Thursday, August 7, 2014

Raga Reeti Gowla - the enchanting entertainer!

Back with another Raga after a fortnight - it is my all time favorite - the enchanting Raga Reeti Gowla, which will instantly capture any listener's heart. You just have to listen to the unaltered version of this Raga for a few seconds, and you will develop a liking for this Raga, even if you are completely new to Carnatic music or hearing this Raga for the first time in life.

Reeti Gowla is such an entertaining Raga, which brims with the joy or happiness element all through and brings in great satisfaction and a sense of completeness for the listener. No doubt that this has got a magical touch - it can instantly catapult a singer or a composer to fame with just one song. Case in point in the Tamil Film Music circles -  the new entrant Music Director James Vasanthan became an overnight success with the song set in Reeti Gowla - "Kangal Irandaal".

Let us get a little of bit of Raga understanding:

Reeti Gowla, also known as Reethi Gowlai or Reeti Gowlai, is not really associated with the other Ragas which are in the Gowla family. Instead, this is more a janya ragam (derivative) of the popular Karaharapriya Ragam.

Aarohanam    S G2 R2 G2 M1 N2 D2 M1 N2 N2 S
Avarohanam S N2 D2 M1 G2 M1 P M1 G2 R2 S

There are quite a few popular classical compositions in this Raga - "Janani Ninuvina" is the outstanding piece of work. "Tattvam ariya taramaa", "Guruvaayur Appanae Appaa", "Enna Punniyam Seytheno" are other beautiful pieces set in this Raga.

The Medley 

Coming to our Medley selections, once again I was faced with a big difficulty as there are quite a few popular numbers and I could not easily decide the ones to be used in the Medley. Especially considering the way Maestro Ilayaraja has used this Raga, it became very tough for me to pick songs from any other Music Director (MD) and string it through in the Medley. Finally, I made the wise choice (I suppose!) of making two medleys - one separately for songs from Ilayaraja (IR), and the other with songs from other MDs.

Here is the first one - compositions of the Maestro IR - we start with the beautiful opening flute and classic vintage Reeti Gowla - "Chinna Kannan Azhaikiraan" sung by none other than the great doyen of Carnatic music - Dr Balamurali Krishna. From this song, we merge effortlessly in to the number "Thalaiyai Kuniyum Thaamaraiyae" where the energetic SPB takes over from BMK and carries the song through in his superb style. At the end of this number comes the lesser known, but wonderfully tweaked version of Reeti Gowla - "Meettaadha Oru Veenai" performed by Hariharan for the movie "Poonthottam". It is just amazing to note the adaptation of this Raga and orchestration around this piece - IR rocks! Finally, I could not afford to miss bringing in at least a small piece of the deadly song "Raaman Kadhai Kelungal" - which is more of a Raga Malika (many ragams put in together) but popular largely with its opening set in Reeti Gowla. So, the last bit of that song features as the final piece in this classic IR medley.

Now getting to the next - a compilation of songs from "Isai Puyal" "Oscar star" A R Rahman (ARR), James Vasanthan and the talented Vidyasagar (VS).

ARR did a fabulous job with this Raga in his "Azhagana Rakshasiyae" for the movie "Mudhalvan" where he blended a bit of modern and folkish orchestration without disturbing the originality of the Raga. Interestingly, the storyline depicts some pots in the background at this point and ARR smartly used the Ghatam instrument through the song which sets well in to the movie as well as complements the classical feature of this Raga. This is our opening piece in the Medley and is followed by the musical interlude of James Vasanthan - the "Kangal Irandaal" song is carved in stone and would never be forgotten in the Tamil Film Music industry. As I mentioned earlier, this took him to overnight fame and success, and hence this song gets the due attention in our Medley too. Close on the heels of this number comes the charanam from "Sudum Nilavu" song composed by the talented Vidyasagar (VS). Such a beautiful and skillful presentation of this song with embedded chorus presentation in between - amazing work by VS. That completes our Medley with Reeti Gowla.

I sincerely hope you will agree with my assessment about Reeti Gowla - as an enchanting entertainer, and the one that leaves you with a sense of joy and happiness. Would be happy to have your comments..

For those interested in the full version of the songs, here are some links. You can use a standard ripper like or to download the MP3 from these videos:

Chinna Kannan Azhaikiraan
Thalaiyai Kuniyum Thaamaraiyae
Meettaadha Oru Veenai
Raaman Kadhai Kelungal
Azhagana Rakshasiyae
Kangal Irandaal
Sudum Nilavu