Exposition of rakti ragas
VIDWAN V. SUBRAHMANIAM, a senior disciple of Sangita Kalanidhi Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, has meticulously trodden the steps of his illustrious guru through the years never allowing the slightest deviation in his art to interfere with the richness of the Semmangudi tradition, and has been recognised as the trusted lieutenant of his mentor.
The concept of raga is indeed unique to the Indian musical disciplines, whether Hindustani or Carnatic. It is an undisputed fact that merely a string of dry swaras, however technically perfect and intellectually conceived, but bereft of aesthetic appeal cannot qualify to be termed as a raga. Ragas adorned with aesthetic contours and emotional appeal provide mental peace and aural satisfaction. Such ragas have been conceived by legendary composers and handed over to posterity as an unparalleled legacy, through their divine compositions. The basic swara structure of the raga, just the ascending and descending scales is only the bare framework that has to be sensitively ornamented by the various gamakas (oscillations) and anuswaras (half notes). Many a time the value of the anuswara is swept under the carpet. One can say without risk of contradiction that among all others, it is the Semmangudi School that emphasises and gives the anuswara its due importance.
Subrahmaniam's work ``Sangita Sagara" is truly monumental. He has covered 30 rakti ragas in his CDs, including Surati, Devagandhari, Begada, Ananda Bhairavi, Nayaki, Kedaragowlai, Dvijavanti, Saranga, Narayanagowlai, Mohanam, Balahamsa, Kannada and Varali among others.
The structure of the raga, the Janaka-Janya relationship, the gamaka nuances pertaining to each raga, nyasa swaras, special prayogas that transcend the limited terrains of the arohana avarohana format, allied ragas and important compositions in the raga have all been explicitly explained. The well-defined raga alapanas highlighting the essential moorchanas, crisp, precise Tanam, the Kriti rendition and the fluent, sarva lagu swara prastharas without mind boggling calculations are all refreshing.
It is to the vidwan's credit that his oral articulation with only the drone of the tambura to keep him company, has totally succeeded in capturing rasika attention. Song recordings of veterans Semmangudi, K. V. Narayanaswami and D. K. Jayaraman give an added thrust to listening interest.
Subrahmaniam has acknowledged the invaluable guidance of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer for this project and for similar projects on the anvil. This fulfilling effort by Subrahmaniam is an immense labour of love that would surely benefit students of today and tomorrow.
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