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 - Reethigowla

Reethigowla - an uplifting and intoxicating melody. Reethigowla is a janya of 22nd Melakarta raga Kharaharapriya, comprising of Shadja, Chatishruthi Rishabha, Sadharana Gandhara, Shuddha Madhyama, Shuddha Dhaivata and Kaishiki Nishadha. 

The aarohana and avarohana are vakra in nature, meaning that the order of swaras is not in sequence, and appear as below

S G2 R2 M1 N1 D2 M1 N2 N2 S

S N2 D2 M1 G2 M1 P M1 G2 R2 S

When listening to Reetigowla, one can instantly recognize the prominence of the phrase "N2 N2 S", and its counterpart - "G2 G2 M", and this is truly a hallmark of the raga. Other phrases that play around in the vicinity of "N D M", "N D M D N- D M" are delicate, often being elaborated upon during aalpane. One of my favorite "plays" to the raga aalpane is to not touch the Panchama and keep fiddling with G, M, D and N, and then introduce the next prominent phrase of "G M P M G R S". Reethigowla can be a complex raga and at the same time induces a sweet melody and is quite popular among movie music composers as well. One song that is popping into my head right now is Kangal Irandhal (from the movie Subramaniapuram), and its Kannada version - Kalli Ivalu (from the movie Prem Adda).

The credit for popularizing Reethigowla goes to Shri Thyagaraja, with exquisite compositions like Nannu Vidachi, sung superbly by the sister duo - Ranjani-Gayatri. The words "Kodanda Rama, Pattabhi Rama, Ramayya Rama" are sure to bring devotion to any listener's heart!

Another Thyagaraja classic is a thought-provoking krithi - "Dwaitamu Sukhama Adwaitamu Sukhama", rendered here by the maestro himself - Shri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer

Shri Swathi Tirunal's composition "Paripaalayamam" brings out beautiful facets of the raga, rendered here by Trichur brothers

A personal favorite - Janani Ninnuvina composed by Shri Subbaraya Shastri completely encompasses the beauty of the raga, rendered here by Shri Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan

Listen to Shri Papanasan Sivam's composition - Tatvamariya Tarama, sung exquisitely by Shri Sanjay Subramanian 


Here is a small rendition of Reethigowla aalapane by me, enjoy reading and listening to yet another gem of a raga!