A RAGA'S JOURNEY Maand is supposed to have evolved from Rajasthani folk music

Maand is a feisty raga, popular in North India and well-known for lighter pieces in the South. It is delightful to listener and performer alike. It brings forth the mood of romance, combined with cheer and warmth. Maand is often spiced up with foreign notes to make it “misra” Maand, like “chai” becomes “masala chai.” The notes that feature in the conventional Maand raga include Sadja, Suddha Rishabha, Antara Gandhara, Suddha Madhyama, Pancama, Chatusruti Dhaivata, and Kakali Nishada, and not in that order. In fact, it is the zigzag patterns in this raga that give rise to a feeling that only can be compared with enjoying a swing on a trapeze. The popular classical pieces in this raga include “Janaki Manoharam” by Mysore Vasudevachar, “Ramanai Bhajithal” of Papanasam Sivan and “Vaanathin Meethu”(arutpa of Ramalinga Swami).

“Indha udalai en eduthen naan”, from the film “Seva Sadanam” and sung by M. S. Subbulakshmi, is an exceptional song in Maand, and the ragamalika piece from the same movie, “Adaravatravarkellam”, also begins brightly in Maand. “ChandraSooriyar” from the film “Ambikapathy” (starring MK Thyagaraja Bhagavathar) is a joyful expression of Maand by the composer Papanasam Sivan.

Most of the Maand that is seen in movie songs is indeed “misra” Maand, the foreign (bhashanga) notes adding to the beauty and listening pleasure. A most endearing rendition of the Bharatiar song “Aduvome” comes in the film “Naam Iruvar” (music R. Sudharsanam; sung by D. K. Pattammal). In the lines “sangu konde vetri..” the anchoring at the Rishabha followed by a little oscillation upwards, brings forth the brightness of this raga.

“Maasila nilave”, sung beautifully by TMS and noted actress Bhanumathy, is a favourite of many a music lover across ages. From the film “Ambikapathy” (starring Sivaji Ganesan, music G. Ramanathan), the high point in this song is the flowery sangati at “kanne...maanilam kondaduthe”. It calls for an encore each time.

C. S. Jayaraman's voice has special appeal and his Maand rendition encompasses the melodic richness of this scale like never before in the song “Ayiram kann podhadhu” from the film “Paavai vilakku”. In the phrase “engum pani thoongum malai” the waterfall of brighas starting at the upper Gandhara and culminating back there after circling the entire scale drenches one in sheer bliss.

How can mere words describe the beauty that Dr. M. Balmuralikrishna brings out in this raga as he sings “Oru naal podhuma” from “Thiruvilaiyadal” (music K. V. Mahadevan)? This ragamalika starts most aptly in Maand, a flying start in every sense. “Naadamaa sangeetama...” - the sangati at this spot never fails to elicit a sabhash from the smitten rasika.

A lighter and more youthful Maand representation is seen in “Kumari pennin ullathile” (music M. S. Viswanathan- Ramamurthi) from “Enga Veettu Pillai”, sung by TMS and P. Suseela. In the lines “kumari pennin kaigalile...kaathal nenjai..” the Misra Maand touch is very pronounced, stylish and timeless in appeal.

No one can forget “Nenjam marappadillai” from the movie bearing the same name. P. Suseela's voice, the instrumental interludes, especially the strings section, and the dramatic twists and turns in the BGM make us sit up and take notice of this piece. The M. S. V-Ramamurthi duo has once again struck gold in this piece.

“Jaathi malli poocharame” from “Azhagan” merits mention and brings forth a Misra Maand in 7/8 beat, (misra chapu tala), a rarity in film music. Maragatha Mani's clever musical composition is sung impeccably by S. P. Balasubramanyam. The opening phrase “GMDNSSS” itself clearly establishes the raga beyond doubt.

“Anjali Anjali” from the film “Duet” is a stunning compostion in this raga by A. R. Rahman and the piano backups, the shift to minor notes in the charanam, all add sheen to this song. Of course, SPB and Chitra's voices leave us yearning for more.

“Sowkiyama” from the film “Sangamam” (music A. R. Rahman), sung by Nityasree Mahadevan, is a very cleverly composed piece in this raga, the very opening hitting the nail on the head – “DNSG RS”.

Maand is supposed to have evolved from Rajasthani folk music. Hindi film songs in Maand are aplenty. “Phir teri kahani” from “Dil Diya Dard Liya”, sung by Lata Mangeshkar (music Naushad) and featuring Pandit Shivkumar Sharma's santoor portions, is a treat in Maand. Surely there are more monumental melodies in Maand, and those unheard may even be sweeter.

Keywords: Maandragaraga's journey