Khambodi, a janya of Harikhambodi, the 28th melakarta, currently occupies an exalted position in our system of music. It is a shadava sampoorna raga, six notes in the aarohana and all seven in the avarohana. Almost all composers have made extensive use of this raga.

The great appeal and scope of Khambodi have made it a very popular choice for major kriti exposition. Lakshmi Rangarajan chose this as the main raga in her early evening concert. Her elucidation touched every contour of this royal tune. Ranjani Ramakrishnan, an NRI, on the violin, too brought out the essence of this raga.

‘Evarimata,’ made popular by the great Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar was the kriti. Tyagaraja says to Lord Rama: “Why is it that you don’t give your darshan? Who has told you not to come? Whose words are you listening to?” The swaras, at the charanam, ‘Bhaktaparaadheenutanuchu,’ were unhurried and leisurely – a thing of beauty, a joy forever. Thani by Delhi Sairam (mridangam) was absorbing. He started off with Thisra nadai and it was indeed different from the usual pattern.

Lakshmi Rangarajan, disciple of TMT, earlier presented a charming Varali elucidation for Dikshitar’s ‘Mamava Meenakshi’ in Misra Chapu. Niraval and swaras were at the usual ‘Syame.’ Ranjani also brought out lovely swara patterns. Another raga that the main artist elaborated was Malayamarutam, for Arunachala Kavirayar’s ‘Anumaane’ in Rupakam.

Opening the concert with the Kedaragowla Varnam, with kalpanaswaras, Lakshmi rendered Tyagaraja’s ‘Theliyalethu Rama,’ Mysore Vasudevachar’s masterpiece ‘Brochevarevarura’ and Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavatar’s ‘Durgadevi’ in Navarasakannada. The curtain came down with Guru Surajananda’s Behag piece, ‘Muruganin Marupeyar Azhagu.’

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com )