Monday, January 08, 2007


I remember that day very clearly. It was a bright afternoon and the mood was certainly upbeat if not anything else. That day was a special one- it was the first time I was going to listen to Pt. Rajan and Sajan Mishra from a mere 50-100ft distance. And what a magical afternoon it turned out to be. As I entered the auditorium in IISc, the swaras were already in the air, as Panditji's were performing their riyaaz.

They sang raag Madhuwanti that afternoon, an ideal choice for that time (I guess ~4PM, and the afternoon was getting ready to merge into even more beautiful evening). If you have ever listened to Pt. Rajan-Sajan Mishra, you must be knowing how addictive their music can be. So far I had to quench my thirst with only records, and since that day, I guess I have hardly missed any chances of listening to them live.

Madhuwanti is an afternoon raag. The teevra Ma takes it into early evening (and the Ma becomes more intense as the sun sets and darkness brings serenity in the atmosphere). It is a odava-sampoorna raag; which means, there are fives swaras in aaraoha and all seven in awaroha. It goes like this: N'-S-g-M-P-N-S --> S-N-Dh-P-M-g-M-g-R-S, where the ga is komal ga, and all others swaras are shuddha. You can listen to the swaras here. This somewhat serious raag belongs to Todi thaat.

As the raag starts, you can feel the heat of the afternoon. I do not know exactly what combination of swaraas achieves that, yet it is an unmistakable feeling. As the artist gets into his rhythm of the afternoon, the heat increases. At the same time, the swaraas in awaroha bring the heat down. It is almost like sudden rain coming down on the heated earth. You know what results, right? Extremely exotic aroma! Yes. That's what this raaga achieves too. Perhaps the same applies to various types of raag Sarang too, yet I find Madhuwanti better in one way or the other as compared to Sarang's.

At the same time, it is an ideal choice for the sleepy brain cells in the afternoon. It has become my favourite afternoon raag to listen in office. Quite a few pieces can be found on the Internet: Pt. Jasraj is at his best, Pt. Manohar Chimote's harmonium is as playful as ever. Pt Shivkumar Sharma's Santoor piece can be found here. If you are wondering where you have heard this tune before, it is not very difficult to guess it, is it? Do you not remember this mesmerizing song sung by Lata? This is based on raag Madhuwanti!

Of late, I have re-gained the interest in afternoon raaga's, and no doubt Madhuwanti tops the favourite's list!

1 comment:

Sameer said...

man.. you seem to know so much about the raagas! good post :)