This is the opening piece of Dr. Kadri Gopalnath’s concert from the Darbar Festival 2011. Following old traditions, he begins his performance with a salutation to the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha. This Hindu deity is regarded as the harbinger of good fortune and a remover of obstacles. He gives a sincere and engaging rendition of ‘Vaatapi Ganapathim Bhajeham,’ set to Raag Hamsadhwani, a composition of Muthuswamy Dikshitar (1775-1835).
Dr. Gopalnath plays a brisk alapana which is beautifully replicated and improvised by Jyotsna Srikanth on her violin. Once the saxophone and violin settle with each other over a fine-tune, he begins the song with Bangalore Praveen and RN Prakash bringing the rhythms into the composition in unison.
Throughout the piece, he engages in a constant dialogue with Srikanth, enabling a brilliant teamwork and projection of the beautiful hues of Hamsadhwani. Praveen (mridangam) and Prakash (ghatam) provide a fine and receptive accompaniment to the recital.
Hamsadhwani is an upanga janya of the 29th melakarta Dhirasankarabharaṇa. It is an audava (pentatonic) raga. The notes used are ṣaḍja, chatusruti, riṣabha, antara gandhara, pachama and kakali niṣada. The ascending and descending notes are:
S R2 G3 P N3 Ṡ - Ṡ N3 P G3 R2 S
In Western music notation, if C is taken as the base or tonic note, then the scale is
C D E G B C - C B G E D C
Hamsadhwani was created by Ramaswami Dikṣhitar, who was the father of one among the trinity of Carnatic music, Muthuswami Dikṣhitar. It has also been inducted into the Hindustani system. Hamsadhwani is a rakti raga – one that pleases instantaneously. It offers ample scope for improvisation and is considered an auspicious melody, well-suited for a minor presentation in a concert. Ga and Ni (3rd and 7th) are the dominant and sub-dominant notes respectively.
It portrays feelings of wonderment and valour very effectively, just as it can convey the feeling of devotion or bhakti bhava too.
Dr. Kadri Gopalnath (saxophone)
Jyotsna Srikanth (violin)
Bangalore Praveen (mridangam)
RN Prakash (ghatam)
Kaviraj Singh (tanpura)
Raag: Hamsadhwani, Composition by Muthuswamy Dikshitar (1775-1835)