Category Archives: ಅಮೃತ ವರ್ಷಿಣಿ

ಅಮೃತ ವರ್ಷಿಣಿ अमृत वर्षिणी

Chitti Babu -Veena-02





Performed by Chitti Babu on Veena

This raga derives its name from the two words “Amrit” and Varshini”. It means one which showers “amrit” or the elixir of immortality.

A particular incident, which occurred in connection with this raga, may be of interest to the reader. During his visit to Ettayapuram,  a small village in Tamilnadu, the great composer Muthuswamy Dikshithar (late 18th century and early 19th century) was shocked to see people suffering owing to a draought. He looked up at the sky and sang in praise of the goddess Devi in the raga Amruthavarshini. The moment he uttered the words “salilam varshaya, varshaya” there was a heavy downpour and the place was flooded.
Then he had to appeal to the Goddess “Sthambhaya; sthambhaya” meaning, stop’ stop”
Even today musicians sing – “Amruthavarshini” raga to invoke the Rain God. The corresponding raga in Hindustani music is “Malashree”


Amruthavarshini   is the Janya raga of 66th  Melakartha Raga , Chithrambari
This raga is considered as the Raga of Rain.It is believed that Muthuswami Deekshithar sung this Raga and made rain come,in Ettayapuram, Tamil Nadu.
Not  many  compositions are available  in this Raga.

Famous works in Amruthavarshini

Sudhamaye sudhanidhi       – Muthayya Bhagavathar
Saraseeruvinayane              – Thyagaraja swamikal
Anandamruthakarshini       – Muthu swami deekshithar

Amruthavarshini (Kannada: ಅಮೃತ ವರ್ಷಿಣಿ, Hindi: अमृत वर्षिणी )

Amritavarshini is a rāgam in Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is an audava rāgam (or owdava rāgam, meaning pentatonic scale). It is a janya rāgam (derived scale), as it does not have all the seven swaras (musical notes).

It is a common pentatonic scale of Carnatic music and is believed to produce rain. It is said that the Carnatic composer Muthuswami Dikshitar brought rain at Ettayapuram, Tamil Nadu, India by singing his composition Aanandaamrutakarshini Amruthavarshini

Amritavarshini is a rāgam that does not contain rishabham  or dhaivatam. It is a symmetric pentatonic scale (audava-audava  ragam[1][2]  in Carnatic music classification – audava meaning ‘of 5’). Its āroha- avaroha structure (ascending and descending scale) is as follows

āroha    : S G3 M2 P N3 S
avaroha : S N3 P M2 G3 S

The notes used in this scale are shadjam, antara gandharam, prati madhyamam, panchamam, kakali nishādham)

Amritavarshini is considered a janya rāgam of Chitrambari, the 66th Melakarta rāgam, though it can be derived from other melakarta rāgams, Kalyani, Gamanashrama or Vishwambari, by dropping both rishabham and dhaivatam.

There is another scale that has the same name but is less practiced in current performances. This scale is associated with the 39th melakarta Jhalavarali

Graha bhēdham

Amritavarshini’s notes when shifted using Graha bhedam, yields 1 popular pentatonic rāgam, Karnataka Shuddha Saveri. 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 more details and illustration of this concept refer Graha bhedam on Amritavarshini

Technical Notes :

From List of Carnatic Ragas

66 | chithrAmbari
amRuthavarshiNi      |66| S G3 M2 P N3 S          | S N3 P M2 G3 S

(Courtesy open source documents)



Chitti Babu Veena

Chitti Babu Veena

Chitti Babu (1936-1996)

Chitti Babu (1936-1996) was one of the most famous Veena artistes of India, who had carved his place amongst the all-time greats who played that instrument. A man who became a Legend in his own Lifetime, his name was synonymous with the instrument “Veena”, and he was and is still known in the Carnatic music world, quite simply as “Veena” Chitti Babu. While continuing with the principles of his Guru’s pioneering school – the Emani “Bani” (tradition/style), Chitti Babu, created and evolved a distinctive style and identity, entirely his own. The exquisite tonal quality and versatility that have been his magical hallmarks of his style of playing the Veena, saw him produce sounds as varied as the majestic Vedic Hymns or as delicate as the Cuckoo’s voice or even play many western-music based compositions of his own. He was known to reproduce the songs and compositions in an almost vocal like tonal quality on his Veena, and was also known to evoke deeply emotional and appreciative responses from his audiences.

His music could impress the connoisseurs and invoke the interest and curiosity of the youngsters as well, that always ensured that his concerts were a big draw in terms of audience.

His albums sold like hot cakes during his time, and still continue to do brisk business in this genre of music

He had traveled extensively across India and also to USA, Europe, Australia, Middle East and Asia Pacific and had performed to jam packed auditoriums for nearly 5 decades, transcending many barriers and taking his music and along with it, a part of India’s rich cultural heritage across the world.

Groomed in the Emani tradition, by his Guru, Emani Sankara Sastry, Chitti Babu soon created and evolved a style that was distinctly his own.

Whether it was in the nature of his plucking the strings or the varied patterns that he could evoke on the stringed instrument, he had a “unique touch” that was his hallmark, making fans instantly recognize it as his very own special gift to the world.

Stressing on melody and Bhava (emotion) above all else, Chitti Babu aimed to touch people’s hearts through a style of playing that never failed to strike its mark.

Like other instrumentalists, he too never enjoyed the advantage of moving an audience through the power of the lyrics of the song. He had to win them over with nothing but the sheer melodious rendering of the song and raga.

He believed in playing in such a manner as to convey the true meaning and essence of the song and its Bhava (emotion).

Whether he played a composition extolling the virtues of love, compassion, tranquility, heroism, sadness, or Bhakti (Devotion), the most telling and fulfilling aspects of his performances were visible when fans used to spontaneously come and compliment/embrace him for the way in which his music touched them deeply.


Early Childhood

1936-1948 – in Pithapuram/Kakinada, AP

Chitti Babu Challapally was born on October 13th, 1936, in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India, to music-loving parents, Ranga Rao Challapally and Sundaramma Challapally, who named him Hanumanlu, when he was born

Chitti Babu was his nick name at home, which came to stay eventually, after his father formally changed it to be so. He was a child prodigy who started playing Veena at the tender age of 5.

He had a providential beginning, when at that tender age, he corrected his father playing the Veena and the stunned father spontaneously decided to let go of his own practice and chose to focus on getting his son started on the Veena and nurture the child’s inherently prodigious talent.  He had his basic training very early from Shri. Pandravada Upmakaya and Shri. Eyyuni Appalacharyulu, both whom recognized the boy’s genius very early, and strongly urged Ranga Rao to encourage his son in pursuing the art.

He gave his first performance at the age of 12.

Initially named Hanumanlu Challapally
Nickname at home – Chitti Babu, and this came to stay
Later, formally changed by his father to be Chitti Babu

Started playing the Veena at age 5
Gave his first full fledged concert at the age of 12
Moved to Chennai in 1948

1948-1962 – Chennai, Tamil Nadu

In 1948, they moved to Madras (now Chennai) primarily because they got the opportunity for Chitti Babu to act in a Telugu movie “Laila- Majnu” as a child artiste. However, Chitti Babu even as a child of 12, was very focused and determined on becoming a musician, after the movie assignment. He was inspired by the original style of another renowned Veena maestro Emani Sankara Sastry (1922-1987) and was under his tutelage, learning all the nuances and honing his skills.

Like any struggling artiste of that era, it was also difficult for him to get the first major breaks as a performing artiste and more so as a teenager. So, he had a significant stint in film music from 1948-1962, when he worked in the South Indian Film Industry as a recording artiste, playing Veena for background scores in movie soundtracks under the batons of many eminent music directors of the time.

However, the burning ambition inside him to break away and establish himself as an independent, freelancing performing artiste made him declare at a very young age – “Veena is my Mission in Life”.



The Guru of Chitti Babu

Guru – “Maha Mahopadhyaya” Dr. Emani Sankara Sastry

Emani Sankara Sastry (1922-1987) was born in Draksharamam village of East Godavari district and he was the son of Emani Achuta Rama Sastry, himself a famed Vainika (Veena Artiste) of that era.
Trained in the steepest and best of traditions by his father, Emani Sankara Sastry was an open-minded experimenter, and also evolved contemporary themes, to give Veena the element of modernity that it was perhaps lacking at the time.
He graduated from Andhra University and moved to Madras (now chennai) and joined Gemini Studios as a Music director for almost a decade.
In 1959, he joined All India Radio (AIR) as producer of Music and also rose to the position of Director and composer of the National Orchestra there.
He was also a performing artiste who had toured all over India and abroad and had concert tours in Europe, USA and Asia Pacific region as well
In addition to his roles as a performing artiste, and his responsibilities in AIR, he was also an accomplished teacher, inspiring many to rise to greater heights in their pursuit of art
Chitti Babu is his most famous disciple and it was a celebrated “Guru-Shishya (Disciple)” that both cherished a lot through out their lifetimes.
Shortly before passing away in December of 1987, one of the last functions that Emani Sankara Sastry attended was in Guntur, where in he was felicitated by his most prodigious disciple Chitti Babu at a public function in his honor. It was perhaps a providential last tribute to a very accomplished life.

(Courtesy of Mr. Rangasayee (Sayee) Challapally – the eldest son of Dr. Chitti Babu)