Friday, September 01, 2006

Beauutiful Bahudari!!

Update: you can find my other varnam composition in Lalitha ragam here.

My affair with Bahudari started when I was in class me its one of those 'goosebumpsy' ragas!-if u know what I mean... :) I remember the day vividly-the day I was taught Brova immensely grateful I was, to my teacher, for introducing such a wonderful raga to me!I just kept singing it over and over again to myself as I walked back home-it was elevating!
Over the years,Bahudari only lured me more and more, thanks to geniuses like U.Srinivas,Ganesh & Kumaresh,Rahman and many others; and about three and a half years back, I kinda felt compelled from within to try writing something in it. Since I find it a lot of fun to play around with swaras, I thought a varnam would be the best thing to try.
So I composed something and showed it to my mom and asked her for lyrics. Being a singer herself,she was really pleased and immediately started working on it.It was a thoroughly enjoyable excercise trying to fit her lyrics with my swaras.A perfectionist that she is, she really wouldn't be satisfied easily! Finally,after about 3-4 days we thought it had shaped up fine.

So here it is:
Comments of course, are most welcome.

Ragam:Bahudari (SGMPDNS ; SNPMGS ,janyam of Harikambodhi(28) )
Swaras (tune) :Self.
Lyrics: Vijayalakshmi Bhakthavatsalam.


( Notation used: lower case-mandra sthaayi, upper case-madhyama sthaayi, upper case bold-thaara sthaayi )

Sa,S ,,NP DNPM GPMG | MaPM GSdn | dnSG MPDN ||




1.Pa,M ,,Ga ,,,, niSa | Ga,S ,,Ma | ,Ga, PaMa||
2.Ga,, ,,SG MPMG MGGn | Sa,n Ga,S | Ma,G PaDN||
4.SaGS GaGM PMGM PDNS | Ga,, ,,,, | ,,,, ,,,, ||(a)
SaGS GaGM PMGM PDNS | Ga,N Sa,P | DaNS NPMG || (c)
SaGS GaGM PMGM PDNS | Ga,N Sa,P |DaNS Ga,,||


kaNNA un thaay iruvar moovulagin thaay nee anRO
maNNai uNdu aNdam muzhuthum annaikku vAyil kAttinAy

pANdavrkku nee thuNai irunthAy pArthanukku geethai uRaitthAy
un perumayai pAda Or piraviyum pOthumO

paraman unnudan en jeevan iNayAthO

Of course, it doesn’t take much to ‘compose’ something like this, since its simply about permuting and combining swaras (aesthetically of course)from a pre-defined set. So one is confined by the bounds of the raga. Needless to say its much more challenging to compose something ‘non-hard core-carnatic’ (aka ‘light’, I don’t understand why though!) – isn’t it more exciting to play a game with lesser rules?!
Sigh,only, I wish I was talented enough for that- like some of my ‘senior’ audiobloggers here :D
(Nevertheless, amma and me worked on another such project about a year after this -will be posting it in one of my forthcoming posts)

Another dimension to Bahudari:

Here’s another song in the same raga, albeit in stark contrast -
Thee thee from Thiruda Thiruda…
However many times I listen to this song, ever since it released way back in 1993, it leaves me awestruck everytime!
A song which emphatically testifies the genius of my GOD, Rahman! (The flute piece in the 2nd interlude-woww!!)
Needless to say, its not in pure Bahudari , but I love the way Rahman has gone berserk! :D

So here's my version of it:

Not sure I’ve really captured the spark in Carolene’s voice though…
(BTW, does anyone know if this singer has sung any other song?? Beautiful voice and great modulation-very sad that she disappeared from the scene after just one song…)
BTW this is my first attempt at mixing and it was not until I did this song that I realized how big a task it is (in spite of using just primitive methods)! – realized that just singing alone is such a small part of the entire process of presenting a song!!


Pradip Somasundaran said...

Liked both songs in the first hearing!Will give detailed comments later. Am leaving for work now:-)

Murali said...

Dear Sindhu,

I am typing this as I am listneing to your classical composition. Thudaichchu vitta maadhiri paadi irukkE + romba azagaa irukku composition. evLo talents irukku unkitta ! u rock !

Pradip Somasundaran said...

The classical one was great especially being your own composition! Amazing gift you have got. And the Thee song has improved tremendously in recording quality from your other posts on soundclick. How do you record now?
Do you do Cutcheris also??

Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam said...

Thanks very much, both of you.
Just that I've started recording directly on the computer (and not transferring from casettes),lol...
And cutcheris?! No way! :P Too far fetched for me! :)

Amol V. Naik said...

I liked the first song, classical one
I never listen to classical music, but this was worth listening to………..

Murali Ramanathan said...


I am listening to you for the first time. Composing a Varnam is not simple as you mentioned. A varnam will bring out all the bhavams of a raga. So if you could compose a varnam its a great talent. Its been done done beautifully. The charanam could have been in the 2'nd kalam.(Hope you understood). Also if possible record the pallavi once more singing in both 1'st and 2'nd kalam(speed). That will clearly show all the bauties of a varnam. Once again its done very ver well.

.::sruthi.layam::. said...

Gal i'm totally speachless after listening to both the songs...complete contrast, it was like being in two different worlds while listening to both.
you are really gifted, god bless your talents.

rags said...

Wow Sindhuja,
Your varnam is awesome.
Can you sing all varnams and put it as a recording with swarams.
Your swarams are too clear and I would like to learn from your audio recordings.

Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam said...

rags, thank you :)
I'll try to record when I have free time-I'd enjoy the exercise myself.
u'd find much better resources in music stores to learn varnams from tho'... :)

Srividya said...

Superb Sinduja, this is the first time i am visiting ur blog .. dont know how i missed it earlier:)

U have sung this one amazingly well!!! I am yet to listen to the other songs..:)

NamelessNerd said...

listening to thee thee after some time.. like good wine, ARR's music and many other priceless things in life, this recording also grows and grows. got a few comments.will pass on later. and yea singing is that very imporant small part.. illena sound engineer laam enna panuma.. pasikume!

Arvind said...

Hi Sindhu,

First time on your blog. I should say, that your composition really impressed me :). The best of all, was the essence of bahudari in 6 secs - 2.50-2.56...very well done. May i refer you to listen to Madurai Mani Iyer's rendition of B.B (if you have not heard it already) - really well done !

Next onto, Thee Thee...i have a few comments :D.

1) You have tried to match Carolene, and this way you are not doing justice to your voice :)

2) Some part of the song you sound hurried/flat - primarily because it is inhuman not to be ;). Most of ARR's songs are tough to create on stage, because of the vocal processing that needs to be done. i.e. if you use stop-start technique to sing this karaoke, you'd amaze yourself as to how much more life you can add to a song !

3) Do try and get a karaoke version somewhere :) you'd be better off being yourself on the track, then singing over carolene

Great ! keep it up.

I write critical appreciation/reviews of good musical albums...and you can find Thiruda Thiruda amongst them...


Aishwarya said...

Sindhuja, such enthusiasm and vigor is hard to come across! You should be delighted for having come up with such an original composition, that too with so much energy :) Good job. Keep it coming! Bahudari is one of my faaaaavorite ragams as well. Echoing Arvind there, I highly consider MMI's BB an unblemished masterpiece! Good luck :)

Deepthi said...

listening to t varnam again after long...Brilliant, and bahudaari..sigh!Description in words can do no justice to it!
But yes-a li'l more ease with the thaara sthaayi would have been awesome.
And since i dunno abt translating t words?

Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam said...

Deepthi- Very sorry for replying sooo late!!
Here goes-
Pallavi: Oh Krishna,you have two mothers, while you are the mother of all three worlds!
Apparently having just mud in your mouth, you revealed the entire universe inside it, to your mother.

Anupallavi: You were a protection and strength to the pANdavAs, you preached the gItA to pArthA.
Would a single birth suffice to sing your praise ever?!

Charanam: Oh lord, will my life not unite with your's?

Chitra said...

Hi Sindhu,

It was great to hear your rendition of the varnam you have composed. For the last 12 years, I have only known you as an excellent singer. But you have done a neat job with composing your own song. The swarams and Vijji aunty's lyrics have all amalgamated very well into the composition. One observation though, Evertime the tarasthai portion of the song is rendered, the notes seem staccato. Overall I think it is a very melodiously delivery and the recording is clear and crisp.

Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam said...

Chitra!! What a pleasant surprise :) How did u land here :)
Thanks a lot for your comments!

Anonymous said...

sindhuja,why do you want to classify this as bahudari? Rahman is not classy enough to do a song in bahudari! He can do trendy ones that appeal to many people and that is it.
by the way, i'm sure you've heard santhanam's brovabharama. what a loss...


gaya said...

Hi sindhuja
i was looking for GNB's unnadiye in bahudhari when i stumbledupon ur blog.ur varnam is amazing.i m thinking of learning it.i m still listening to ur magical voice while typing this.btw,sindhu which voice recording software did u use to record the sound so clear.pls let me know.great job.


Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam said...

Hi gaya, thanks so much. Incidentally, I'm currently doing a series on GNB on this blog and unnadiye is in fact the next on the list!
I use Cool Edit Pro (now called Adobe Audition I think) for recording. Audacity, a freeware is also a decent one.

gaya said...

hi sindhu
thanks for your prompt reply.great to learn that ur doing a series on guru was his student for a few years and he's taught me amboruha- ranjani varnam, mohana krishna-kathanakuthookalam,ranjani niranjani,etc.they are simply wonderful.btw,i wud like to listen to more of ur voice.y dont u upload sum krithis sung by u whenever u find time,thanks again.


Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam said...

That's great to hear. You can listen to a lot of my stuff by just going to the main page, Thanks!

Anonymous said...

thee thee is sung by a chinese singer.


Anonymous said...

I stubmled upon this post. Very beautiful voice and a wonderful composition. Spread the good word and knowledge....

Anonymous said...

Divine Voice..

Paramesh said...

This is so very beautiful!

Srinivasa Rama Naidu said...

Of course, it doesn’t take much to ‘compose’ something like this, since its simply about permuting and combining swaras (aesthetically of course)from a pre-defined set.
##--> because most happens impromptu like during an aalapana, in a consistent flow with patterns prone to predictability.

Needless to say its much more challenging to compose something ‘non-hard core-carnatic’ (aka ‘light’, I don’t understand why though!) – isn’t it more exciting to play a game with lesser rules?!
##--> Because, hardcore will sound familiar and not so new.
Creating a tune which "sounds-like-a-new-tune" is the tougher job. Ilaiyaraaja had set an amazing legacy at this job - using ragas in never before way, diluting their characteristic mood/feeling and bending the raga to SOUND NEW (bending sometimes beyond recognizable extents, sometimes shaking away a raga's nature/mood) and amidst his western classical, jazz and other western instrumental templates.

Suresh Randadath said...

Hi Sindhu, Stumbled upon your blog while searching for Bahudari (as I just started learning Brova Bharama). Your composition is awesome and you have a great voice. Best of luck!

Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam said...

Thanks so much to each of you for the nice observations and comments.

Achintyan Gangadharan said...

Hi Sindhu
Very nice composition indeed. Such a lovely and melodious voice u r gifted with. The true essence of Bahudhari came out very well. One suggestion, you can have sahithyam for charanam also just like Papanasam Sivan's varnam compositions. Try giving it a thought and ur Amma and you have done a fantastic job composing the whole piece. Outstanding it was.

Achintyan Gangadharan said...

And yes one more thing... The song Aaha Kadhal from Moondru Per Moondru Kadhal is also in Bahudhari... Yuvan Shankar Raja music...

Anonymous said...

Great composition of varnam! Like many above, I landed here after searching for Bahudari and I am really glad I did. Now moving on to listen to your other compositions :)

Seshadrinathan said...

I really like your voice and the varnam was put together well. A soft mridangam would add more zip as it would help you in timing your air intake at the right juncture by blending with the resonance of the drum. A re-recording with modern mixing and mastering would take it up another level.

I do take issue with deification of A R Rahman (and light film music composers) as they, like us, stand on the shoulders of the many giants over millennia. The good ones do involve creativity, but if you notice, the best moments occur when they stay close to an established framework. Some of their pieces are overdone with too many instruments etc and the drifting between ragams with many anneeya swarams create a strange sort of cacophony. High quality singers and instrumentalists hide some of these shortcomings. There is a reason for ordered rules and as you know even Vivadi swara ragas are handled within a framework. And I do think that the challenge of staying within rules (as you have done) is significant. You (and your mother) deserve full credit.