Know your raga: Charukesi – Melting melody

A raga that evokes melts the hearts of listeners. Charukesi which means with beautiful hair, is known to incite feelings of pathos and devotion in the listener.

It is called Tarangini in Muthuswami Dikshitar school of Carnatic music. It is the 26th Melakarta ragam in the 72 melakarta ragam system of Carnatic music.

In Classical music

The kriti Adamodi Galade by saint Thyagaraja is very popular in this raga. Swati Tirunal’s Kripaya Palaya is also widely sung in concerts. Karunai Varuumo by Papanasam Sivan is set in Charukesi.

Lalgudi Jayaraman, the acclaimed violinist, has composed a very popoular varnam in Charukesi called Innum En Manam.

This varnam was a favorite of Maharajapuram Santhanam, who began a large chunk of his concerts with this song. Palayamam Parameswari, a composition of Sri Muthuswami Dikshadar in Raga Tarangini is a fine example of charukesi of today.

In Cinema

The most earliest film song in this raga is Manmadha Leelaiyai from the film Haridas.

Sung by M K Thyagaraja Bhagavatar, it was written by Papanasam Sivan with orchestration of G Ramanathan. For MGR starrer Madurai Veeran, G Ramanathan’s composed Aadal Kaaneero in Charukesi.

It was crooned by M L Vasantakumar. Also Ramanathan’s Vasantha Mullai from Sarangadhara was popular.

M S Viswanthan had a great love for Charukesi. Azhagiya Tamizh Magal Ival from Rickshawkaaran and Muthuthaaragai from Oru Kai Osai were set in this raga.

Ilayaraja’s Aadal Kalaiye, sung by Yesudas (Sri Raghavendra), Amma Nee Sumanda Pillai (Annai Or Aalayam) and Thoodhu Selvadaaradi (Singaravelan) are classic examples. Even Deva composed the song Engengey Engengey for the film Nerukku Ner in this raga. A R Rahman’s Udhaya Udhaya was inspired by Charukesi.