Given the need to stay virtual with our events we cannot meet for an in-person puja for Ramanavami. Here are three musical items to bring some gladness into the heart.
The Hindu festival of Ramanavami celebrates the life of Sri Rāmachandra, Prince of Ayodhya and his family.
Bhāvayāmi Raghurāmam is a song beloved by many Indians which tells a sacred story of Prince Rāma and Princess Sītā. The composition was originally rendered by Maharaja Sri Swāti Tirunāl in a single rāgam Sāveri, Rupaka tālam. The current popular version is a modification by Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer in multiple rāgas. More technical details about this composition can be found here: http://karthikaprasanth.com/general/bhavayami-raghuramam-ragamalika/
The story, or rather stories, of the life of Prince Rāma and Princess Sītā are centuries-old and include countless variations infused by local cultures and histories. They have been conveyed in the form of music, dance, literature and art in numerous languages. The fascination continues through modern renderings on TV and robust debates on the values and norms reflected in the stories. The Bhāvayāmi Raghurāmam harkens back to an early version called Vālmīki-Rāmāyaṇam, i.e., the Rāmāyaṇa composed by the poet Valmīkī.
There are many recordings of this famous composition. The particular one linked here is by KS Chitra:
Here is a translation by PR Ramachander of the lyrics into English: http://translationsofsomesongsofcarnticmusic.blogspot.com/2010/05/bhavayami-raghu-ramam.html
Some Hindu Life at Yale members may also be familiar with the music of MS Subbulakshmi, a legend in Carnatic vocal music and literally considered a jewel of India. Here is a link to her recording as an extra bonus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCf-ew-8xwM
In addition, recordings of two recent concerts sponsored by the Raga Club of Connecticut. You will have to manually start them at the beginning but they are lively:
flute, violin and mridangam: https://youtu.be/L5l9rt-UpFs
Premiered Feb 13, 2021
Sri N. Visveshwar - Flute
Master Vishal Sowmyan - Violin
Sri Mali Santhanakrishnan – Mridangam
Vocal, violin and mridangam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4k7koh6aZ0
Premiered March 13, 2021
Sri Aswath Narayanan - Vocal
Sri L Ramakrishnan - Violin
Sri NC Bharadwaj - Mridangam