Rtp - Todi
|Tanjavur K Murugabhoopathy|
|K V Gopalakrishnan|
|Ragam Tanam - Todi||Todi, Ragamalika - Ghana Ragam||taala||raghu||01:20||Sampler|
|Pallavi -Kalaye Sivatanayam Sada Bhajeham||Todi, Behag, Misra Sivaranjani, Hamsanandi||Khanda Triputa||raghu||01:20||Sampler|
TODI - Raagam Taanam Pallavi
Todi is one of the most powerful ragas of Carnatic music. The ability to render it is often considered to be the best measure of an artiste’s calibre. We find mention of Todi in a few ancient works like Sangita Samaya Sara of Parsvadeva (circa 11th century) and Sangita Ratnakara of Sarngadeva (circa 13th century. One also comes across names like Chaya Todi and Turushka Todi in Sangita Samaya Sara and Sangita Ratnakara. In the anubandham to the monumental Caturdandiprakasika of Venkatamahim), believed to have been authored by Muddu Venkatamakhin, we have JanaTodi classified as the 8th mela. In the sampurna mela system of Sangraha Cudamani, wherein Govindacharya replaced the katapayadi prefix ‘jana’ by ‘hanuma’ and thus we have HanumaTodi or just Todi. The Todi that we know of today has come down to us through the Trinity, Kshetrajna and other great vaggeyakaras. The latter’s equivalent in Hindustani system, is Bhairavi that.
In the hands of the great composers, Todi has received special treatment that has further enhanced its status among ragas. Earlier to the Trinity there may have been songs set to Todi. One such song of Purandara Dasa, Yenu dhanyalo lakumi is now sung in Todi. Kodanda rama of Bhadrachala Ramadasa is another early piece. Among the Trinity, it was Tyagaraja who left behind the largest corpus of songs in Todi. Amongst these, such songs as kaddanu variki, koluvamaregada, endudaginado and aragimpave are very popular on stage. Yet another kriti of Tyagaraja, rajuvedala is one of the Sriranga Pancaratnam and is on Lord Ranganatha. Emi jesitenemi is a very moving piece on the futility of being worldly.
Muttuswami Dikshitar composed a pada varna, rupamu juci on Lord Tyagaraja of Tiruvarur. The dhyana kriti of the kamalamba navaranam, is in Todi. Another kriti is dakshayani which is one of the abhayamba vibhakti kritis of Dikshitar. Shri subrahmanyo is a moving piece. Another song attributed to Muttuswami Dikshitar is Shri Krshnam bhaja.
Syama Sastry too has composed in Todi (thereby making Todi one of the few ragas in which each of the Trinity has composed). His nine nammi nanu is an absolute gem. So is his svarajati rave himagirikumari. His son Subburaya Sastry has given us nannu brocu taku and shri kamalambike in the raga.
Among those who composed varnams in the raga, Patnam Subramanya Iyer and Pallavi Gopalayyar stand out. Subramanya Iyer’s eranapai is a brisk beginner in concerts. Patnam has also composed a varnam in Shuddha Todi, (leaving out the pancama). Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer and his brother Ramaswami Sivan, composed Ananda natesha in the raga. Patnam’s disciple Poochi Iyengar kriti sri venkatesham is the most famous. His kriti satatamu brovumayya in Todi, composed for the coronation durbar of King George V in Delhi in 1912, is an interesting piece historically. Ghanam Krishna Iyer’s yar poi solluvar and many padams of Kshetragna further embellish this raga. Several of Gopalakrishna Bharati’s pieces have now been tuned in this raga. Muttutandavar’s enneramum, a humorous piece on Lord Nataraja is a very beautiful kriti.
With arrival of Papanasam Sivan, the raga received yet another bountiful harvest. Tanigai valar and tamadam en are but two examples. Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar made kartikeya gangeya of Sivan very famous.
Among the other great singers, G N Balasubramaniam was known for his rendition of tamadam en (Sivan) and Ananda natesha (Ramaswamy Sivan). The Alathoor Brothers rendered ninne nammi nanu (Syama Sastry) beautifully and so did K V Narayanaswamy. For extensive renditions of the raga both Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and M L Vasanthakumari were well known. M D Ramanathan made brindavana lola his own. T Brinda and T Mukta were famed for their renditions of emi jesite nemi and ne morabettite (both Tyagaraja). M S Subbulakshmi sang kartikeya gangeya (Sivan) often and D K Pattammal and DK Jayaraman rendered songs such as dacukovalena (Tyagaraja) most evocatively. Madurai Mani Iyer made his concets lively with his renditions of taye yashoda (Oothukkadu Venkatasubbayyar). Musiri Subramanya Iyer moved audiences to tear with his endu daginado (Tyagaraja).
Among the entire music fraternity, it was TN Rajarathinam Pillai, the nagaswara wizard, who was considered the emperor of Todi.
Predating Rajarathinam by many years was one Todi Sitaramayya who earned the prefix for his expertise in the raga.
The name Todi itself is a mystery. Many believe that it means that which is tough and that its full name (hanumatodi) means that which breaks the singer’s jaws, such being a measure of the difficulty involved in mastering it. Whatever be the meaning, it is considered the acme of musical excellence. It arouses varied emotions in its listeners. It is deep, alluring and mysterious in its captivating charm. In many ways it is the quintessence of Carnatic Music.