‘Sarasijanabha’ was composed by Palghat Sri Parameshwara Bhagavatar (1815-1892), a court musician of Swathi Tirunal (1813-1846), the king of Travancore. From his teenage years, Bhagavathar had shown great promise with his sound knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of Carnatic music. With the king’s patronage, he evolved as one of the most versatile composers of Carnatic music.
The composition set to Raag Nattai in Adi talam is called a ‘varnam’ which is usually performed at the beginning of a Carnatic concert.
Unnikrishnan sets a pleasing tone with a soulful rendition of this song. As his opening piece, he strikes a fine balance between virtuosity and repose, keeping the improvisations emotionally intense and technically elegant.
Jyotsna Srikanth gives him a befitting support on the violin, enhancing the overall content with her graceful additions. Bangalore Parveen (mridangam) and RN Prakash (ghatam) strike it out with vibrance, setting a high energy at the very beginning of the concert.
Nattai is a ‘janya’ (derived) raga of the 36th Melakarta raga Chalanattai of the Carnatic system. It uses all notes in its ascent and omits Dha (6th) and Ga (3rd) in its descent. It has a close resemblance to the Hindustani raga, Jog. Nattai is considered to be an auspicious raga that makes it a common fixture for the beginning of concerts. Most compositions in Raag Nattai are about the Hindu elephant-headed deity - Lord Ganesha, who is considered as the destroyer of all obstacles and the harbinger of good luck.
It is a ‘ghana’ raga, which means that its essence is pulled out by exposition of its notes through ‘tanam’ or rapid notes.
P. Unnikrishnan (vocal)
Jyotsna Srikanth (violin)
Bangalore Praveen (mridangam)
RN Prakash (ghatam)
Priya Prakash (tanpura)
Raag: Nattai, Varnam composed by Palghat Sri Parameshwara Bhagavatar (1815-1892)