Raksha Rao

Musician / Vocalist

Raksha Rao is a Carnatic vocalist who has been learning and performing Carnatic Classical vocal music for the past 15 years. She has given many concerts to large audiences both in India and in the US under the able guidance of her guru Shri Tirumale Srinivas (Chami sir). Raksha has released 4 albums and has lent her voice to several devotional music albums such as "Chants for Children" , "Ide Sumano Vanim", "Anarghya" and many more. Though trained in Carnatic Classical music, she is a keen proponent and ardent lover of Kannada devaranama (or devotional music), and has sung various rare devaranamas, exquisitely set to beautiful ragas by her guru Shri Tirumale Srinivas. She has performed with renowned artists, including the exemplary UK-based violinist Jyotsna Srikanth in the hit TV series "Just Sangeetha". Check out more for clips from her performances. Under the able guidance of her guru, she is now leading a music school Mahati Nada Kendra, with an aim to train and spread Kannada dasa sahitya in Southern California and beyond.

#30DayMarghazhiRagaChallenge - Bahudari

My first pick for the 30-day challenge is Bahudari. Bahudari - literally means "different ways" and truly strikes a unique and different chord. A janya raga of Harikamboji, it is comprised of the notes Shadja, Antara Gandhara, Shuddha Madhyama, Panchama, Chatushruthi Dhaivata and Kaishiki Nishada. The avarohana does not contain the Dhaivata making this a "Shadava-Audava" raga - 6 notes in the aarohana and 5 in the avarohana. The conspicuous absence of Rishabha brings out a calming melody with phrases like "D-NPMG", "PD-NPMG", "PDNS SNPM" oft being repeated in krithis and alapane alike.

While picking this raga, I realized the intrinsic charm (and a personal soft spot) of ragas where this particular phrase - "NPMG", especially "N2 P M1 G3" is repeated often (cases in point - Vagadheeshwari, Gambheera Nattai, Jog and the likes). The combination brings forth a beautiful melody and is a treat for singers. 

Compositions in Bahudari are somewhat limited, the most famous being "Brova Bharama" composed by Shri Thyagaraja. Watch an illuminating rendition of the krithi by Shri Maharajapuram Santhanam below:


Another gem in this raga has to be the Tamil composition of Shri G.N.Balasubramanian, rendered by Shri Trichur V. Ramachandran

Listen to another composition by Shri Achutadasar - "Sadananda Thandavam", rendered to perfection by Kum. Amrutha Venkatesh

And, this list is not complete without a personal favorite - "Bhaja Manasa Vighneshwara", composed by Thulaseevanam and beautifully sung by Smt. Bombay Jayashree

Other compositions in Bahudari include "Sinam Adaiyadhe" and "Mara koti Sundara".

In all, Bahudari is nothing short of a delectable treat for listeners and performers, its notes convey joyousness along with hints of calmness - an unbeatable blend indeed!

To conclude, here is a small rendition of Bahudari by me. I have recorded a small alapana followed by a Kannada devaranama - "Irabeku Haridasa Sanga", written by Shri Purandara Dasaru and exquisitely composed by my guru Shri Tirumale Shrinivas. Enjoy the melody of Bahudari!