Into the Raga
Nirmala Rajasekar, Veena
Raghavendra Rao, Violin
Tanjore K. Murugaboopathi, Mridangam
V. Suresh, Ghatam
SONG RAGAM TALAM COMPOSER TIME
1. Sarasuda Varnam Saveri Aadi Kothavaasal Venkatarama Iyer 6:35
2. Jaya Jaya Nattai Khanda Chapu Purandara Dasa 7:55
3. Tharunam Idamma Gowlibanthu Aadi Shyama Sastri 3:30
4. Akilandeshwari Dwijavanthi Aadi Muthuswamy Dikshidar 9:48
5. Niravathi Sukhada Ravichandrika Aadi Thyagaraja 6:23
6. Ananda Nadamaduvar Purvi Kalyani Rupakam Neelakanta Sivan 26:34
7. Manasa Sancharare Sama Aadi Sadasiva Brahmendra 3:29
8. Thavada Soham Punnaga Varali Aadi Thyagaraja 2:45
9. Mayi Re Mei Tho Liyo Desh Misra Chapu Mirabai/Nirmala Rajasekar 4:09
10. Thillana Paras Aadi Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar 3:48
Into the Raga is an exquisite collection of ragas (melodic modes) and their many hues. The emotion of each raga on this album is seen and heard through the lovely alapanas (extempore melodic improvisations), majestic thanam (pulsating melodic improvisations), and firepowered swara prastharas (rhythmic improvisations in defined modes and rhythm meters) – all supporting the beautiful poetry of the compositions. In Into the Raga Nirmala Rajasekar, the master veena artist, is in the company of some of the most versatile performers in the world today on the violin, mridangam (South Indian drum) and ghatam (musical pot).
Beginning with a deep-toned composition, a varnam in Ragam Saveri, the gait switches to fives in the second piece, a 14th century masterpiece by the grandfather of Carnatic music, Purandara Dasa, in the Raga Nattai. Raga Gowlibanthu, known for its exotic flavor, follows next in the form of a rare Tamil composition by Shyama Sastri. The quiet ambiance of the Raga Dwijavanthi is uncovered gently with an alapana on the veena and violin to reveal the magnum opus composition by Muthuswami Dikshidar, 'Akilandeshwari'. Toe tapping rhythm lands you amidst leaps and jumps of the Raga Ravichandrika by the great composer Thyagaraja in the composition Niravathi Sukhadha.What follows next is the centerpiece of the album; Raga Purvi Kalyani is resplendent in the alapana and thanam on the veena. The composition, 'Ananda Nadamaaduvar', is about the joyous dance of Shiva. It ends with a rousing round of mathematical combinations capped by a glorious improvised duet on the two drums. Raga Sama comes next in the form of the well known composition 'Manasa Sancharare' which then leads perfectly into a pitch shift and the haunting Raga Punnagavarali. Mirabai, the woman poet from North India, speaks of the great bargain she got in her poem, 'Mayi Re Mei Tho Liyo'. This poem has been set to music by Nirmala in the Raga Desh and set to a rhythm cycle of 7 beats. Raga Paras, an ancient traditional mode, and an exciting rhythmic thillana, completes the jouney of Into the Raga.
Recorded at Resound India Studio, Chennai, India.
Sai Shravanam: sound, mixing and mastering
Design: Satheesh/Design Plus, Philip Blackburn
Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.
Philip Blackburn, director
Chris Campbell, operations manager
Also by Nirmala Rajasekar: Song of the Veena (innova 214)