Carnatic Recommendation – 1

Starting today, there will be a new section in the blog. This shall be covered under the tag “Carnatic Recommendations”. Though I dont know anything in detail about Carnatic Music, I am interested in learning more in this area. My interest is political angle of Carantic Devotional Music. It is my firm belief that Music was a great unifying factor across India. Also, I just love many Carnatic Compositions and would like to document links that I find.

This week’s Carnatic Recommended is Oothakadu Venkata Kavi’s “Swagatam Krishna”

The composition is in praise of Sri Krishna. Following is a performance by Gayatri Girish:

Same Kriti performed by Yesudas


To know more about Oothatkadu Venkata Subba Iyer also known as Oothakadu Venkata Kavi, please read this extremely informative piece by Chitravani N Ravikiran

One of the greatest composers that India has produced, Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi (also referred to as Venkata Subbaiyer) is said to have lived sometime between 1700 and 1765 AD. He composed hundreds of brilliant songs in Sanskrit and Tamil and a few in Marathi. Around 500 have survived of which more than 60 per cent have been published.

Note that Oothatkadu wrote in Marathi. Oothakadu, who lived most of his life in Oothakadu wrote music in Marathi. Dont we see an extremely unifying factor here? Such was the brilliance and openness that used to exist across India. It is really disappointing that that unity was lost in amazingly agitations like “Lungi Bhagao” and “Dravida Kazhagam”.

Also do note that Oothakadu Venkata Kavi falls between Purandaradasa and Trinity. Ravikiran mentions about this in the his The Hindu article

Thus Venkata Kavi’s creations dispel the widespread belief that Carnatic music suffered through a dark age between the periods of Purandaradasa and the Trinity. His sophisticated compositions with dazzling fast passages and gait (gati) changes bear testimony to the evolved state of music of the period. But they also demand huge efforts from the artistes. Viewed against this backdrop, perhaps a striking contribution of the Trinity (especially Tyagaraja) was to make compositions more accessible by decreasing or eliminating such demanding sections.

You might also remember this composition which Mani Sarma literally ruined by Fusing with Western Music. Its called “Thaye Yashodha”. It is one the most popular Oothakadu Compositions. More Oothakadu compositions will be posted on this blog going ahead.

Now to the composition. Internet tells me the composition is based on Mohana Ragam. Explains the beauty.

My favorite lines from this composition:

“Mushtikasura Chunura Malla, Malla Visharada Madhusudhana”

“Shishta Janapala Sankalpa Kalpa Sathakoti Asamapa Raghava”

Enjoy this brilliant composition. Thanks to Oothakadu Venkata Subba Iyer for such a brilliant composition.

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