I was listening to a vintage recording of a padam in raga Saveri by stalwarts T.Brinda and T.Mukta recently. While the lyrics were evocative the richness in the melody stirred my soul. The advantage of listening to such greats is that one gets a fresh perspective of the raga every time you listen to it. Raga Saveri never fails to leave an impact on my soul whenever I listen to it. I’ve wept at a concert where KV Narayanaswamy sang this raga followed by the Tamil song, Muruga Muruga. For a moment I was embarassed and then I looked around to see that I wasn’t alone – there wasn’t a single dry eye in the audience.
Saveri is a raga that is rich in gamakas. It needs to be rendered slowly with the musician savouring each phrase and leaving a brief pause for the notes to sink in. It is not a melody that can be rushed into with too many fast phrases. It is a gently melody to be presented in an unhurried manner.
Compositions in this raga include Shyama Shastry’s Durusuga and Shankari Shankari, Tyagaraja’s Ramabana and Dikshithar’s Sri Rajagopala. In Durusuga the composer entreats the Mother Goddess to grant mercy to her devotee. Listen to this composition rendered by the Iyer brothers on the veena here.
The song Shankari Shankuru is very popular in the concert circuit with a classic neraval in the lines “Shyamakrishna Sodhari Shyamalesha Thodhari”.
Tyagaraja’s magnum opus Ramabana describes the power of Rama’s arrows – the composition is unique due to the nature of its theme.
My favourite is Periasamy Thooran’s composition Muruga Muruga Endral – here is a rendition of this song by MS Subbalakshmi.
There is no Hindustani equivalent to raga Saveri.
I’ve not heard this melody on the silver screen yet.
For those who want details, Saveri is a derivative of the 15th Melakarta raga Mayamalavagowla and the notes are as follows.