Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Last of the Trio!

Alongwith Märwä and Puriyä, Raag Sohni completes the trio that uses the same scale of notes.

Remember ‘Kuhu-kuhu bole koyaliyä’, that immortal melody from ‘Swarna-Sundari’? An unforgettable song composed by Aädi Näräyan Räo, a relatively unknown composer from yesteryears! Really speaking, this song is a medley of raags but the mukhadä (opening lines) and the first antarä (stanza) are composed in Raag Sohni, the focus of this episode.

Having said that Märwä and Puriyä originate from the same scale but differ radically in the ethos they project, we must also take a look at Raag Sohni that shares the same scale and, like these two raags, differs by projecting an intense and aggressive, yet romantic, mood. While Märwä and Puriyä are more inclined to serenity, Sohni tends to be more aggressive. The difference lies in its phrases. Märwä focuses on Komal Rishabh and Dhaivat and Puriyä on Gandhär and Nishäd. Sohni, however, keeps its emphasis firmly on Tär Shadja (the base note in the higher octave). The compositions in this raag, therefore, excel in the upper-half of the octave and create electrifying atmosphere. Moreover, the chalan (phraseology) here is vakra (using notes in a circular, out-of-sequence pattern) giving the entire matrix an interesting twist.

Sohni has been an all-time favourite amongst vocalists and instrument-players of all generations. With the fast-paced compositions excelling in the upper octave, Sohni has been used very effectively to transform ambience in concert after a serious raag like Mälkauns. A number of greats like Ustäd Bade Ghuläm Alikhan, Pt DV Paluskar, ‘Gän-Hirä’ Hiräbäi Barodekar, etc have recorded some fabulous bandishes in Sohni and, fortunately, all this recorded material is easily available to music-lovers today.

Mention must be made here of some delightful compositions that have regaled the audiences. The first and foremost is the renowned thumri sung by Ustäd Bade Ghuläm Alikhän-saheb. The thumri became such a rage in those days that Naushäd (famous composer) had to go to great lengths to have the veteran Ustäd to sing its filmy version for the magnum-opus ‘Mughal-e-Azam’.

Pt Kumär Gandharva immortalized ‘Rang nä dälo shämji’, a traditional bandish that’s both aggressive and romantic at the same time, and set new a benchmark that has been difficult for others to follow. Pt Rämäshray Jhä ‘Rämrang’ has composed a few delightful bandishes in Sohni that paint an aesthetically pleasing picture of this raag. A couple of taränäs composed in Sohni have also been immensely popular with their fast tempo and imaginative presentation.  Here's a selection of some of these compositions for your listening pleasure!

In popular music, Sohni has given us some sparkling moments through various songs that are based on this matrix. Apart from the ‘Swarna-Sundari’ and ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ numbers above, Asha Bhosale’s ‘Jeevan jyot jale’ (Film: Gruhasthi) remains forever favourite with music lovers. Pt Jitendra Abhisheki has also sung ‘Haribhajanä veen käl’, a Maräthi devotional song that has achieved a permanent place in Maräthi-rasik’s heart.

However, we simply cannot conclude the Sohni post without mentioning my personal favorite from the famous Maräthi musical play 'Katyär Kaljät Ghusali'. Late Pt. Vasantrao Deshpande's electrifying 'gäyaki' has made 'Surat piyäki na chhin bisaräyi' a veritable treat for all music-lovers (Maräthi or otherwise) - Enjoy...!


  1. Thanks for the information :-)

  2. Enjoyed seeing your blogspot.Keep up the good work.Regards,Milind Chittal

  3. Enjoyed seeing your site.Keep up the good work.Milind Chittal

  4. Good site.Enjoyed seeing it. Milind Chittal

  5. Namaskar
    the choice of songs and bandishes is very nice.
    I would like to know who has sung drum drum lata lata.

  6. Aakramak; parantu apalya prabhavane shrotya'n madhye salsalte chaitanya nirman karnarya Raag Sohni chi aapan khup samarpak pane olakh karun dilit. Ase jaanawale ki ha raag aiknaryala asha prakare 'charge' karto ki tyacha sharirik ani maanasik sustapana twarit naahisa hovun tan-man nakaltpane abhivyakt hote. Thodkyat kahi raag jase apratyakshapane 'Nidra-Amantrakache' karya kartat; yachya agdi ulat prakarche karya Raag Sohni karto ase mhanave lagel. Ha raag sharir ani bhaavana jagrut karto ani manaala santushtatechya attyuchya kalsawar neun thewato yacha apan dilelya molachya maahiti mule bodh zala. Manapasun abhar.

    Jata jata- Ya vistrut maahitimule ani sobat saadar kelelya geeta'n warun ase lakshat yete ki Driving kartana jar ha raag; athwa ya raagatil geete aikali tar pravasatil rataalpana dur houn Driver ani Pravasi pravasacha adhik anand gheu shaktil. Aso. Punaschya abhaar !

    Rajesh Agnihotri

  7. This is really a nice blog. Looking forward for the next post.

  8. Very interesting information

  9. Hi All - Thanx for your wonderful feedback! This is like tonic to us!

    @Anuradha - 'Drum Drum Lata Lata' is taken from a very old recording (probably early to mid-80s) of Smt. Veena-tai Sahastrabuddhe. Hope you liked it...