Continuing from the previous post, in this one, we will see about ranjani from some compositions point of view. I had mentioned towards the end of the last post that there were not many compositions that I knew about, but after some digging around I have got some compositions, recordings which I would share here and we will see if ranjani is indeed the ‘one who gives happiness’ .
Ranjani and The Trinity
The Trinity of carnatic music have as I have mentioned in previous post(s) are responsible for the major portion of the songs popular today. That said, it is amazing though that only Sri Thyagaraja Swamy has composed one song in ranjani. The song is called DhurmArga charA and set to the 3/8 rupaka tala(carnatic music) rhythm scale. In this kriti, Sri Thyagaraja swamy puts down the yes-men who put their knowledge on scale for money and wealth. He criticizes them and calls to Lord Rama as the embodiment of virtues and says he can only worship Him and not the kings and wealthy men. Well, for such a mood, I suppose ranjani fits the bill perfectly. With its ability to express anger and bhakti, the two important feelings that Thyagaraja Swamy feels in this song, ranjani makes us, the listener feel the emotions that the composer felt while he created the song. The following audio clip(s) has dhurmArgachara sung by Madurai Mani Iyer who was famous for popularizing many ragas, one among them being ranjani.
and this by Sri Nednuri Krishnamurthy with mridangam accompaniment by Sri Tanjavur Upendran and violin by Sri Kandadevi Alagiriswamy.
This is an instrumental version of the same song played by two of my favorite artistes, Mandolin U Srinivas and Dr N Ramani on flute. I think they played only once together, in the United States long time back. Ramani Sir first gives a sketch of the raga in 5 min raga alapana followed by the song neraval and kalpanaswaras (I will explain about these terms in the Glossary page soon). A must-listen, this one!!
The way Ramani Sir uses the N2 of the raga is sheer bliss, even at the start of the raga alapana(00:17-00:20), this phrase keeps making an appearance and actually makes one want to delve deeper into oneself and creates a meditative mood.
Other famous compositions in ranjani includes a popular varnam ambOruha pAdamE by Sri G N Balasubramanim. Here we have his disciple, Tanjore S Kalyanaraman Sir singing it.
The following is a very nice clip in which Sangita Kalanidhi R K Srikantan Sir first explains about the raga ranjani and then sings a varnam, Nive Nannu which actually sounds similar to the previous varnam. As he talks in kannadA I was not able to understand fully but whatever I understood was nice
One other composition of Sri G N Balasubramaniam is the famous ranjani Niranjani (played here by the Mysore brothers, Nagaraj and Manjunath on the violin). The next audio clip is that of MS Subbulakshmi singing the kriti sadA sArnaga nayanE by H Yoganarasimhan. The lyrics are in sanskrit.
The beauty of the song lies in the opening itself with the way the swaras and lyrics are combined.
lyric: (stanza: Pallavi) sadA sAranga nayanE shrI sadAsHivadayItE mAmava
TimeStamp:(03:44-03:46) and (03:57-03:59)
The words sadA are sung with the sa in tune to the swara Sa and dA tuned to the swara Da (D2). It is simple to create lyrics that have an inherent swara-sounding pronunciation but the difficulty lies in the fact that,
1. The lyric must make sense.
2. The tune should sound nice.
3. The tune should adhere to the way the raga must be handled.
All these are easily satisfied by the above and hence I wanted to share it here.
The following video-mp3 is the tune that made me start liking ranjani. I heard this when I was a child. The album is sruthilayA by Sri Karaikudi R Mani. This ensemble was done in 1986-87 and was a rhythm oriented one, the first of its kind. The flute was played by Ramani Sir. G Harishankar, TV Vasan and Srirangam Kannan formed the remaining main percussion accompaniments. The beautiful tune and the inherent rhythm contours actually create magic and no wonder sruthilaya was a huge success then.
The youtube link is : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-zKxkZgurc.
This is only a clip of the entire piece which is actually a ragamalika(a garland of ragas, literal meaning) interspersed with tani-avartanam(percussive solos).
In cine music, I have not been able to find many compositions set in this except for this malayalam song,
But there are many songs in the parent raga of ranjani, dharmavathi. Maybe because of its inherent classical nature (?) composers seem to have avoided (:-p ??) ranjani??
Anyway, if any of you get some song set in this raga, please do tell me.
With that, we have seen a bit about Ranjani. Until the next raga, ciao!!!