A rare glimpse of Chalanatta ragam

Chalanatta is an extremely uncommon raga in Carnatic music; I hadn’t heard of it before coming across the following video, but upon hearing the first few lines of this song, I was captivated. Chalanatta is a vivadi raga, meaning that it contains notes placed close to each other–in this case, those notes would be ri (R3) and ga (G3), and dha (D3) and ni (N3). When executed properly, these pairs of notes can have a really haunting effect. Here’s a rough diagram of the raga:

36-chalanatta
These rough diagrams don’t do justice to what a raga really is, but they’re better than nothing. source

This particular song, Jaladhi Suta, was composed by Maharaja Swati Tirunal, whose compositions I have highlighted before. In fact, this particular performance took place at a festival celebrating his musical legacy. It’s sung by Sanjay Subrahmanyan, one of my favorite vocalists (who will be coming to Chicago this May!). The gamakas (oscillations between notes) in this raga are incredible; enjoy!

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