Harikambodhi is a melody that occupies prime real estate in the pantheon of Carnatic ragas. For some reason it is often overlooked as the center piece in a concert in favour of a similar sounding raga. Given the popularity of raga Shankarabharanam or raga Karaharapriya, carnatic music lovers couldn’t be faulted for thinking that Harikambhodhi (which is only a note different than the former) would share the same strong following. Unfortunately it does not enjoy the same regard in concert lists that even its janya (derivative) raga Kambodhi enjoys.The reasons for this step-sisterly treatment on the concert stage are not entirely clear to me. I’d love to hear from you dear reader your thoughts on this.
Fortuntely, Tyagaraja has composed several songs in Harikambodhi ranging from Ebthara Neethana to Dinamani Vamsha and Ramanannu Brovara, as have numerous other composers.
Here’s a classic rendition of Dinamani Vamsha by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar.
Raga Harikambodhi corresponds to raag Khamaj in the Hindustani style of music. Khamaj is one melody that is heard in ghazals and bhajans. Here’s a rendition of raag Khamaj by Pandit Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka.
This raga has been heard in many movies across genres and one of the most popular songs based on Harikambodhi was “Dil Hai Chota Sa” from the movie Roja.
My friend Shoba Narayan and I had presented a show “Classical Ragas in Indian Popular Music” recently at the Bangalore International Centre. Harikambodhi was one of the ragas that was heard by the audience. Here is a snippet of the raga that shows the transition from the silver screen to the classical music stage.
For those who want details, Harikambodhi is a Melakartha raga (28th) and the scale is as follows. SR2G3M1PD2N2 SN2D2PM1G3R2
I remain hopeful that Harikambodhi will get its due on the concert stage.