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 - Thodi

Thodi raga, a ubiquitous tool in every Carnatic musician's toolbox. If you attend a string of concerts in a season, it is almost always a certainty that at least one of the concerts will have Thodi as the main or sub-main piece. 

The 'fullness' of the raga lends itself to the creativity of a musician; swaras can be molded to reflect almost every emotion that a performer hopes to convey. It is definitely one of the "diggajas" of ragas. Thodi is a melakarta raga, denoted by the name Hanumathodi,  comprising of the notes Shadja, Shuddha Rishabha, Sadharana Gandhara, Shuddha Madhyama, Panchama, Shuddha Dhaivata and Kaishiki Nishadha. 

S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S

S N2 D1 P M1 G2 R1 S

The trinity of Carnatic music all have extremely powerful compositions in Thodi which are often chosen by musicians to elaborate upon. The most defining feature of Thodi for me is the space it gives for expressing different bhavas. Be it the shadja-panchama-varja prayoga of "R1G2M1D1N2" (meaning the deficit of Shadja and Panchama notes) or the gamaka in Gandhara or the myriad possibilities for graha-bheda, Thodi simply has it all! 

Starting with my favorite Thyaraga composition - "Chesina Della Marachiti", sung here by the great MLV

Another popular krithi by Shri Thyagaraj - Kaddanu Variki, rendered here by the legendary Mandolin U. Shrinivas

Raju Vedala - another Thyagaraja gem, my favorite rendition of the krithi by Shri Sikkil Gurucharan


There are many more Thyagaraja compositions in Thodi that are equally beautiful - dasu Kovalene, dasharathi neenamamu being a few of them

Including a Dikshitar composition - a devi krithi - Dakshayani, rendered beautfiully by Shri K.J.Yesudas

finally a swarajathi - raave himagiri by Shri Shyama Shastri, rendered excellently by MSS

Here is my recording for the day - an aalapana in Thodi (with graha-bheda in Mohanam)