Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Tagore, More Music

This one comes with another little story. I had been sifting through some online music service, looking for more Rabindrasangeet songs by Suchitra Mitra, but chanced upon this one by Kavita Krishnamurthy. I was initially put off, wondering at why they chose to tune it to a typically South Indian raga, until I chanced upon this earlier rendition by  Kanika Banerji and realized that Tagore had originally intended for it to be sung in Carnatic raga Simhendramadhyamam.
The story behind this choice comes from this anecdote about Savitri Krishnan, one of what must have been the few South Indian students to go all the way to Santiniketan for their studies.
"A large part of the interview deals with the Carnatic tunes Tagore picked up from Savitri Devi to compose some of his most well-known songs. Even at the age of seventy, I think she did a great job in rendering the Tamizh and the Bengali versions.

There were two songs that she sang. The Bengali counterparts are "Basanti hey Bhuvanomohini" and "Bedona ki bhashaey re". I have cropped out the Bengali conversation from the interview and retained only the English words she used and the songs she sang (both in Tamizh and Bengali).

I have also added another famous Tagore song "Baaje karuno shurey". This was sung by Smt. Kanika Bandyopadhyay during Tagore's Birth Centenary Celebrations in 1961. The original Tamizh(sic) version "Nidu charanamooley" in the recording below was sung by Swagatalakshmi Dasagupta (1999)."
That brought me full circle to the original Thyagaraja krithi in Telugu (not Tamil as mentioned above) that was the  inspiration for Baje Karuno shure, sung by Rabindrasangeet expert Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta , which she has sung quite creditably well. She is trained in Hindustani singing, and the influence shows in her singing.

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