Kedaragowla is an attractive raga that pours forth karuna rasa, sringara rasa and bhakti rasa. An audava-sampoorna raga (five notes in ascent, all seven in descent), its arohana-avarohana is SRMPNS/SNDPMGRS. The slow gamaka at the rishabha, taken with a deep inflection from the gandhara is the hallmark of Kedaragowla. The ancient Tamizh pann Gandhara-pancama is very similar to Kedaragowla. This raga is also referred to as Harikedaragowla. Kedaragowla is suited to slow and medium paced pieces and the phrase NSRS,NDP – MPDP,MGR helps us identify the raga easily.
In Carnatic music, this raga is handled with respect by musicians; its gamakas and subtle slides inspire awe. They are painstakingly forged into alapanas and swaras to make the raga bhava surface. Thyagaraja’s ‘Venugana’ (composed by him at Vina Kuppier’s residence as he took in the beauty of the Lord Venugopala’s statue ), and ‘Tulasi Bilva’ are well loved pieces in this raga. Dikshitar’s ‘Neelotphalambikayai’ and ‘Neelakantam Bhajeham’ are well-crafted as is Shyama Sastri’s ‘Parakela’. Other gems in this raga include ‘Saraguna Palimpa’ of Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar, ‘Anda Rama Soundaryam’ of Arunachala Kavi and ‘Samikku Sari’ of Papansam Sivan. This raga is rich in aesthetic appeal and is very closely allied to raga Surutti.
In film music, Kedaragowla has been used mainly in ragamalika pieces and viruttams. It has a rare quality of being easily identifiable, and this feature has been exploited in film music. ‘Ananda Natamidum’ from Nandanar is a fine piece in Kedaragowla. Structured like a classical kriti, this offers a clear delineation of the raga. In Avvaiyar, K.B. Sundarambal Avvaiyarhas sung the viruttam lines ‘bhuvanamo’ in the ragamalika piece ‘Peridu Peridu’ in this raga. The phrase ‘Siruviral Modiram’ brings forth the typical notes of Kedaragowla, nsrm, mgrsndp. She has once again regaled us with a few lines in Kedaragowla in the viruttam ‘Thunbamellam’ from Poompuhar in the music of R. Sudarsanam, with sangatis that sparkle in the sheer luminosity of the raga.
In the film Ambikapathy the lines ‘Satre Sarindha’ are rendered in Kedaragowla by T.M. Soundararajan in the song ‘Vadivelum Mayilum’. G. Ramanathan handles the complex raga with ease.
In the film Tiruvarul of Devar, the song ‘Kandukondain Naan’ begins brightly in Kedaragowla with the phrase that heads towards the upper octave rishabha. Sung by TMS in the music of Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan, this piece has pleasing orchestration.
In Babruvahana (Kannada), the piece ‘Yaru Tiliyaru Ninna’ begins with Kedaragowla as viruttam and has several ragas that follow. Music director T.G. Lingappa has excelled in this dramatic piece that exudes veera rasa. In Yavanika (Malayalam), ‘Bharatamuni’ starts with a viruttam in Kedaragowla. Sung by K.J. Yesudas in the music of M.B. Srinivasan, the few minutes of Kedaragowla draw us in. Sargam (Malayalam) features the brilliant ‘Andholanam’ in Kedaragowla. The melody flows seamlessly and the raga shines in the music of Bombay Ravi. Yesudas breathes life into the swaras making the ragadevata come alive.
Surutti is a classical raga that is known for compositions such as ‘Sri Venkatagirisham’ of Dikshitar and ‘Geetarthamu’ of Thyagaraja. It is an auspicious and complex raga. ‘Sivaperuman Kripai Vendum’ from the 1936 film Naveena Sarangadhara is a vintage piece, composed by Papanasam Sivan in Surutti.