been able to find the name of this raga, if anyone knows, do mail me please
but the R2 is just touched for a moment at the ending line of the first stanza…..adhan paer pAsam AndrO. Sung by P Suseela, its a really moving number in which lyricist Kannadasan delves on the affection of an elder brother and an younger sister.
The starting portion of Franz Schubert‘s Impromptu C Minor Allegro molto moderato has Charukesi like parts. Its a very nice piece which gives a sense of longing for more.
Also in his Caucasian Sketches for Orchestra, Russian Composer Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov has a piece, Procession of Sardar, which has a very charukesi like feel to it.
With that, we come to conclusion of a basic exposition on Charukesi. I will try to add further info down here as and when I come across or think of something that would be worth sharing on Charukesi.