The Marwa Matrix (Part 2/2)

by Rajan P. Parrikar
First published on SAWF on February 18, 2002

Part 1 | Part 2

 

Sankeerna and jod ragas usually have a limited compass.  Their lakshanas are inferred from a heritage composition.  The asthai-antara holds the key to these ragas (hence the phrase “asthai-antare ke raga“).  A quick sampler of prachalit and aprachalita ragas of the Marwa-that is presented on this page.  It is assumed that the reader has by now developed a fair degree of familiarity with the driving lakshanas.  The pace will be brisk and the commentary minimal.

Ragas with their Marwa that affiliation explicity cited have a counterpart in the Poorvi-that (sometimes merely a shared name with no structural commonality) and are addressed elsewhere.  When a raga contains both dhaivats, one has to draw on ad hoc considerations before assigning the that.  Bhatkhande often appealed to the raga’s internal structure in these instances.

(L-R): Prabhudev Sardar & Prasad Savkar give 'daad' to Ramrang at the author's home in Goa

(L-R): Prabhudev Sardar & Prasad Sawkar
at Ramrang's session at the author's home in Goa

 

Raga Pooriya Kalyan

The main theme here is the mingling of the Kalyan-anga, typically in the uttaranga space, with elements of either Pooriya or Pooriya Dhanashree in the poorvanga.  The raga runs the full gamut of the Marwa that: S r G m P D N.

We have examined raganga Kalyan at length in another feature.  Pooriya Dhanashree is discussed in the companion feature dealing with Poorvi-that ragas.  Pooriya Kalyan is observed in several flavours, gotten by varying the proportion and balance of swaras, and through introduction of special sangatis.

Jitendra Abhisheki‘s composition in the Marathi drama, KATYAAR KALJAAT GHUSLI, is rendered by a fellow Goan, Prasad Savkar: Muralidhar Shyam.

Another Marathi song, tuned by Vasant Prabhu for Lata Mangeshkar: haravale te.

The opening moments of this vintage Bhimsen Joshi excerpt hew to the Kalyan line before elements of Pooriya Dhanashree kick in.

Amir Khan.

Special sangatis dot this version advertised as “Poorva Kalyan” by K.G. Ginde.  Take stock of m D m G and the elongation of D for an abhas of Marwa.  This is a composition of S.N. Ratanjankarhovana lagi.

Laxmanprasad Jaipurwale

Laxmanprasad Jaipurwale

Laxmanprasad Jaipurwale‘s own composition: aali mora mana har leeno.

The cheej pijja lover, Mr. Alubhai Khan of San Rafael.

An unpublished recording of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan rounds off the Pooriya Kalyan montage.

En passant, Pannalal Ghosh has composed a new melody called Raga Deepawali that is a clever play on Pooriya Kalyan. He does a graha bheda (murchana) by which the shadaj of Pooriya Kalyan is translated to pancham; this gives him an opening for a nice Lalitanga effect.

 

Raga Shree Kalyan

This raga was conceieved by Kumar Gandharva.  It is scale-congruent with Pooriya Kalyan but the Kalyan-anga here cohabits with Shree-anga (see Raga Shree: Close Encounters).  The latter is expressed through appropriate uccharana and the S-P and P-r sangatis: dekho re rut.

 

Raga Maligoura

Ali Akbar Khan‘s version of this aprachalita raga employs only one dhaivat – shuddha dhaivat – and is scale-congruent with Pooriya Kalyan.  Personality-wise, however, it is a horse of a different colour.  The Kalyan-anga is de-emphasized and subtle sangatis are inserted (G-P; the meend-laden P-m-G, N-P etc).  The G-m-G, m-P-m, P-D-P combinations employed in Pooriya Kalyan are eschewed (cf. his Pooriya Kalyan clip above).

Both dhaivats grace this version advanced by S.N. Ratanjankar.  The komal dhaivat is seen in Shree-laced phrases such as S, r N’ d P.  The shuddha dhaivat is deployed in Pooriya-like gestures.  This performance of a traditional khayal (documented by Bhatkhande) begins with a brief introduction to the raga.

Both dhaivats in attendance here as well but a different flavour: Khadim Hussain Khan.

The odd one out (Why?  Figure it out yourself): Omkarnath Thakur.

And finally, a version by Kishori Amonkar.

S.N. Ratanjankar

S.N. Ratanjankar

 

Raga Sazgiri

Although there is scant evidence to support the case, folklore accuses Amir Khusro of fathering this raga.  Perhaps the name (not the raga as we know it) does go back to Khusro’s time.  Both dhaivats and both madhyams find employment here.  The tole of  komal dhaivat is limited to Poorvi phrases such as P, m d P and r” N d P.  The shuddha madhyam is manifested in a striking movement: G M, M N (D)m G.  Observe that the tail end of the preceding phrase derives from Pooriya.

Ramashreya Jha “Ramrang”: darbara ga’oon tore Khwaja Moiuddin Auliya.

K.G. Ginde‘s voice and S.N. Ratanjankar’s composition.

The ersatz two-bit Sazgiri peddled by Vilayat Khan (of the “Mommy-mommy-I-didn’t-get-the-Bharat-Ratna” fame) does not merit space here.

 

Raga Bhankari

A creation of Ramashreya Jha “Ramrang,” this tantalizing melody blends facets of Bhatiyar, Jait, Bibhas and Deshkar while retaining an aesthetic coherence in the end product.

Ramrang navigates the tight rope with ease: sanga na keejiye manuva.

 

Raga Malavi (Marwa that)

This uttaranga-pradhana raga draws on Deshkar (eg. P D P G, G P D, P D S” etc).  The teevra madhyam is introduced via m D S”.  A sample chalan is:

P D P G, P G r S, S G P, G P D, P, PDS”, S” r” S”, S” (D)m D S”

Mallikarjun Mansur: anga sugandha.

 

Raga Poorba (Marwa that)

The version of Poorba served by Mr. Jasraj uses both the madhyams and the shuddha dhaivat. Banditji‘s sargam reveals the melodic outline.

Ramamshreya Jha "Ramrang"

Bhatkhande has described a different Poorba, also of the Marwa-that, that only takes the teevra madhyam.

 

Raga Vihang

This aprachalita item is a specialty of Atrauli-Jaipur.  The Kalyan anga is clearly expressed through tonal strips such as m D N D P.  The shuddha madhyam saunters in via G M G r G.

Mallikarjun Mansur.

Nivruttibuwa Sarnaik.

 

Raga Baradi (Marwa that)

This aprachalita raga goes by Barari, Varari and Varati and has accreted different facets (and sometimes names) in its journey across gharana boundaries.  Several melodic themes encountered earlier are easily discerned in the ragas under the Baradi umbrella.

Consider K.G. Ginde.  The pramukha swara sangatis here are:

S G P DG P; P D m G, m G r S; N r” N D N D P

The first cluster draws from Jait, the second from Bhankar, the third from Pooriya Kalyan.  The skill lies in bonding these swara molecules to synthesize a coherent swaroopa.  Ginde sings his guru’s (S.N. Ratanjankar) compositions.

Changing a syllable here and there, a swara here and there, and marketing it as a “rare raga” has been a longtime cottage industry in Hindustani music.  The underlying raga behaviour – if you have cultivated the acuity to recognize it – is of primary importance, not the label affixed.  Richard Feynman has expressed this idea succintly in another context: “…You can know the name of that bird in all the languages of the world, but when you are finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatsoever about that bird…

The version of Anandrao Limaye (Limayebuwa) goes by the name “Virat” (probably an emendation of “Varati”).  This flavour is similar in spirit to Ginde’s although there are minor points of departure.  Limayebuwa’s consummate mastery of his material makes even the most vakra raga look like putty in his hands.  Notice the sparing, subtle komal dhaivat just after 0:09.

Mr. Jasraj‘s Baradi (prefixed with “Shuddha” to qualify the dhaivat) is a different kettle of fish. The stretched nishad (durbal in the Ginde and Limayebuwa versions) lends a different flavour. Banditji‘s explicit sargam gives the game away.

Nivruttibuwa Sarnaik offers yet another version (Note: I have also seen this filed under the label Phoolshree).

Ram Chatur Mallick

Ram Chatur Mallick

 

Raga Shuddha Basant

This older variety of Basant typically favoured by the dhrupadiyas employs shuddha dhaivat and drops pancham.  Recall that the Basant in vogue is komal dhaivat-based and falls to the Poorvi that.  The shuddha madhyam is introduced through a dash of Lalitanga.  The interested reader is urged to measure this raga against Raga Pancham.

Ram Chatur Mallick.

 

Several other important ragas of the Marwa that have been dealt with in the earlier features. For Ragas Bhatiyar, Bhankar, Pancham, Lalit and Gouri, see On Raga Bhatiyar and On Raga Lalita Gouri.

 
 

Acknowledgements

My deepest thanks to Romesh Aeri for his affection and enthusiasm; the rare gems from his music collection have lighted up every feature.  Additional help came from Ashok Ambardar, Ajay Nerurkar and Guri Singh; they share my passion for music though not necessarily my views.  Discussions with V.N. Muthukumar have been useful.  Sir Vish Krishnan has enhanced these musings by enabling me to bounce things off his keen intellect and outrageous power of recall, not to mention with his assistance in selection of ‘light’ material.  Anita Thakur is the prime mover behind SAWF and the instigator of this project.

 

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