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 - Gowrimanohari

If one has heard any faint strains of Guruleka etuvanti anytime, that defines Gowrimanohari! For me, it conjures up images of Unchavritti and Nagara Sankeerthana that was organized at our music school (Samanvaya Kala Kendra, Bangalore). Guruleka etuvanti was one of the "staple" krithis, one that the kids knew, the adults enjoyed and everyone sang with great gusto. This is a sampoorna raga, meaning it has all the seven swaras (and is the 23rd Melakarta raga). 

S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N3 S

S N3 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S

The gamakas in this raga mainly revolve around the chatushruthi rishabha  and sadharana gandhara, especially with the gandhara giving way to beautiful oscillatory phrases. Some unique phrases are "PDNRNDP", "PDNSDP", "MPG,R" etc. Other jeeva swaras of the raga include rishabha and kakali nishadha. The raga is brisk, and is chosen more as a medium, sub-main piece compared to its more popular adjacent melakarta ragas such as Kharaharapriya or Keeravani. Being a melakarta raga, and with its jeeva swaras, it is of course a comprehensive ground for the seasoned musician to meander amongst!

A favorite rendition of Shri Thyagaraja's Guruleka Etuvanti is Smt. Jayanthi Kumaresh's beautiful rendition on the veena

Another great composition by Shri Papanasam Sivan's Gowri Manohararendered by the extremely talented Ranjani-Gayatri duo

Garuda Gamana Vasudeva, another gem by Shri Thyagaraja, played excellently here by the virtuoso Mandolin U. Shrinivas

Another song that I heard recently was Pazhamo Pazham, a lovely rendition here by Smt. Nithyashree Mahadevan