Identity of a Raga – Dwijavanti/Jaijaiwanti

– Meera Sundar

Dwijavanti is a Carnatic Raaga that derives its roots from the Hindustani Raag Jaijaiwanti. Muthuswami Dikshitar, one of the Carnatic Trinity, is widely acknowledged as the one who introduced Dwijavanti in Carnatic Music. His two famous compositions: ‘Akhilaandeshwari Rakshamaam’ and ‘Chethashri Baalakrishnam’ are two gems in Dwijavanti. To this day, these two songs stand as references for this raaga.

Here is a fantastic rendition of Akhilandeshwari, by Lalgudi Jayaraman:

And, here is Chethashri by Sanjay Subrahmanyan:

Another interesting composition in Dwijavanthi is Tharuni Njaan, attributed to Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, and popularized by Palakkad K V Narayanaswamy:

So, by now, we surely think that Dwijavanti is slow-paced and sedate. But, there are two faster thillanas in this raaga, composed by Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna and Lalgudi Jayaraman.

Here’s Dr. BMK ripping it:

Pretty fascinating, no?

Other songs include: Engu naan selven (Periyasami Thooran) and Parama mangalade (Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhaagavathar).

While Dwijavanti has a distinct flavour, when trying to sing/play it, one might notice that it rubs shoulders with Sahana, in certain phraseology. And, with Sahana being a more popular raga in Carnatic, students (like me), need to stay wary while trying to practice Dwijavanti. Dwijavanti is not strictly scale-based, but the swaras in it include: Ri2, Ga3, Ma1,Pa, Da2, Ni2. And, a distinct Ga2 on descent. Signature phrases include: |ri ga ma pa ma ga ma ri ga2 ri|| ;  | ri ga ma ni da pa ma ga ma ri ga2 ri|| ;  |ri ni,, da pa ma ga ma ri ga2 ri||;  | pa Ri.. ni da pa ma ga ma ri ga2 ri|| and more such. Though some feel that this raga is slightly limited in scope, several artistes have explored this raaga extensively in Ragam-Thanam-Pallavi.

Moving northward, here is the legendary Jaijaiwanti, by the great Bismillah Khan (Shehnai) and V.G. Jog (violin). This is one of my personal favourites. Headphones on, eyes shut… soar away.

As we go, I realize that Jaijaiwanti is quite a versatile raga. It lends itself beautifully to ghazal singing also. Check out Ghulam Ali’s lovely Dost bankar bhi:

Note that Jaijaiwanti seems to employ the Shuddha Nishaad (Ni3) also, liberally (while Dwijavanti does not).

Let’s also check out how the film world has used Dwijavanti / Jaijaiwanti:

First up, pure, unadulterated Jaijaiwanti, in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice, music by Shankar Jaikishan.

Mann Mohana Bade Jhoothe from the 1955 movie Seema:

Have you heard this song called Mouname Paarvaiyai from Anbe Sivam (2003)? I believe this song was never featured in the movie, but was part of the audio release. This song is mostly based in Dwijavanti.

Check it out here: (Sung by SPB and Chandrayee; Music: Vidyasagar)

Here’s a lovely song sung by Vani Jairam & Jayachandran, from the 1977 MGR movie Maduraiyai Meeta Sundara Pandian (Music by MS Viswanathan ).

Amudha Thamizhil Ezhudhum

Also check out ‘Virahini Radhefrom the Malayalam movie Mister Butler (2000), sung by KJ Yesudas and Chithra. Vidyasagar does some beautiful instrumental work here, with the opening flute and the edaykka. And, the amazing interlude with the veena. Brilliant song!

Manasuna manasai is from the Telugu movie Dr. Chakravarthy (1963) , sung by Ghantasala (music by S. Rajeswara Rao). The use of the sitar in this song is such a #win. So is Ghantasala’s voice.

A.R. Rahman used Dwijavanti in the arthouse movie Andhimanthaarai (1996), in one of the theme songs. This is the opening instrumental theme, and it seems to be called Theme 2. Up till 0:57 seconds or so, before the dialogues start, the music is clear.  Check here:

So, this is my round-up for raaga Dwijavanti/Jaijaiwanti. I hope you enjoyed listening to this beautiful raga. If you have any more info on the raga, do write in your comments. 

(Meera is a lifelong student of music, currently training under Smt. Padma Shankar. Meera plays the Carnatic violin, and plays in the Chennai carnatic scene, both as an accompanist and soloist. Across genres, some of her favourite musicians include: Lalgudi Jayaraman, Itzhak Perlman, A.R. Rahman, Rashid Khan and Hariharan, among many others. She is currently dabbling with the piano and tripping on Pink Floyd and Ilayaraja. She’s @msundr on Twitter)

Tags: , , ,