Humming Now is a series of posts, taking a glimpse of music, one raga at a time. That raga is the reference point of my posts, should hopefully not take away the fact that the music itself it exoteric, not esoteric. Raga-based listening is truly a learning experience, even if you don’t know anything about them. For example, I try to associate songs of the same raga, but don’t know anything about the ragas themselves.

If you want to follow someone, who does the same thing as I do, but with a little bit of more technical flair to it, you might want to consider Charulatha Mani — she has a television series as well as DVD collection of a set of ragas — with focus on the technicalities of the raga and a glimpse of popular music, although I must warn you — her singing has much to be desired.

Also, in my informal learning experience, I have developed a tendency to associate certain ragas with certain musicians — only because they are skilled in bringing out the best of that raga. One of the best examples, and the topic for this post, is the raga Hamsanadam.

If you want to get a taste of Hamsanadam, look no further — just listen to TN Seshagopalan — it doesn’t matter which song you pick, what length you pick — he is, IMO, most capable of bringing out the essence of this raga.

Of course, when it comes to popular music, there are several examples — I would like to highlight two songs. Isaiyil Thodangudhamma is a song sung by Ajoy Chakrabarty, one of the best Hindustani singers. This song comes to my mind, immediately after TN Seshagopalan’s Bantureeti. If you have a more folkish taste, there cannot be a better example than Sorgame Endraalum. While both songs are composed by Ilayaraja, he is also credited for writing the first one and singing the second one.