Charukeshi : Introduction

Charukeshi (pronounced chārukēsi) is a rāga in Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is the 26th Melakarta rāgam in the 72 melakarta rāgam system of Carnatic music. It is called Tarangini in Muthuswami Dikshitar school of Carnatic music.

Charukesi is known to incite feelings of pathos and devotion in the listener.

Structure and Lakshana

It is the 2nd rāgam in the 5th chakra Bana. The mnemonic name is Bana-Sri. The mnemonic phrase is sa ri gu ma pa dha ni. Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure is as follows :

ārohaṇa: S R2 G3 M1 P D1 N2 S
avarohaṇa: S N2 D1 P M1 G3 R2 S
(chathusruthi rishabham, anthara gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham, kaisiki nishadham)

It is a sampoorna rāgam – a rāgam that has all seven swaras (notes). It is the shuddha madhyamam equivalent of Rishabhapriya, which is the 62nd melakarta.

Janya rāgams

There are only a few minor janya rāgams (derived scales) associated with Charukesi. See full list of janya rāgams associated with it.

Popular compositions

Adamodi Galade by Thyagaraja, “Karunai Varuumo” by Papanasam Sivan and Kripaya pālaya sowrae by Swati Tirunal are popular kritis (compositions) set in Charukesi. Lalgudi Jayaraman, the acclaimed violinist and composer, 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.

Many compositions exist amongst modern adaptations of Charukesi, especially in Indian movies, in the so-called film songs. An example is the song Ahista Ahista from the movie Swades, Chanda Re from the movie Sapnay, Teri Umeed Tera Intezar from the movie Deewana, Dhaandiya Aattam from the movie Kadhalar Dhinam, Aye Kash Kavi Aisa Hota from the movie Mohra,Vasanta mullai poalae from the Tamil movie Sarangadara, Edho Edho Ondru from the Tamil movie Enakku Iruvathu, Unakku Padhinettu, ‘Aadal Kalaye’ from Sri Raghavendra and Udaya Udaya from another Tamil movie Udhaya. Another composition in this raaga is the song Bombe Aatavaiyya from the Rajkumar starrer Kannada movie Shruthi Seridaaga. Arguably the best rendition of Charukesi in a Hindi movie is Baiyya Na Dharo sung by Lata Mangeshkar and composed by Madan Mohan from the movie Dastak. Charukesi is also popular in Hindustani music.

Bhavgeet He Surano Chandra Vha composed by Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki and ghazal Main Hosh Mein Tha performed by Mehdi Hassan are other well known examples of Charukesi.

In Malayalam, one of the all-time greatest songs are in Charukesi: ‘Akale akale neelaakaasam’ (from the movie ‘Midumidukki’, 1968). This was composed by Baburaj and sung by Yesudas and S. Janaki. There are claims that this raga is actually a very rare janya raga of Charukesi, Ushaabharanam (s g m d p m d n s / s n d p m g r g m r s).

In the 2012 release of his devotional album on Lord Ayyappan SABARIMALAI VA CHARANAM SOLLI VA, ace singer P. Unni Krishnan renders a song on Raga Charukesi, UTHIRATHIL UDHITHAVANE SOL, signifying the Lord’s birth star UTHIRAM. This album was composed and released by Manachanallur Giridharan, a noted Music Director from Tamil Nadu.

In western music, charukesi like structures are encountered in Franz Schubert’s famous Impromptu C Minor Allegro molto moderato and also in Russian Composer Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov’s ‘Procession of the Sardar’ from his Orchestral Suite, Caucasian Sketches.

Related rāgams

This section covers the theoretical and scientific aspect of this rāgam.

Charukesi’s notes when shifted using Graha bhedam, yields 3 other major melakarta rāgams, namely, Vachaspati, Natakapriya and Gourimanohari. Graha bhedam is the step taken in keeping the relative note frequencies same, while shifting the shadjam to the next note in the rāgam. For further details and an illustration, see Graha bhedam on Vachaspati.

Important Anuvaadi
Tanpura TuningP
Other Characteristics
Similar Raagas
Popular Film Songs1. Aaj dil pe koi jor chalta nahin
Film: Milan
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar
Music Director:
2. Akele hain, chale aao, jahaan ho
Film: Raaz
Singers: Mohammad Rafi
Taala: Dadra
Music Director:
3. Baiyan na dharo, o balama
Film: Dastak
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar
Taala: Sitarkhani
Music Director: Madan Mohan
Poet: Majrooh Sultanpuri
4. Bedardi balama tujh ko, mera man yaad karta hai
Film: Aarzoo
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar
Taala: Dadra
Music Director: Shankar Jaikishan
Poet: Hasrat Jaipuri
5. Bekhudi mein sanam, uth gaye jo kadam
Singers: Mohammad Rafi
Taala: Keharva
Music Director:
6. Shyam teri bansi pukare radha naam
Film: Geet Gata Chal
Singers: Jaspal Singh Aarti Mukherji
Taala: Dadra
Music Director: Ravindra Jain
Poet: Ravindra Jain
Non-Film Songs 1. Ab ke hum bichhare, to shayad kabhi (Ghazal)
Singers: Mehdi Hassan
Music Director:
Poet: Ahmed Faraz
Non-Film Songs