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Introduction and Historical background (Dr. V V Srivatsa): Yadukulakambhoji, as known nowadays, is not a raga of ancient vintage. It is also not one of recent origin. This raga is not referred to in ancient texts like Sangeeta Makaranda, Sangeeta Samaya Sara and Sangeeta Ratnakara. Medieval musicologists like Ramamatya and Somanatha have not dwelled on this raga. The absence of reference in ancient texts cannot lead to the inference that this raga is of recent origin, as the equivalent of this raga in the Pann system called "Sevvazhi", has been in vogue for quite sometime. Hence, it would be correct to surmise that the raga is of ancient origin and that only the name is recent.

Some scholars opine that Kambhoji was rendered with some variance by the "Erugala" tribe, from which the name "Erugala-Kambhoji" emerged. Subbarama Dikshitar has only used this name. Some may have found the tribal prefix unsuitable and have ventured to Sanskritise or classicise the name, which manifested as Yadukula-Kambhoji.

Govindacharya, has used the name "Yadukulakambhoji" in the Sangeeta Saramrita, which shows that the current name was established in the pre-Trinity era. Thus, we can assume that the raga originated in 16th - 17th century AD and was widely accepted in the latter half of the 17th century AD.

Audava-Sampoorna in structure, the usage of Gandhara and Nishada swaras is eschewed in the Arohana of this raga. The absence of Gandhara in the Arohana, is by itself, a salient difference from raga Kambhoji. Yadukulakambhoji is a Dhaivata swara oriented raga. It is well-suited for compositions like Darus, Padams and Javalis, according to Tulajaji. The aesthetic lilt found in this raga is audio-appealing in nature. Yadukulakambhoji has finite melodic individuality.

Melodic Individuality (Prof. S R Janakiraman): Emphasizing the distinction from Kambhoji was the first step in establishing the individuality of Yadukulakambhoji. The multi-faceted Madhyama swara, which appears in three forms, is a hallmark of this raga. Kakali Nishada is found only in one prayoga – "Sa-ni-pa-da-Sa", which is avoidable. There is no enhancement of aesthetics by this prayoga. If this prayoga is avoided, Yadukulakambhoji need not be branded as a bhashanga raga. Kaisika Nishada dominates. Despite Tulajaji’s view, this raga lends itself to a variety of compositions. "Ninnu Sevinchina" by Subbaraya Sastri is an outstanding example. "Kamakshi" by Syama Sastri, misnamed as a Swarajati, is a composition covering all contours and nuances of this raga. (Prof. Janakiraman rendered at length, passages from the Varnam, "Kamalakshi ninne").

Manodharma (V Subramanyam): Liberties cannot be taken in the rendition of this raga and the prescribed norms have to be adhered to. Some sancharas in raga Kambhoji have come from Yadukulakambhoji. The scope for manodharma is limited, if repetitive phrases are to be avoided. (V Subramanyam then rendered a crisp and short alapana of Yadukulakambhoji).

Compositions (Dr. V V Srivatsa): Apart from Venkatamakhi’s Lakshana Gitam, there are three Varnams in this raga, one each by Fiddle Ponnuswami, Vina Kuppayyar and Pallavi Gopala Iyer. The highest quantitative output, is as usual, by Tyagaraja - eight compositions in all. "Hechharikka" "Sri Rama Jaya Rama" and "Pahi Ramachandra" are popular songs. The trio composed by Dikshitar includes the Vara kriti dedicated to Saturn, "Divakara tanujam". Mention must also be made of Syama Sastri's "Kamakshi" and Subbaraya Sastri's "Ninnu sevinchina". Subbarama Dikshitar’s "Parthasarathini" is a composition of merit. Three compositions of Bhadrachala Ramdas are found in this raga. Arunachala Kavi’s "Yarendru Raghavanai" was popularised by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. "Kalaittookki Ninradum" by Muthutandavar is well known. Gopalakrishna Bharati’s two compositions are not well known.

Swati Tirunal’s three compositions are seldom heard, though "Bhujagashaayino" is rendered by K V Narayanaswami, once in a while. Papanasam Sivan’s "Kumaran taal" has recently become popular. We also have compositions by Periasami Tooran, Kumara Ettendra and Ambujam Krishna.

Karvetnagar Sarangapani has composed two Padams of which "Upamuga nejeyu" is well-known. Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar’s Tillana enriches the repertoire found in this raga.


Names of some ragas indicate the region of their origin. Examples are Gurjari, Malavi, Kannada Gowla, Gowda Mallar, Sindhubhairavi and some others. Even in one raga, different versions can be found in different regions, as can be visualised from names like Kannada Gurjari, Dravida Gurjari etc. Bharat, our land, comprised 56 confederation in days bygone, one of which was the territory Kambhoji. The raga that originated here was Kambhoji. Perhaps, there were variegated versions of this raga - some, with a folk-music overtone like Chenchu Kambhoji. A tribal-group "Erugala", perhaps modified raga Kambhoji to create "Erugala-Kambhoji". T V Subba Rao has mentioned thus, in his writings. This raga is a pointer to that trend that classic tunes led to folk-versions. Subbarama Dikshitar maintained the name Erugala-Kambhoji, in the Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarsini.

However, even in the pre-Trinity period, the folk-name was changed to a more classical version, "Yadukula Kambhoji". Govindacharya uses the name "Yadukula Kambhoji", as can be seen from "Harikambhojito Yadukulakambhoji sambhavaha". What is there in a name? This raga is unique and exclusive to the Carnatic system.

The absence of textual of references is no conclusive evidence on the antiquity of this raga. The almost similar version in the "Pann" system, called Sevvazhi, has been used for centuries. Hence, the tune may be deemed as old and the name as new.

A Devarnama of Purandaradasa, "Saranu sakaloddhara", is traditionally rendered in Yadukulakamboji, which is not conclusive evidence. More tangible is the presence of two compositions of Bhadrachala Ramdas - "lkshvaaku kula" and "Rama Rama". Copper plates in which Annamacharya compositions are recorded, have no reference to this raga.

The primary characteristics differentiating this Raga from Kambhoji are:

  • The mrudutwa (softness) of Suddha Madhyama in sancharas like sa-ri-maa-ma or sa-ri-ma-ga-maa-ma.

  • The absence of Gandhara in the Arohana.

  • The dominance of Dhaivata.

  • The weakness of Kakali Nishada.

  • Limitations generally enforced in the Tara sthyai (higher octaves).

The weakness of and limited use of Kakali Nishada leads to the thought as to whether it is required, at all. The presence of Kakali Nishada makes this raga Bhashanga. There is no dissension with respect to classification under the 28th mela, Harikambhoji. This raga can be rendered without the Kakali Nishada.

Apart from the mrudu Suddha Madhyama cited earlier, the Suddha Madhyama is at the right place when the prayoga "ga-ma-pa" is used. Madhyama in the Avarohana krama, in prayogas like "da-pa-maa-da-pa-da" is kampita and also perhaps Teevra, following the Panchama in proximity. Madhyama is a many-splendoured swara in this raga.

This is not a raga which clings to the scale. In fact, many Vishesha prayogas (special phrasings) flaunt the technical prescription. Subbarama Dikshitar correctly states that the prayogas are best learnt from the compositions. Despite the dominance of Madhyama and Dhaivata, Gandhara and Nishada are also jeeva swaras. The subservient role is played by Rishabha.

The repertoire is fairly good. Three Varnams in a raga is quite adequate. Though deemed as sringara or santa rasa oriented, this raga is used by Tyagaraja for two Nindastuti compositions. Dikshitar’s biography has an incident linked to the kriti "Tyagarajam bhajare" in this raga. Sans doubt, Syama Sastri’s "Kamakshi" is a crest-jewel. Yadukulakambhoji is one of the select 28 ragas in which we have atleast one composition by each Trinitarian.

Mention must be made of the usage Tevaram rendition. One cannot forget Appar’s "Ariyanai andanai" in this raga. Arunachala Kavi’s "Yarendru Raghavanai" is well known but his "Ittanai Kopam" is unknown. Two compositions of Gopalakrishna Bharati, "Bhaktigal Seythare" and "Innamum enna" are rarely heard. Swati Tirunal’s "Mohanamayee" is also rare. A composition worthy of refreeze is "Karunarasa Lahari" by Kumara Ettendra, which true to name, exudes karuna rasa. Andavan Pitchai’s "He Kaamakshi" also belongs to this genre. "Ariveergal ellaam" by Periasami Tooran and "Chintanai Seyyadi" by Ambujam Krishna are recent compositions. The presence of two Padams "Vintalaya maremi" and "Upamuga nejeyu" by Karvetnagar Sarangapani in this raga, is proof of its wide acceptance by the 17th century AD. Ideally suited for Vilamba movement, the Tillana is in sharp contrast with this supposition.

Nagaswara players of Tanjavur district, in days bygone, used to play raga Ahiri near the sanctrum-sanctorum as the temple was being shut after the Arha-jama pooja. They did not like ending the day with a soonya raga like Ahiri. So, they used to come out and play a few notes of a mangalakara raga. Which was that raga? Yadukulakambhoji, please!


Musician-musicologist Rangaramanuja Ayyangar’s birth centenary was commemorated on the 9th February, 2001 at Ragasudha Hall by the Carnatica Archival Centre. A brief sketch of the veteran’s works was outlined by Mohan Parasaran, Chairman, CAC. Vedantam Srinivasan, Advocate, in his felicitation speech, gave a wonderful account of the multifaceted nature of Rangaramanuja Ayyangar. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar was highlighted as a very keen teacher by N Pattabhiraman, Editor, Sruti magazine. Vainika Padma Varadan, daughter and disciple of Rangaramanuja Ayyangar, played some excerpts of the recordings of Ayyangar. The music played on the Vina by the vidwan displayed the vintage music and was a revelation of his musical prowess. This was followed by a Vina concert of Padma Varadan, accompanied by her daughter, Matangi on the Vina, T K Ramakrishnan on the Mridangam and A S Murali on the Ghatam. The musical fare presented included Surati Varnam, Begada alapana followed by Papanasam Sivan’s 'Gana Rasamudan'. The highlight was the Kalyani alapana and the Tanam that followed. The song chosen for elaboration was 'Sundari Nee Divyaroopa', a composition of Tyagaraja. The post-Tani pieces included a Padam and Javali, in addition to other items. The programme was well attended by the connoisseurs of music.


‘Panchabhutalinga sthala kritis of Muthuswami Dikshitar’ was the topic of discussion for the Sahityanubhava session held on the 10th of February. The lyrical beauty and the Sthala Purana (importance of the places) of the five songs were beautifully explained with a lot of quotations and examples in a very interesting manner by Dr.V V Srivatsa. The melodic beauty and individuality of the kritis were delineated in a very lucid manner by Prof. S R Janakiraman. He sang excerpts from the kritis to elucidate his points. N Vijay Siva then gave an excellent rendering of the kritis highlighting the different tempos and also the sangatis that can be adopted suitably for the five kritis. He was very ably accompanied by Akkarai Subbalakshmi on the Violin, who followed Vijay like a shadow. Bombay Balaji on the Mridangam embellished the kritis very beautifully with different patterns while also maintaining the laya. Rasikas sat through spellbound and absorbed every bit of the programme.


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