Shyama Sastri: A breakdown of compositions by raga

Plus five songs for your listening pleasure

This is the second in a series in which I present the results of basic frequency analyses of the use of ragas by the composer trinity (Muthuswami Dikshitar, Shyama Shastri and Thyagaraja).

As with the previous post on Dikshitar, the basis for this analysis is a list compiled by Todd McComb. It is worth noting that this list has several compositions marked as ‘doubtful’ in authorship, based on the doctoral research of Y. Saradhambal. I have included these ‘doubtful’ compositions in the analysis. It is also worth explicitly noting that we are by definition limited to the analysis of the known compositions of Shyama Sastri. His repertoire may have included several more compositions, now lost.

I will leave you with five compositions. First, two compositions in Shyama Sastri’s favourite raga — Kalyani — that are not often performed. Shankari Shankari and Shri Kamakshi Kavave, sung by Pantula Rama (note the swara-sahitya in the latter song, and its unusually packed laya structure):

(2) Pantulu Rama — shankari shankari karuNAkari rAjarAjEshvari — Kalyani — Ata — syAmA sAstri — YouTube

(2) Pantula Rama — shrI kAmAkshI kAvavE — kalyANi — syAmA sAstri — YouTube

Second, Devi Nee Pada Sarasamule in Kambhoji, sung by Neela Ramgopal. I had not realized until I did this little analysis that Shyama Sastri had composed in this raga. This composition seems to have been performed most by TN Seshagopalan and E. Gayathri (going by internet search results)

Neela Ramgopal — dEvi nI pada sarasamulE — kAmbOji — syAmA sAstri — YouTube

And third, Ninnuvina Marigalada. This song is typically performed in the raga Ritigaula. However, Todd McComb lists it as a composition in Abheri, based on his consultation of Y. Saradhambal’s doctoral research. Here is Neela Ramgopal again with the Abheri version:

(2) Neela Ramgopal — ninnu vinA mari galadA — AbhEri — syAmA sAstri — YouTube

Finally, I came across this lovely voice-only rendition of the haunting and hopeful Parvati Ninnu Ne in the raga Kalgada, by S. Sowmya and Sriranjani Santhanagopalan.

“PARVATHI NINNU NE” — KALGADA+ FULL INTERVIEW Ft Dr S Sowmya and Sriranjani Santhanagopalan — YouTube

Before you go, a request. Next up is Thyagaraja. While I have come across several lists of his compositions in alphabetical order, I have not yet found one organized by raga. If you come across such a list, please let me know!

Do also check out my post on Subbaraya Sastri, a great composer in his own right, and disciple and son of Shyama Sastri.

Thank you.

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