Lyrical Love Compositions

Javalis are lyrical compositions with Shringara rasa or romantic love being the central theme of the composition. Veteran musician Neela Ramgopal gave a lecture demonstration on Javalis at the morning session of the 46th annual conference of the Bangalore Gayana Samaja on 14th October 2014. A frequent performer in the Bangalore concert circuit, Neela Ramgopal is a much sought after teacher and is the recipient of numerous state and sabha awards such as the Sangitha Kala Acharya and Sangeetha Kala Rathna. Her lec-dem delivered in a very accessible manner, brought to life what could have otherwise easily been a dry topic for the regular concert goer.

I’ve briefly covered some of the key insights she shared about javelis even while treating the listeners to some nice renditions in her own inimitable style.

Swati Tirunal, the Maharaja of Travancore and noted composer, was one of the pioneers of this musical genre. Giriraja Kavi was another musician who has composed javalis with a wide ranging appeal.

Javalis were predominantly composed in Telugu by composers such as Dharmapuri Subbarayar, Pattabhiramayya and Tirupati Narayanaswamy. The Kannada poet Kappana composed javalis in his native language Kannada which carried the signature “Nanjundalingiah”. A javali usually has a pallavi, anupallavi and one or more charanams. Popular javalis can be heard in light classical ragas such as Kamas, Paraz, Amir Kalyani, Kapi, Jenjutti and the rarely heard Saindhavi.

Neela Ramgopal presented the first javali in raga Paraz “Smarasundaranguni”, a composition of Dharmapuri Subbarayar which is believed to have been composed in praise of the Carnatic music doyen Veena Dhanammal. The evocative composition “Enthani ninnu ne veduthu rana Dorasaamy” of Karur Dakshinamurthy in raga Kambodhi was beautifully rendered. Tirupathi Narayanaswamy’s “Bhagyarani” in raga Kapi, Pattabhiramayya’s “Nee maatalu maayanura” in raga Purvikalyani” and the lively “Appaduru” in raga Kamas were a treat to the ears. The piece de resistence of the program was a ragamalika composition of Mysore Sadashiva Rao, “Panchabhanudana” in ragas Thodi, Abhogi, Shankarabharanam, Kambodhi and Sahana. This composition had chittaswarams in the different ragas, a rarity among the javalis.

Neela Ramgopal was accompanied by her disciples Yoga Kirtana and Priyanka Prakash and supported on the mridangam by Ranjani Venkatesh. The entire presentation was clear and concise and had the audience fully engaged. It was gratifying to see a good crowd turned up for the presentation and I sincerely hope we will get to hear more of these lovely lyrical compositions on the concert platform.

You can catch the entire lec-dem in the video below

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About Chitra Srikrishna 50 Articles
Chitra Srikrishna is a Carnatic vocalist and writer living in Bengaluru & Columbus. Chitra blogs for Sruti, runs the podcast Raga Ruminations and produces RaagTime, a radio show on Indian music. Her albums include devotional poetry of Tamil Alwars & Dasa kritis, & thematic compositions on Rama and Hanuman. She's the musical half of a multimedia performance duo HumRaag. Her program BHAKTHI explores the journey of the mystics of India. Her latest Antah Prerna -A Musical Telling of an Entrepreneur's Journey debuted at Bangalore International Centre in 2018.