Harikambodhi is a melody that occupies prime real estate in the pantheon of Carnatic ragas. For some reason, it is often overlooked as the centrepiece 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 derivative raga Kambodhi enjoys. The reason for this step-sisterly treatment on the concert stage is not entirely clear to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – dear readers.
Fortunately, Tyagaraja has composed several songs in this Harikambodhi from Enthara Neethana to Dinamani Vamsha and Ramanannu Brovara as have other composers. Here’s a classic rendition of Dinamani Vamsha by Maharajapuram Santhanam.
Raga Harikambodhi corresponds to Raag Khamaj in Hindustani music. Here’s a rendition of Raag Khamaj by sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar along with his daughter Anoushka.
Khamaj is a melody that is popularly heard in bhajans and ghazals. Here is Lata Mangeshkar singing the popular bhajan Vaishnava Janato written by the Bhakti mystic Narsi Mehta.
This raga has been heard in some movies across genres. Here is an old Tamil movie song Malargalai Pol sung by T.M.Soundararajan in Paasa Malar.
HumRaag a collaboration with writer Shoba Narayan explores the classical roots of Indian popular music. The program has been presented in several cities across India. Here is a snippet from our first HumRaag show at the Bangalore International Center where shades of Raga Harikambodhi was heard in a film song.
For those who want details, Harikambodhi is a Melakartha raga (28th) and the scale is as follows. SR2G3M1PD2N2 SN2D2PM1G3R2
To hear a short podcast on raga Harikambodhi click here
I remain hopeful that Harikambodhi will get its due on the concert stage.