A devotional raga in spirit, Raga Nasikabhushani is a ‘vivadi’ or a dissonant melodic scale that has been scantily used in Carnatic compositions. Against the crash of waves and the sound of the tanpura on the expansive beach of Mahabalipuram in southern India, Shashank Subramanyam portrays this raga with a short but impactful ragam and tanam.
Against a setting sun, Subramanyam begins with a patient and breathy introduction, summing up Nasikabhushani’s unusual tendencies. With an irregularly oscillating prati madhyama at the entry point, he infuses drama and premonitions for the shatsruti risabha and antara gandhara combination, the signpost that gives the Nasikabhushani its ‘dissonant’ identification.
In a sudden rush of rich symphonies between the lower and upper octaves, Subramanyam introduces the tanam seamlessly. The fluttering tonal phrases encompassing this section are carried out in breathtaking speed. Subramanyam packs the core devotional essence of the raga, highlighting its elemental forces of compassion and formidable beauty in a compact presentation. The small melodic warm-up, work-out with a calm ending sums up Nasikabhushani with its underlying eccentricities beneath a serene veneer.
Raga Nasikabhushani is the 70the melakarta ragam of the Carnatic system. In the Dikshitar school, it is also known as Raga Nasamani. The notes used in this raga are sadja, shatsruti rishabha, antara gandhara, prati madhyama, panchama, chatusruti dhaivata, and kaisiki nishada. Its arohana and avarohana are as follows:
S R₃ G₃ M₂ P D₂ N₂ Ṡ
Ṡ N₂ D₂ P M₂ G₃ R₃
Nasikabhushani evokes piety and devotion.
Shashank Subramanyam (flute)
Ragam tanam in Raga Nasikabhushani