Here is the ninth one in the series (click here for the eighth one).

This is a rare, charming and beautiful raga. It is very rare to run into any elaboration although it supposedly had a more exalted status in the past. There are couple of reasonably popular short krithis but one composer has a large composition in it, and another one had a big varnam in it. It also has a fairly characteristic stamp and so may be easily identifiable in spite of its rarity.

I had to dig around, and ask a few well placed friends to get this one 🙂 ! Although the audio quality is poor, I think it is still a very rare and special treat.

The artist should be easily identifiable and she is probably one of the few who can pull it off. I have also heard her do an alapana in this raga in a concert that I attended a few years ago.

(Answer below)

Artist: S. Sowmya
Raga: balahamsa, a janya of harikAmbhOji. The alapana is a prelude for the Gopalakrishna Bharathi composition vandAlum varaTTum. Its nominal arohana/avarohana is S R2 M1 P D2 S / S N2 D2 P M1 R1 M1 G3 S.  The “r m g s” is the characteristic phrase of this raga, and you can see it used a lot in that alapana. I wonder if nowadays, because of other very popular harikambhoji janyas it is possible that an artist must keep showing this phrase to reinforce this raga? Anyway, UttukkADu vEnkaTasubbaiyyar has one of his saptaratnasnavAvaranas nIla lOhita ramaNi in this raga and in the lengthy khanDa dhruva tala! Subbarama Dikshitar is the composer who has composed a varnam in this raga – that too in aTa tala. Both seem to indicate that this raga is more than the “charming, little” raga that one may tend to think of it as nowadays.

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