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Musical maverick

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GENIUS Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur
GENIUS Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur

ARUNA CHANDARAJU

A four-day festival will pay tribute to the former Mysore Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur, a noted musician himself

Music lovers can look forward to an exciting event in Mysore. A four-day festival is being organised jointly by Brahmavidya Foundation, Chintalapalli Parampara Trust and the Urs community of Mysore, to commemorate the birth anniversary of the former Mysore Maharaja, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur (1919 to 1974).

It is a tribute to one of India’s finest musician-kings. Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur was a multifaceted genius — a philosopher, political thinker, philanthropist, sportsman, author, educationist, able administrator, and art-patron, and musician-composer.

Music patron

Trained extensively in Carnatic (vocal and veena) and Western music (including piano) he also composed 97 lyrics in the Carnatic style. Jayachamaraja was Honorary Fellow of Trinity College of Music, London; and the first president of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

He continued the great tradition of the Mysore dynasty, which patronised musical talent irrespective of an artists’ community, language or region. The musicians who flourished under Jayachamaraja’s patronage included Mysore Vasudevachar, Muthaiah Bhagavathar, T. Chowdaiah, Veena Venkata Giriappa, Chennakesavaiah, Chintalapalli Venkata Rao, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Tiger Varadachar, Gottuvadyam Narayana Iyengar, B. Devendrappa, Chinatalapalli Ramachandra Rao.Interestingly, all of Jayachamaraja’s lyrics are in Sanskrit and all contain the raga mudra — the raga name is woven into the composition (eg. raga Nayaki in the krithi Brihannayaki). He used a wide range of ragas including rare ones like Pratapavarali, Hamsavinodini, Gundakriya, Nadabrahmam, Shuddhasalavi.

He even created a new raga called Bhupalapanchama. Even in rhythms, Jayachamaraja’s lyrics display variety. He sparingly used the Adi taala and Roopaka taala (generally employed extensively by other composers) preferring rare ones like Khanda Jhampa, Mishra Jhampa, Mishra Triputa and Khanda Roopaka.

“Of these 97 lyrics, 96 were in different ragas and Sarasangi was the only raga used twice,” reveals Shreekantham Nagendra Shastry, noted musician and grandson of Wodeyar’s court musician Chintalapalli Ramachandra Rao.

“Since Maharaja had received Sri Vidya upasana, his lyrics have a Srividya ankitha. He used this instead of his own name at the end of his compositions (unlike most lyricists). Some lyrics carry a Nagalinga ankitha and one has his deeksha mudra Chithprabhanandarajayogeendra. He used his own name only once, that too in part, in the krithi ‘Sri Chamundeshwari’ (Madhyamavathi raga). He even included his five daughters’ names in krithis.”

The four-day event will feature a veena recital by R.K. Padmanabha, inaugural song by R.S. Nandakumar, presentation of Rajayogindra award to Veerappa Moily and a Shathakantha Gayana Goshti where 100 musicians, under the leadership of Shreekantham Nagendra Shastry, will sing seven lyrics of the Mysore Composers, including four of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar.

Later will come a play “Manteswara Prasanga”, a musical feature on Jayachamaraja’s life and times, another musical feature based on Jayachamaraja’s compositions by Brahmavidya Foundation, a concert by Kanchana Sisters, Hindustani music by Nagaraja Rao Havaldar, Yakshagana by Saketa Kalavidaru, a concert based on Wodeyar’s compositions by H.S. Nagaraj are other highlights. The festival will be held from July 18 to 21 at the Jaganmohana Palace, Mysore.


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