Monday, December 16, 2013

Bihag , My best friend !

Bihag ..apparently means "walk in the sky " .

One of my all time favorite ragas . Can never get enough of it .

I always think of a  lavender  shade when I listen to Bihag   ..and to me Bihag also has the subtle scent of lavenders . So many krithis have been composed in this Raga ,though we get to hear very few in Concert circles . Maharaja Swathi Thirunal is said to have introduced this Raga to South Indian music. Papanasivan Sivan has quite a few to his credit too. I am in awe of Prof TRS and the fact that he could visualize a varnam in Bihag .. Vanajaksha . Otherwise a 'post thani ' thukkada song raga .

Like any other Dwimadhyama raga Bihag  conjures up an image of an odyssey to me , albeit vocal, where  the footsteps take unexpected, but  smooth turns . 

Someone has to actually say "saramaina maata lenthu ra tchsaalu tchsaalu ra .." when I am on a Bihag trip. But I always feel "samayamide ra saami  " for Bihag.

As I Pen this , am visualizing a  colorful  Bihag Bouquet .( all lavender , of course ! ) that stuns me .Which one flower from the bouquet can I pick and choose to showcase its beauty .. ?  
My Bihag  blooms - embracing   ever so benevolently,   thillana's  by Sri LGJ , Dr BMK . Shri MDR ..whatever be the pace-  fast , slow , medium  -  alongside  the thukaddas by Shri Papanasam Sivan , Neelakanta Sivan et all , While the Hindustani Bhajans by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal and the krithi Smara janaka Shubha Charitha  peek out too and haunt me from the same bunch .

Hybrids abound in this bouquet ..what with  O S Arun ’s Hari Hari rama nama nanaramara judaku ..( Bhadrachala Ramadasar krithi ) Sheepishly I would like to call this a Bihag pettai rap! Or a stylish Misra Bihag in all its modern, trendy version – but with the same lavender hues and aroma , through Nanaam akhileshanu  Ghana sammuda - Maharaja  Swathi Thirunal  Bhajan rendered by Dr BMK .

So many Bihag buds in the bouquet .. Parama purusha by Narayana Theertar , Shree madhava vaasudevaa !- a version so beautifully rendered by Dr.Soumya capturing the essence of Bihag in all its glory only to be distracted by Aadum chidambaramo - a bhavam soaked Bihag by none other than  MS Amma . 

Now , yet another  lovely bloom begs for my attention  through a Lat uljha By Pandit Bhimsen  Joshiji  which  exposes the other side  of Bihag ! Rather the original, subtle  ,lavender shades by Pandits Channulal Mishra .. Ajoy chakraborty ..Chaurasia .  Ustad  Alauddin Khan’s  left- handed  bowing of  Bihag cant be left  far behind either .

Ever tried a Thaanam in Bihag ? Prince Rama Varma's Veena  thaanam in Bihag and aalaap immobilizes me for hours together playing in a loop . I choose to call  it Alpha level meditation . Need an equally melodious  Voletti garu Version to bring  me back to my world.

Bihag ! Capable of taking any form ..Krithi , Javali , Padam ..and  lending its scale to many  moods Shringaaram , Kaarunyam , Vaatsalyam ... Can you hear  Thottu , thottu  pesa  varaan ? By Periaswamy Thooran . Playing in my mind . Sorry! No external speaker attached  L 

Bihag ! Sounds  even more soulful  from an(y)  instrument ..String  or wind  .
While MSG ‘s strings  ties you down  to the ground  ..pondering  “idhu dhaano thillai Sthalam”  and makes you take a bow .

The wind   blows you out of this world while trying to frantically search for the “ Ni sa ga ma –pa ma ga ma ga”  pidi . Well  nothing  ‘mali”gnant  here .  It’s our  Flute Mali sir’s prowess  in a Bihag prasthaaram   which makes  you  discover  more  of Bihag . More lavender than lavender . !

Am I gushing  …shedding all  inhibitions ? ! That’s what   “Be hug”   my best  friend  does to me .  No. That was not a Typo . Feel  behugged  whenever  I listen to an authentic  Bihag.

While the colour and smell is Lavender , the feeling I associate with this Raga is that of abundance . Ironically it always , leaves me longing for more .

It has indeed  taken a lot of restraint  and self control to restrict  this post to Carnatic  songs in Bihag ..Quite  a few  Rafi , Kishore , Lata , KJY -numbers  are  waiting to pop out !

In yet another post , That !


Do listen to this whenever .. to get the feel , colour and smell of a Bihag Bouquet !

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful portrayal of Behag! ....Raju v