Carnatic Compositions – The Essence and Embodiment

Aparna Munukutla Gunupudi 

Our intent for this essay is to highlight the great features of the language, emotion and melody (rAgam) of a krithi (song/composition) and also to provide the song for your listening pleasure.  Most of you may know these krithis, but when you discover the distinct features of a krithi, you may enjoy a new beauty or an attribute in the krithi.

Note: Krithi is defined as a song containing pallavi, anupallavi and charanam that have high musical value and can be sung elaborately with improvisations.  Whereas, Keerthana also has a pallavi, anupallavi and charanam but is sung in a single form or simpler pattern.

Nanu gannathalli
raagam: kEsari
taaLam: dEshaadi
Composer: Tyagaraja
Language: Telugu


nanu ganna talli nA bhAgyamA nArAyaNi dharmAmbikE


kanakAngi ramApati sOdari karuNinchavE kAtyAyani


kAvu kAvumani nE morabeTTagA karuga demi madi kamala lochani
nIvu brOvakunna evaru brOturu sadA varamosage tyAgarAjanutE


nanu ganna talli – Oh mother, you have given birth to me
nA bhAgyamA – my privilege
nArAyaNi – nArAyaNi
dharmAmbikE – dharmAmbikE

kanakAngi – shines with a golden hue
ramApati – husband of ramA/VishNu
sOdari – sister
karuNinchavE – please be kind
kAtyAyani – kAtyAyani

kAvu kAvumani – to protect
nE mora beTTagA – I have pleaded to you
karuga demi – why aren’t you showing the mercy
madi – in your heart
kamala lochani – kamala lochani – lotus eyed
nIvu brOvakunna – if you don’t protect me
evaru brOturu – who else will rescue
sadA varamosage – you constantly bestow boons
tyAgarAjanutE – praised by Tyagaraja


Oh mother nArAyaNi and DharmAmbike, you have given birth to me and provided this privileged life.  Oh kAtyAyani, shining with a golden hue, you are the sister of ramA’s husband lord VishNu.  Please shower your kindness towards me.  Oh Kamala lOchani/lotus eyed goddess, I have been pleading with you to protect me yet you are not showing any mercy in your heart.  You are the one who constantly bestows boons and is praised by Tyagaraja.  If not for you, who else will protect me?

          Composer Tyagaraja refers to the universal mother kAtyAyani.  There is a saying that “once you are a mother then everybody is your child”!  Therefore, she is the mother to all of us.  She is the creator, sustainer, protector and provider with insatiable love and kindness!  That is what makes a mother so special and everyone should have the highest respect for their mother!  We have a very special treat from a mother and daughter duo singing this song.  We are sure that each of them is referring to her own mother and the divine mother!  It is a great joy and melodious treat for all the mothers!  We encourage you all to take time to treat your mother and spend time with her on this mother’s day and all through the year!

The power of music is profound
The joy of music is sweet and sound
The awe of music is abound
Music makes the world go round

Tanikella Chandra Bhanu is an accomplished Carnatic musician and a graded artist in All India Radio (AIR).  She teaches music at Smt. Durgabai Deshmukh Music College.  She has performed extensively in India and abroad.  She lives in Bangalore.  

Lakshmi Lavanya Tumuluru learnt Carnatic music from Sri Neti Srirama Sarma. She has performed a few concerts and provides vocal support along with her mother Smt. Tanikella Chandra Bhanu.  She is a software professional working in Information Technology.  She lives in Bangalore, India.


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