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 - Saramati

Mokshamu Galada, a krithi in Saramati that I learnt as a 5 year old, still remains fresh in my memory. Krithis in saramati are usually slow paced, and it gives the impression that the composers are really attempting to emphasize every syllable - Saramati is just the perfect vehicle to do so! A janya raga of 20th Melakarta, Natabhairavi. the main swaras in this raga are Shadja, Chatushruthi Rishabha, Sadharana Gandhara, Shuddha Madhyama, Panchama, Shuddha Dhaivata, Kaishiki Nishadha. The avarohana is devoid of Panchama and Rishabha. The gandhara is a jeeva swara, and gamakas oscillating in gandhara or nishadha(another jeeva swara), are what that add to the emphatic sense of this raga. Not to forget other swaras like the dhaivata that is also often used in gamaka-oriented phrases

S R2 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S
S N2 D1 M1 G2 S

The defining krithi in Saramati is of course, the afore-mentioned Mokshamu galada. Shri Thyagaraja questions God, about the possibility of achieving salvation, without a sense of liberation, without the knowledge of music. The feeling of bhakti and humility is inescapable for any musician singing the lines - 

sAkshAtkAra nI sad-bhakti
sangIta jnAna vihInulaku mOkshamu galada

Other krithis include Shri Mutthayya Bhagavatar's Sarasadala Nayane.