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#Musings with Nitin Amin: Raga Kirwani

21 Song Salute to the Great Lata

How many of you recognize this song Ka karu sajani aaye na baalam…? This song that has a beautiful ability to invoke a sense of yearning, is based on raga Kirwani.

There are a lot of songs that flirt with raga Kirwani. See if you can remember the tunes of “Yaad na jaye, bite dino ki…”, “Yeh raat bheegi bheegi, yeh mas fizayen…”, “Yeh raaten yeh mausam nadee ka kinara…”, “O neend na mujko aaye…”, “Mera dil yeh pukare aaja…”, “Kahe jhoom jhoom raat yeh suhani….”, “Main pyaar ka rahi hoon…”, “Geet gata hun main, gungunata hun main….”, “Bekrar dil, tug gaye ja…”.

All these songs, we can say are linked to the scale of Kirwani. And if we refer to the scale of Kirwani, then even this song would fit to it “Kya janu sajan hoti hai kya gum ki sham…”.

As advanced listeners of Hindustani Classical Music, it is important to find out if there is a difference between the scale of Kirwani and the raga Kirwani.

Kirwani has been imported from Carnatic music and the ragas which we have borrowed from Carnatic music have been adapted more as scales - a set of swaras that do not have a complex chalan. The scale of Kirwani has komal gandhar, komal dhaivat, and rest are shuddha swaras.

All the songs which we heard were based on this scale of Kirwani and it is okay to add one or two swara here or there besides the swara set of Kirwani. It is this versatility that composers have used with great creativity over the years.

The second point is that a scale does not have a chalan. The set of swara does not have any specific way to render it as there is no chalan to it. But when we try to convert this scale into raga for a khayal performance, we start searching for consonant pairs and then go on to devise a chalan of the raga. We naturally find the pair of pancham and rishabh, and as they become prominent we start using the ‘Pa – Re’ sangati to explore raga Kirwani. Then, as the phrases start forming, the picture starts completing and it sounds like raga Kirwani!

So two points to remember: firstly we did not use any swara other than those in the swara set, and secondly we treated some swara prominently to make our own chalan.

Watch the full Youtube Episode in HINDI and a bandish in Raga Kirwani Raga Parichay : Kirwani

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