Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Srinivasa Nayaka is the original name of Purandaradas. The Modern period of Carnatic (Karnatic) music begins with "Purandaradas" (1484-1564). He was the pioneer who blended the rich musical streams of Dravidian and Aryan music into a single stream called Karnatic music. This synthesis of cultures resulted in the hybrid variety, a highly rich traditional and classical musical system.

Sri Purandaradas born at Purandargarh near Pune in Maharastra, finally settled at Hampi (Vijayanagar), a border area for both Northern and Southern cultures. The aesthetic beauty of both the Northern and Southern flow of music attracted him as similar ragas and 'thalas' exist in both the systems in different names. The Aryan system was more prevalent in princely courts whereas the Dravidan system was prevalent in the temples of South India.

Sri Purandara Das decided that "Malava gowla" of the South was most suited for beginners. The corresponding Raga in the North is called "Bhairav". In "Malavagowla" subsequently named as "Maya Malavagowla", the difference of pitch between 'Ri' and 'ga', and 'da' and 'ni' are the same and the notes sa-ri-ga-ma and pa-da-ni-sa are perfect concordant notes. That is why Purandara Dasa found Maya Malavagowla the best Raga to begin lessons in classical music. This system of music is called "Karnataka Music" as he belongs to that region and the music is very pleasing to the ears. He created several phrases of notes called "Sarali" "Janta", Hetchu-sthayi, "Thaggu sthayi" and "Datu" Swaras. He also simplified "Thala" system and moulded it into "Pancha-Thrimsathi" Thala system and composed "Alankaras" to be sung in those Thalas.

All these initial notes or Swaras are to be sung in Maya Malavagowla. The next phase of learning of a beginner is "Geetham" for which Purandaradasa created "Pillari Geetams" in Rag-Malahari" a derivative of Maya-Malava-Gowla . Gradually the Ragas and their notes are to be changed to acquaint the student with different notes step by step. Purandara Dasa was therefore, rightly called Karnataka Sangeeta Pithamaha.

Further Purandara Dasa said in his song "Vasudevana namavaliya" (Mukhari raga) that he composed 475,000 Keerthanas. About 800 of them are available now. As the original tunes are lost, people sing some of them in their own tunes.

Please listen to some of my Purandaradasa kritis.

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