Purandara Kritis Now in Melakarta Ragas

Renowned Karnatak musician R K Padmanabha has, over the past few months, set Purandaradasa compositions to the 72 melakarta ragas.

Published: 05th September 2015 03:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2015 03:41 AM   |  A+A-

BANASHANKARI:  Rare ragas from the melakarta will be revived on Sunday through a rendition of Purandaradasa kritis.

Renowned Karnatak musician R K Padmanabha has, over the past few months, set Purandaradasa compositions to the 72 melakarta ragas, the sampurna (complete) ragas from which others originate.

This is the first time such an attempt has been made.

“Now, only about 20 of these melakartas are in vogue,” he told City Express. “Purandaradasa’s compositions are universal, so the other 50 or so mela ragas can be learnt easily through them.”

A set of two CDs of these kritis sung by Padmanabha, titled Purandara Mela Mala, will be launched at the event. The package also contains a book of notations.

Also to be released is Padmanabha’s book Purandaradasaru Sangeeta Pitamahare? Re. (Is Purandaradasa the Father of Music? Of Course).

“It was he who introduced Mayamalavagowla, the raga learnt by all beginners, and created a methodology and syllabus for Karnatak music,” Padmanabha says.

A story goes that the saint was born Timmappa Nayaka to a trader family in the Vijayanagar empire.

It is said he was a contemporary of the great king Krishnadevaraya.

Once, to test him, God approaches his wife in the guise of a needy, old man. She gives away her nose stud to him. He takes it to her miserly husband, who loans him money, but goes back home only to find his wife not wearing her nose stud. He asks to see it.

She makes an excuse to go inside, saying that she will bring it, and, in distress is about to drink poison, when the stud appears in the bowl. Hearing of this miracle, Timmappa Nayaka renounces his worldly ways.

“Complete transformation from one moment to the next seems a little unlikely,” the musician says. “So, according to me, his fault was greed, not ignorance. It is possible that he was a scholar and musician right from the beginning.”

He is also conducting a workshop to teach the compositions, in simple, elegant Kannada, to anyone who is interested. “It will begin tomorrow at the venue,” Padmanabha says.

Next week onwards, the workshop continues every Satruday at Rama Mandira in NR Colony between 4 and 6 pm.

Box Concert tomorrow

R K Padmanabha sings Purandaradasa kritis in melakarta ragas at 10.30 am, Sunday, at Our School, Banashankari II Stage. For details, call 99001 53795 or 94485 74894.

Box What is a melakarta?

In musicology, melakarta refers to the 72 basic ragas (scales)---also called sampurna (complete) and parent (janaka) ragas---from which others originate. The classification now in use was created by Venkatamakhin, the 17th century musicologist.

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