Muthuswami Dikshitar — six songs in rarely heard ragas

A reading of T.L. Venkatarama Aiyar’s biography of Muthuswami Dikshitar [Part III]

In the first two parts of this series, I covered my discovery of Dikshitar’s Vibhakti kritis and rarely heard songs in popular ragas. This is a quick post to share a further six songs that I came across when reading Aiyar’s narrative of Dikshitar’s life. These are songs in ragas that I have rarely, if ever, come across before. These do not include songs composed by Dikshitar in the 72 melakartha ragas of Venkatamakhi. Here they are.

Three of these ragas — Malava Panchamam, Mangala Kaishiki and Megharanjani are in the Mayamalavagowla melakartha. Karnataka Shuddha Saveri shares notes with the Kanakambari / Kanakangi melakartha raga, Mahuri with Kedaragowla / Harikambhoji and Shuddha Vasantha has notes from Shankarabharanam.

Here are links to the songs:

Malava Panchamam

Vasudevam Upasmahe (raga Malava Panchamam), rendered by R.S. Jayalakshmi (veena),T.M. Krishna (vocal), accompanied by Arunprakash (mridangam) and R.K. Shriramkumar (violin)

Karnataka Shuddha Saveri

This raga is listed simply as Shuddha Saveri in some websites. This Shuddha Saveri is of course different from the other popular ‘Shuddha Saveri’ (of Darini Telusukonti fame). That Shuddha Saveri is known as Devakriya (of Shri Guruguha Tarayashu Mam fame) the Dikshitar parampara.

Here is a leisurely rendition of Ekamresha Nayike, by Nityashree Mahadevan, followed by an extensive kalpanaswara passage:

Ekamresha Nayike (raga Karnataka Shuddha Saveri), sung by Nithyasee Mahadevan

And a brisker one by her granduncle D.K. Jayaraman, also with kalpanaswara:

And a superfast version (not quite my cup of tea, but worth listening to) by the inimitable Tanjore S. Kalyanaraman. [Song #2 on the list, one-click login required].

Click on this link for a rendition by Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam, also with a kalpanaswara passage. [Song #2 on the list, one-click login required].

And finally, click on this one for a rendition by S.Ramanathan. He begins with a substantial alapana which gives a good sense of the raga. [Song #3 on the list, one-click login required].

Mahuri

Three renditions of Mamava Raghuvira, by Pantula Rama, Cherthala Ranganatha Sharma and Sumithra Vasudev.

Mamava Raghuvira (raga Mahuri), sung by Pantula Rama
Mamava Raghuvira (raga Mahuri), sung by Cherthala Ranganatha Sharma
Mamava Raghuvira (raga Mahuri), sung by Sumithra Vasudev

Mangala Kaishiki

First, a veena-vocal rendition by R.S. Jayalakshmi and T.M. Krishna.

Sri Bhargavi (raga Mangala Kaishiki), rendered by R.S. Jayalakshmi (veena),T.M. Krishna (vocal), accompanied by Arunprakash (mridangam) and R.K. Shriramkumar (violin)

Next three two vocal renditions — by S. Rajam (solo voice) and Pantula Rama.

Sri Bhargavi (raga Mangala Kaishiki), sung by S. Rajam (unaccompanied)
Sri Bhargavi (raga Mangala Kaishiki), sung by R.S. Jayalakshmi (veena), accompanied by V.V. Ramanamurthy (mridangam), M. Narmadha (violin) and Mandapaka Ravi (kanjira). Song begins at 2:50

Finally, a link to a violin rendition by the father-daughter duo of M.S. Gopalakrishnan and M. Narmadha. Unfortunately, the audio is a little bit muffled. [Song #2 on the list, one-click login required].

Shuddha Vasantha

Two renditions of Somasundareshwaram — one by D.K. Pattammal, and one by her disciple, Vijay Siva.

Somasundareshwaram (raga Shuddha Vasantha), sung by D.K. Pattammal
Somasundareshwaram (raga Shuddha Vasantha), sung by Vijay Siva

Megharanjani

Here is an unaccompanied vocal rendition of Venkateshwara Yadava Bhupathim. The uploader says that the singer in Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, but the same rendition uploaded on Sangeethapriya attributes it to S. Rajam. Going by the voice, I am inclined to believe this has been sung by S. Rajam.

Venkateshwara (raga Megharanjani), sung by S. Rajam (?)

Thanks for listening!

Previous posts in this series:

I write mainly about my experience as a listener of Carnatic music.

I write mainly about my experience as a listener of Carnatic music.