Carnatic Harmonica :: Saitejas Chandra Shekar Part-II

The carnatic harmonica concert by Mr Saitejas Chandra Shekar was organized by HaLoH successfully on 13th September’2012. The harmonica lovers enjoyed the harmonica recital by Saitejas. This was followed by interactive 'question and answer session' by all the participants wherein they could learn more about Carnatic music and its application using the harmonica.

The Team :

Harmonica - Saitejas Chandrashekar

Violin - Vidwan Bhatti Pawan Singh

Mridanga - Vidwan C Ramakrishna

List of items performed.

1. Vattapi Ganapatim bhajeham : One of the most popular compositions in the Carnatic Music repertoire. Composed by Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar in the Raga Hamsadhwani [a creation of his father Sri Ramaswamy Dikshitar] and set to Aadi Tala [a cycle of 8 beats]. The composition is on Lord Ganesha and also gives a very auspicious beginning to any Carnatic concert.

Scale of the Raga [ Key C]

Arohana - C D E G B C[hi]

Avarohana - C[hi] B G E D C [This is a penta-tonic Raga]

2. Entha muddO entha sogasO : A composition of Sri Tyagaraja Swamy in the Raga BindumAlini, set to Aadi Tala.

Refer : http://sahityam.net/w/index.php/Enta_muddo

Scale of the Raga [Key c]

Arohana - C E C# E F G A# C[hi]

Avarohana - C[hi] A G E F G E C# C

3. Raghuvamsha sudha : Another very popular Carnatic number composed by Sri Patnam Subramanya Iyer in Raga Kadanakuthuhala [a creation of the composer himself] and set to Adi Tala. The number is a favourite of all Carnatic Instrumentalists. It is believed that the composer conceived this Raga, having been inspired by the tunes and melodies of the English bands.

ScaLe of the Raga [Key C]

Arohana - C D F A B E G C[hi]

Avarohana - C[hi] B A G F E D C

Refer : http://sahityam.net/wiki/Raghuvamsa_sudhambudhi

4. RagasudhArasa : Saint Tyagaraja's composition in Raga AndhOLika and Adi Tala - 2 kaLe - cycle of 16 beats. This was the first ever composition in Andholika and remains to be the most popular one in this raga even today.

Scale of the Raga [Key C]

Arohana - C D F G A# C[hi]

Avarohana - C[hi] A# A F D C

Refer : http://sahityam.net/w/index.php/Raga_sudha

5. PalukE bangAramAyana : a lovely composition of Sri Bhadrachala Ramadasa in Raga Ananda Bhairavi and Adi Tala, opularised by Dr. M Balamuralikrishna. Ananda Bhairavi is a gamaka laden raga and one of the very important Carnatic Ragas

Scale of the Raga [Key C]

Arohana - C D# D D# F G A G C[hi]

Avarohana - C A# A G F D# D C [This is just the skeleton of the melody. Since this a a very heavy Carnatic Raga, there are many subtleties with regards to the notes in the Raga which can only be demonstrated practically]

6 ManavyAlagincharadaTe : Another Tyagaraja masterpiece in Raga NaLinakanti and Adi Tala.

Scale of the Raga [Key C]

Arohana - C E D F G B C[hi]

Avarohana - C[hi] B G F E D C

Refer : http://sahityam.net/w/index.php/Manavyala_kincha

7. Jagadodhdharana : Sri Purandara Dasa's masterpiece tuned in Raga KApi and Adi Tala - 2 kaLe. Purandara Dasa, often referred to as "Karnataka Sangeeta Pitamaha", is said to have composed this song at the ApramEya temple in MaLoor [near ChennapaTna, Karnataka]

Scale of the Raga [Key C]

Arohana - C D F G B C[hi]

Avarohana - C[hi] A# A A# G F D# D C

Refer : http://krithis-theirmeanings-thestories.blogspot.in/2011/02/jagadodharana-adisidale-yasode.html

8. BrahmamokkaTe : one of the most popular compositions of Sri TaLLapAka Annamacharya. Tuned in Raga BhowLi and Tishra Nade Adi Eka [cycle of 4 beats with 3 counts per beat]

Scale of the Raga [Key C]

Arohana - C C# E G G# C[hi]

Avarohana - C[hi] B G# G E C# C

Refer : http://www.karnatik.com/c1107.shtml

9. The English Note : one of the most popular tail-enders in a Carnatic Instrumental Concert. Was composed by Dr Harikeshanellur Muttayya Bhagavathar, the court musician of the Wodeyars of Mysore, when someone asked if he could compose something that would appeal to Westerners. This was later popularized by his disciple Sri Madurai Mani Iyer

This number is based on Raga Shankarabharana [The western mhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya5fDVfmx_g

10. Bhagyada lakshmi baramma - Sri Purandara Dasa's popular composition tuned in Raga Madhyamavati [often rendered at the closing of a Carnatic concert as mangaLa raga] set to Adi Tala. This song is in praise of Goddess Lakshmi.

Scale of the Raga [Key C]

Arohana - C D F G A# C[hi]

Avarohana - C[hi] A# G F D C

Refer : http://www.karnatik.com/c1146.shtml

Harmonica used in the concert - Suzuki Songstar - SCN 48 [24 holes Chromatic Harmonica]

Raga Shankarabharana [Ionian Mode] The regular chromatic tuning.

Scale - Key C

Arohana - C D E F G A B C[hi] and back. [played songs 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 on this harmonica]

Harmonica maestro Brenden Power has customized 3 Songstars for me in different modes. The common element in the tuning of these harmonicas is that the press of the slide bar on any note [both blow and draw] will take me to the next note in that raga[mode]

1. Raga MayamALavagowLa (Double Harmonic Scale)

Scale : Key C

Arohana - C C# E F G G# B C[hi] and back [played song 8 on this harmonica]

2. Raga HarikambOji [Mixolydian mode]

Scale : Key C

Arohana - C D E F G A A# C[hi] and back [played songs 4 and 10 on this harmonica]

3. Raga Kharaharapriya [Dorian Mode]

Scale : Key C

Arohana - C D D# F G A A# C[hi] and back [did not use this harmonica in the concert]


For the love for harmonica @ The Hans India

Media coverage of Harmonica Lovers of Hyderabad (HaLoH) in "The Hans India", one of the fastest growing English dailies in Hyderabad: Please click on the link..


Carnatic Harmonica - Saitejas Chandrashekar

Harmonica Lovers of Hyderabad (HaLoH) presenting you a Carnatic Classical Harmonica Recital by Shri Saitejas Chandrashekar.

The details of this programme are given below.

Carnatic Harmonica - Saitejas Chandrashekar

Accompanists :

Violin - Vidwan Bhatti Pawan Singh

Mridanga - Vidwan C Ramakrishna

Venue: Ananda Nilayam, Opp: Water Tank, Ashok Nagar,Hyderabad,

Date : 13th September, 2012

Time : 6.30pm to 8.30pm

All are welcome.

About Saitejas Chandrashekar

Saitejas’ journey began with Carnatic vocal music. After initial classes under Ratnamma Murthy, he trained under Sarvamangala Dhruvanarayan, M.S. Vidya, R.K. Suryanarayana and Rupa Sridhar, his current teacher. He also learnt tabla from K.L. Jamadhar and Vishwanath Nakod (his light-music teacher too). Along the way, he won prizes, a scholarship, and performed on stage, radio and TV. These 16 years of training contributed to his harmonica concert. After all, this was a performance without precedent, without teacher or guide. Saitejas just applied his extensive classical-music training to the harmonica.

His tryst with this instrument began at the age of 10 when, like so many children, he received a diatonic harmonica as a present. “I would play film songs and the national anthem. At one point, I attempted the Bilahari Swarajathi ‘Raravenu’ as Bilahari is a Shankarabharanam derivative and Shankarabharanam is a major scale in western music, where the harmonica is prevalent.”

Encouraging win

It turned out right and so he began playing other Shankarabharanam derivatives like Kadanakuthuhalam, Hamsadhwani, besides Mohana. The turning point came when he ventured to play “Vatapi” (Hamsadhwani) on harmonica at an intercollegiate competition and won the first prize. Since there were violin and veena players participating, this win was an endorsement of his experiment.
He soon stepped out of the boundaries of Shankarabharanam and started on Anandabhairavi, Malayamarutham, Rithigowla, etc. “I also acquired a chromatic harmonica with a slide bar which enables shifting of swaras and thus, production of more ragas. It has 12 holes, 48 reeds and three octaves.”
So, in 2006, Saitejas gave a 45-minute Carnatic concert and in 2009, he gave a full-fledged concert (90 minutes) including alapana, neraval, and kalpanaswaras.

The journey, however, was not easy. First, there were no teachers, or guides. Second, the process of alternately blowing and drawing out air, which harmonica-playing entails, can be fatiguing in a long performance. Moreover, producing gamakas is a big challenge. And there have been critics.
Some senior musicians opined that this was an unwarranted experiment, saying the harmonica is inadequate for Carnatic music since it can never produce the full range of a human voice or violin.

“My knowledge of anuswaras from vocal training has helped enormously. I am now attempting tougher ragas like Huseni and gamaka-laden Carnatic Shankarabharanam. I agree the harmonica is no match to the violin or human voice. I’m not sure I can play Thodi or Bhairavi on it. But then while every instrument has its limitations, it also has its own potential and that is what I am working on. With inspiring models like pathbreakers Kadiri Gopalanath and C. Ramdas, I hope to make the harmonica more productive and acceptable.”

-- Saitejas ChandraShekar.

Courtesy: The Hindu-June 26th 2009.


Delegates' Performances :: Indian Mouthorgan Players' Meet 2012, Kolkata

Avijit Roy Chowdhury:

Rajeev Ranjan Baisantry:

Ajay Vijh:

Sanjay Agarwal:

Krishnan Reddy:

Raj Kumar:

Dr Debasis Mukherjee:

Ramasesh Iyer:

Jagjit Singh Esher:

Rajeev Srivatsava:

Sourav Choudhury:

Dr Nakul Dhagat:

S G Helkar:

Girish Deshpande, Dr Mahendra Agarwal:
Dr Raghavan Iyengar, Dr Pramod Bansod:
Arup Ghata, Arindam Sen :
Dr Shailendra Kumar:
Harish Nayyar:
Tanmoy Sankar Choudhury:

Ujjal Dutta:
Asim Banerjee:

Sumit Guha:
Please watch for the space..