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Raga Nalinakanthi Part 2

22 Comments 17 March 2012

Raga Nalinakanthi Part 2

 

In the last post, the first part on the raga nalinakAnthI, we had seen about the scale and basic handling of the raga, how it is close and different to a sister raga kedAram and how it is a beaauoootiful raga. Now as in this post, we will see about some of the compositions made in this raga, how its similar and not so to the hindustani raag Thilak khamod.

Thilak Khamod and Nalinakanthi

First we will see about these two ragas. Here are two versions of Thilak Khamod.

The first is by Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe.

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This one is on the Sarod by Sri. Wajahad Khan.

 
One can note the following about Tilak Khamod. It is a beautiful raga. It is also a (kind of) happy raga (to me though it creates a sense of longing too). In portions, it sounds similar to nalinakAthi. For comparison, listen to the naLinakAnthI played by MSG little down the (article look for **)

So if you had a keen ear, you would have noticed that there are portions of thilak khamod that are not at all like nalinakAnthI. Of course, I do understand that equivalent does not mean equal. But in my humble opinion, thilak khamod sounds more like the raga Desh.

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The presence of the swara ‘da’ D2 in large dosage along with the appearance of N2 in thilak khamod makes me think so.

Compositions in NalinakanthI

Now we will see nalinakAnthi from the point of view of the compositions based on it.

Manavinaalakimchara – NalinakAnthI – Adi tala(8 beat cycle) – Sri Thyagaraja Swamy

The first composition that we see is none other than Sri Thyagaraja Swamy’s manavinaalakimchara. Easily one of the most popular kriti of the saint composer, he appeals to his mind to understand Lord Rama[1].

This is Smt. MS Subbulakshmi rendering the song.

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This is Sri. MSG rendering on the violin in typical MSG ‘ishtyle’ 😛 (**)

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Ok, its been given that ‘Manavyalakinca’ is wrong and Manavinaalakinca is correct. So point noted, excuse my lack of telugu knowledge among other things. 😮

Well, in that song, Thyagaraja swamy addresses his mind as a manifestation that is separate from himself asking it to understand him who knows the secrets of Lord Rama. He further goes to say how a human being must lead life like the Lord Rama did in his human form.

The choice of naLinakAnthI for this song seems to be in line with my idea that this raga indeed has an inherent feel of longing (raga nalinakAnthI) :-).

By Rajmohan Sir’s suggestion (Twitter: @yrskmohan) Chembai’s Masterpiece version and Mandolin Srinivas’ version(mp3).

The next song is my favorite varnam of Sri LGJ.

NeEvé gatIyanI – naLinakAnthI – Adi – Varnam – Sri Lalgudi G Jayaraman

Here is the master’s own rendition of the varnam.

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Its such a beautiful and happy ‘varnam’. Some of the most beautiful portions of this recording (that I love) are described below.

>> The swarams starting 1.08 onwards is total bliss. When singing this, Smt Visakha Hari, during LGJ’s 80th birthday celebrations, gave a super analogy which I am giving here. Listen from 1.15 to 1.26. It sounds like how a host in a marriage (in India) invites the guests who arrive. First he sees a close friend coming into the hall. He goes to him and says warmly ‘welcome’ which is like the first part of the swaras;

S G3 R2 M1 G3 R2 S N.3 P. N.3 S G3 ;

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Then other close friends come, and he runs to them and welcomes

R2 M1 P S’ N3 P M1 G3 R2 S G3 R2 M1 ;

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Soon all the guest pour in and it goes..

N3 P P M1 M1 G3 G3 R2 S G3 R2 M1 P ;

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so the host runs pillar to post trying to welcome everyone…

M1 G3 R2 M1 …  N3 P M1 P … S N3 P N3 R2 …. S N3 P1 M1 G3 R2 S N.3

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That was excellent, wasn’t it? 😀 The complete swara (above 4 combined) is played below.

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>> The beautiful styles with which LGJ plays the charanam (2.15 – 2.45 and then on); ‘mArakOtI rUpa Sundara’ with the mA of mArakOtI and pa of rUpa being swara-poruthham (refer to Ranjani article , Sada saranga nayane of MSS).

>> The swaram starting from (3.34 – 3.46) is played without the Sa throughout and still it sounds so balanced and fantabulous!! The swarams are as follows.. (Sa = S, R = R2, G = G3, M = M1, Pa = P, N = N3)

N P N – M P N

-M N P N -R M P N -R N P M P

-R P -M N -P R’ -N G’ R’

-M’ G’ R’ N P M G R

-G’ R’ N P M G R

-R’ N P M G R

-N. P. M G R -N P M’ G’ R’ -N P M G R

I have given it the way the swaras are played. The entire swara is like a cascade of waterfall. The intricate rhythm patterns are made to sound easy by the adroit choice of swaras. When I had the chance to play this to LGJ, he was happy and actually said his favorite part of this varnam was this swara!!! 🙂 My fav part of this swara is the ending on how cleverly he uses the octaves to play the same N P M G R. Simbbllyy Sooper!!

Some other beautiful classical compositions include the NeE pAdamE gatI by GNB (here is a recording of Mandolin Srinivas), Nata jana pAlinI by Tanjore Sankara Iyer (here is a recording of Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan)

 Cinematic compositions in Nalinakanthi

When one has to talk about naLinakAnthI in cine music, the first song Must be endan nenjil neengAdha from the movie Kalaingan composed by the maestro Ilayaraja. The song was sung by Sri Yesudas and Smt S Janaki. It is a super-hit song 🙂

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The song is a beautiful nalinakAnthI and this was (to my knowledge) the only nice song from that film. The other songs were only so-so :-o.

Deva’s manam virumbuthe seems also to be nalinakanthi and its also quite a popular number.

It is a totally different matter that Deva has based the song very similar to the Thyagaraja Swamy’s manavinaalakinchara and ripped off the interludes and most of the accompanying parts from Sri L Subramaniam’s album Motherland and just changed the swaras little here and there (to change the raga from a jOg to naLinakAnthI), added a sarangi here and there. But still its a very enjoyable number :-).

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One would have heard the above Motherland piece in the old Doordarshan Surabhi, for which the piece was used.

Other instances of nalinakanthi feature in ARR’s song Kandukonden kandukonden from the movie of the same name though its not nalinakanthi all throughout.

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The song noothana nee noothana(karka kasadara) and the interlude parts of Ingivalai(Ninaithu Ninaithu Parthen) are also based on naLinakAnthI.

Do drop me a message if you come across other songs based on this raga so that I can include it here. 😀

Footnote

1.  For Laughs : Nalinakanthi Kuthu song by Thenga pals

2. A sequel to my Beauty of Nalinakanthi here in soundcloud

 

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Your Comments

22 Comments so far

  1. Hey, nice blog, enjoyed reading about Nalinakanthi raga. I’d like to share with you my video Manavyalakim – A contemporary version on the violin. This is a piece from my band Karthick Iyer Live. If you like it please do share on your blog. It’s a new venture and I’m trying to get word about our stuff across! 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGB354Jp_wY

    Cheers

  2. gowthami says:

    loved it 🙂
    totally awesome ..ur blog
    i’ve just started learning carnatic music ,ur blog is really very helpful thank u so much 🙂

  3. Deepak Subramony says:

    Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan will agree with you that Tilak Kamod is extremely similar to Desh. He said as much in one of his lecture recitals, where he differentiated between the two ragas.

  4. I am very happy to go through this web. so that I learnt somany things about nalinakanti. I am expecting more ragas in this pattern. thankyou very much.

  5. Gurunathan says:

    Great detail about nalinakanthi ragam. I have always loved the ragam. I play violin and listening to Shri Lalgudi Jayaraman play varnam, I am motivated to learn that varnam. Thank you very much for the explanation

  6. Usha says:

    Very interesting blog. I play the carnatic flute. Keep going with other ragas…….

  7. Anu says:

    Is it just me imagining, or did Sri MSG mix a lot of songs in his ‘Manavi aalakincharaadate’ version (that you published above)? Is that what you called his ‘ishtyle’? 😀
    This very song brought me to your blog. Appreciate your time and effort in doing this. Thank you.

  8. Tanis Thomas says:

    beautifully written. Would like to read more

  9. Harikrishnan says:

    I am not sure if my comment is terribly outdated, but nevertheless:

    The answer to Anu’s post is that no, you did not imagine, although “many” is incorrect. MSG beautifully transcends from traditional carnatic Nalinakanti to its equivalent Tilak Kamod in Hindustani. Being the ultimate master of both systems, only he could intertwine the two ragas this way. In this context, the usage of “ishtyle” by IMF hurts, as it has a certain sarcastic intonation. While there is absolutely no doubt that Lalgudi’s varnam captures the essence of nalinakanti to the fullest, and Tyagarajaswamy’s “manavyala” is the foremost composition in this raga, MSG’s improvisation (especially the western flashes in the pallavi) are a watershed in this raga. Nalinakanti has never been bettered by any other instrumentalist or vocalist!

    Having said that, I would request serious fans to listen to GNB’s composition “Nee padame gadi” (mentioned in the previous post)in which he proves – if proof were ever needed – why he was also a genius at composing. Note the swara aksharas galore in this beautiful piece! Here is a lovely link: http://octaves.blogspot.com/2010/09/celebrating-gnb-3-nee-padame-gathi-in.html

    Another superlative composition is “aparna parvati” by Smt Kalyani Varadarajan. Prof TR Subramanyam does full justice to this lovely composition. A little searching in rasikapriya.org should help one hear this excellent rendition. If not, I’d be happy to share from my collection.

    • Hi Hari,

      Thanks for writing in. I never meant to say that sarcastically. Neither my age nor my understanding of music can permit me to critique Shri MSG. He was also a genius much like Shri LGJ or GNB and there is no question of that. When I said what I said in the write up, trust me, there was no negative connotation meant to be inferred by the reader. I let it as an open ended statement as every person experiences differently the music and so I let it be at that. 🙂

      Cheerio

  10. Sindhuja says:

    Hey! Beautiful blog, I enjoyed the comparison between Kedaram and Nalinakanthi. It is beautiful how Kedaram absorbed the wavering gamaka in M from Sankarabharanam while Nalinakanthi decided to take flat notes! And great work woth the classical flute 🙂

    Regards,
    Sindhuja

  11. Lekha says:

    Nalinakanti is my fav ragam!! I had heard MSG’s rendition of manaviyala which mesmerised me completely! I pleaded my teacher to teach me the song!! It still remains one of my fav song! Enjoyed reading ur article, esp the explanation about L jayaram’s varnam! I had heard the varnam many times before, but ur comments gave a new angle to it!

  12. Two other songs which I know (actually heard) are :

    1. Kaathil thenmazhayay – Saleel Choudary – Thumbooli Kadapuram

    2. Ennum ninne poojikkam – Ouseppachan – Aniyathipravu

    3. Ghana shyama sandhya hridhayam – M G Radhakrishnan – Lalithaganam (Akashavani)

    These are malayalam songs. For more info, you can visit my blog post http://www.rktinaction.com/music/nalinamayam-nalinakanthi

    I also want to mention that, this one is the best article I have read about Nalinkanthi raga. Best wishes for your future endeavors and looking forward for such great posts again.

  13. Krishna says:

    Hi…the blog is amazing and quite well researched.
    Just wanted to clarify that the Nalinakanthi keerthana by Shri Thyagaraja-manavinaalakinchara does not implore the mind-as mentioned.
    In fact it is imploring Rama to to accept his (Thyagaraja’s) petition(Manavi is petition). Aalakinchara…please accept or acknowledge.
    And it is aalakinchara.
    Regards
    krishna

  14. Anirudh says:

    Hey thanks for this beautiful insight into the raga. I am learning guitar and planning on transitioning into Carnatic with my acoustic guitar. Nalinakanthi is my favourite raga and it is a very simple scale. I just needed the explanation to enjoy and understand it even better.
    Thank you again!

  15. Sameer says:

    Oh ! I never knew that you were writing a blog .. missed a lot ..this gives in depth knowledge . Thank you for such a beautiful explanation .

    • Hey Sameer,

      I used to regularly write here long back but then music making took higher priority and so haven’t written much for a very long time. But glad that whatever little I had written, many find it useful/interesting and thank you for your kind words.

      Cheers!
      vijay

      • Sameer says:

        Firstly I would thank you for the reply , Pls do make some videos at your convenience educating a layman to appreciate Indian music.
        Recently I have shared VS Narasimham Ji’s Mokshamu galada along with your version with some, they felt wistful.

        Keep doing the great work. 🙂 😀


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