Ask any Carnatic musician what their favourite raga is, their instant reply would be Sahana. A beautiful one that would evoke mixed emotion of the listeners. It is such a simple raga that a common man who loves good music can relate himself to it.
Almost every composer in our genre of music must have composed one in this raga. Surprisingly this raga is not a melody of great antiquity either in terms of it name or melodic contours.
In classical music, Sahana has been used widely by saint Thyagaraja and Dikshitar. Sri Kamalambikayam by Dikshitar and Thyagaraja’s Vandanamu are popular.
Rama Ika Nannu of Patnam Subramanya Iyer and Chittam Irangaada of Papanasam Sivan are popular among music-lovers. Remember Thyagaraja has composed 10 krithis in this raga.
The song ‘Pathiniye Unpol Itharaimeethinil‘ in ‘Kannagi‘ in P U Chinnappa’s voice was based on Sahana. It was set to tunes by S V Venkataraman.
In Sivakavi, M K Thyagaraja Bhagavatar sang ‘Thamiyen Painthamizh‘ in praise of Tamil language. Lyrics were by Papanasam Sivan. ‘Parthen Sirithen‘ from ‘Veera Abhimanyu‘, composed by K V Mahadevan and penned by Kannadasan is a delight to listen.
‘Rukku Rukku‘ in Avvai Shanmugi, composed by Deva, was set in Sahana. A R Rahman came up with ‘Azhage Sugama‘ in ‘Parthale Paravasam‘ set in the raga.