Nagumomu Ganaleni

Lord KrishnaKnowing my sorry plight, can’t you save me?’ begs Tyagaraja. The words of desperate but oh so beautifully set to music! The angst moves the composer who moves the air such that they shower emotions through our eardrums vibrating just so…

I wonder, did Krishna remain unmoved to Tyagaraja’s pleas? Then He is indeed made of stone, like the idols we worship….…but no, I am wrong. Even stone would melt, so beautiful is the composition.

My memories of this song is from early childhood.  My parents would take me to Carnatic Music concerts in R.R.Sabha in Kolkata where, after sitting for 15 minutes, I would beg to be allowed to play on the porch of the concert hall where all the other young ones would join me soon. One could still hear the music as there were loudspeakers outside. When I was tired I would come back to sit in my mother’s lap or sleep on my father’s shoulders. Its in that sleepy state that this divine music entered my soul where it still rules. My mother’s favourite vocalist was the incomparable Maestro Balamuralikrishna and of the songs he sang, Nagumomu was one of her favourites. So magical was his voice that even a child interested in play stopped to listen. Today when I listen to him singing Nagumomu, I feel the pleasure of my mother’s arms around me.

Click here for lyrics and translation and here for the notation. To know more about this raga, click here.

Whom else can I present but Balamuralikrishna ? He is famous for his expressive rendition of this song. This version is from the album Paddhati by Charsur Digital Workstation. The music was recorded in Bangalore in 1968. This then is the voice I remember.

Alternate link (not the same album) : Click here

For an instrumental version, listen to the extremely talented flute Maestro Shashank.



Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Telugu, M.Balamuralikrishna, Shashank, Tyagaraja, Uncategorized

13 responses to “Nagumomu Ganaleni

  1. Violet

    Such a beautiful song. I have no Carnatic music training except for listening to my grand mother’s bedtime songs. So much feeling in this.

    I am happy to see the notes puts on piano scales. I start Sa with D in violin when I want to try out any Carnatic songs, but then all the flats and sharps are messed up. Thanks so much for this.

    • Thank you Violet, I am glad you are enjoying the music. That connection you feel with your grandmother when you hear this music, that is very precious indeed! Cheers. Suja

  2. Ravi

    As I find time, I keep coming back to your blog to look over some your earlier posts. While this beautiful kriti reminds you of your mother, Suja, it takes me back to my daughter’s first formal rendition of a Carnatic composition in front of a decent crowd. She was around 10 then. Her 6+ mins performance was quite good for a 10 year old who is born and brought up in the U.S. and didn’t know a word of Telegu. Of course, I am prejudiced.

    I don’t think you could have a featured anyone better than BMK to highlight this kriti. I wish I could find the link to BMK’s 30+ minute rendition of that song. Towards the end of that version, the kanjira, mridangam and ghatam players go crazy, their fantastic interplay only interrupted/validated by an occasional “shabash” by the maestro. All you can say is “WOW!”

    It’s probably blasphemy to mention any other version after mentioning BMK’s rendition. Nevertheless, here’s another version of “Nagumo” from the Malayalam movie “Chitram:” Since the movie helped popularize Carnatic music, I hope I am forgiven for my insolence. My apologies anyway!

    Take care,
    – Ravi

    • Hi Ravi,
      Thank you for coming back to read old posts of mine. Actually, as there is no order to the posts, there is actually no time constraint on when they are read. I intend my blog to be a kind of reference site over time so that people who are interested in a kriti, a raga or a composer can come and check it out and listen to a well-rendered performance.

      I like it very much when readers such as yourself add their own memories to a song, and suggest an alternative rendition which is worthy of my readers’ consideration. Subsequent readers will surely benefit! I do not know of this Malayalam movie and I was pleased to listen to the song. I too have presented a film-version of a kriti in another post – Samaja vara gamana from the Telugu film Shankarabharanam. Though it is true that film singers can hardly be mentioned in the same breath as Carnatic maestros such as BMK, they too bring their own uniqueness to a rendition. It is not for comparison that we listen to various renditions, but for appreciating the differences and gaining a unique pleasure from each of them, isn’t it? So thank you for the link. I will see if I can find a subtitled version of the movie online somewhere – if it is a film promoting Carnatic music in any way, surely I should watch it?
      Cheers. Suja

      • Ravi

        Thanks for the reference to Shankarbharam and Samaja vara gamana, Suja. I took a quick peek. I see that you have featured N. Ramani and M.D. Ramanathan (in addition to the music from the movie). I’ll explore it further later. That should be time well spent.

  3. Anna

    Hi Suja,
    Great post with a lovely rendering by BMK. Thank you!
    Just a suggestion. As you know, Tyagaraja was a Rama devotee and it might be more accurate to say this kriti is addressed to Rama/Vishnu and not the Krishna avatar. References to the ‘foremost of the Raghus’ (raghuvara) and he whose call is answered by the ‘king of birds’ (khagaraju) point to this. The reference to the ‘bearer of the King of mountains’ (“nagarajadhara”) could be misleading many to consider it referring to Krishna & the Govardhana. But Govardhana is a hill while the Mount Mandara that Vishnu’s Kurmavatara bore on its back is considered the King of mountains (used to churn ksheerasagara). It might be worth amending the first part of this post.

    • Hi Anna,
      You are quite right! This is a post from 2011 when I started blogging..I was more focused on enjoying than the music than the translation. As you see I direct to other people’s site for meaning. Since then I have focused more and more on meaning. I should really look back and see whether there are glaring mistakes like this..sigh! I just dont have time to review the old posts! But I will make a note for myself, thank you for pointing it out.
      Cheers. Suja

  4. manickudy

    I had the privilege to hear this great song in a chamber music rendition by Sri Balamurlikrishna at Sehadrripuram in Bangalore in Dec 1977.

    • What a precious memory to have! I too remember attending his concert once in Delhi when he sang Nagumomu Ganaleni. It was one of my mother’s favourite kritis so I remember it well..thanks for triggering that memory as I remember my mother’s happy face along with the song!

      Cheers. Suja

  5. RC

    It is commendable, your blog, Suja.

    Nagumomu is probably my father’s most favourite MBK rendition. He loves the composition much so that when he saw the Gajendra moksham carvings in the Delhi Akshardham, my father immediately broke into ‘khagaraju nee anati vini’!

    Now I have my own MBK favourites (for example, I am typing this listening to his wonderful Kunthalavarali thillana), but Nagumomu always makes me think of home and Dad.

    Btw, there is also a movie rendition of Nagumomu by Yesudas in a Telugu movie.

    • Thank you for your kind comment.

      You have succinctly said what is in effect my approach to this blog – that music does not stand alone, and our appreciation is dictated not only by the beauty of the lyrics, composition and the musician but also by the experiences we ourselves associate with music. You think of your dad when you hear Nagumomu, and I think of my mom. It is without question that Nagumomu is an exceptionally beautiful song. Everyone will admit that BMK demonstrated his mastery of this genre. But it is special to you and to me for very personal reasons, and those reasons supersede every other consideration. Often I bring up personal experiences when I write this blog for that very reason.

      Cheers. Suja
      PS. Yes, I have heard the Yesudas version.

  6. VS

    I am sure you will enjoy this version too….

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