Gamaki Narahari Sharma Kerekoppa

Click below to listen to Gamaki Narahari Sharma 
(Sorry for the bad quality cell phone recording- It does not do justice his amazing voice and rendering)

ವಾನರಸಮುನ್ನತ ಧ್ವಜವರೂಥದೊಳೈದು
ವಾನರಸಮರ ಭರವನರಿದು ಕಾಳಗಕೆತಾ
ವಾನರರಸಮರ್ಥರೆ೦ದರ್ಜುನ೦ ಬರಲೆ೦ದು ನಿಜಸಾರಥಿಗೆ ಸೂಚಿಸಿ||
ದಾನವನರಾನಿಮಿಷರೊಳ್ನೀನೇ ಭಟನಹನಿ
ದಾನವನನೇಕಮುಖದಿ೦ಕೇಳ್ದು ಸ೦ಗ್ರಾಮ
ದಾನವನರಸಿಬ೦ದೆನೆ೦ದು ಎಚ್ಚನಾಸುಧನ್ವ೦ ಪಾರ್ಥನ೦ ಧುರದೊಳು|| ||

(That is Lakshmisha for you - at his best - in Narahariyanna's voice !) 
Gamaka or Kaavya Vaachana is a style of reading Kannada poems. To keep it interesting it is sung. But, the crux of it is literature, not music. Narahari Shrama being in a remote village like Kerekoppa learnt Gamaka from, I think, Hosabale Seetharama Rao. But he taught himself the music! His reading and splitting compounds is very clear. Emphasis on meanings and expressions is spot on. He brings right emotions to reading. Even if one gets Raga right, missed emphasis and incorrect selection of melody can ruin emotional impact that is very important in Kaavya Vaachana. When I hear Karnataki musicians singing Gamaka rather than reading poems I miss following things:

  • Simplicity of melody demanded by a particular phrase being read. Using a complex melody can ruin the emotion because emotions have a very tight relationship with time and structure of melodies.
  • Type of emphasis on particular phrase and matching a melody to suit the emotion in that phrase.
  • Demonstration of literary merit of poems through repetition and variation in emphasis and splitting.
  • I miss rhythm less flow of melody. Shatpadis (some meters [prosody]) are called Taala Rahita. i.e they do not have an inherent rhythm flow. Any reading should reflect lack of rhythm. This is particularly true with Maarta meters unlike Amsha meters. 
    Narahari Sharma gets them right. You feel as if you part of the whole thing that is going on in the poem. Even though musicians might have a thing or two to say. I do not care! They always do. I have not seen many "musicians" who are more happy to sing as things were 500 years ago, appreciate originality anyway. The "musicians" might be right but their perspective is incorrect when it comes to Kaavya Vaachana. Does Narahari Sharma get it all right? Yes, he does as long as HE decides what is right NOT you or me!

    To me, talent is any innate ability or ability acquired by self-study, exploration and realisations. Who trained the first mason or was it just his talent ? Which is first, the grammar theory or the language ? Which is first, melody or music theory ?  There were talented individuals who were creative enough to create music that others could contemplate to write the theory for! The thing about real talent is, it is original. If everyone sung Hindustani there wont be Yakshagana. Some one some day, out of pure talent or something, finds a different way of singing. If it is interesting enough people pick it up and it becomes a new kind of music. Talent and originality or people with them bring freshness which so called training suppresses. Therefore creative individuals must be preferred over copy cats. Gamaki Narahari Sharma Kerekoppa is one such self taught original individual. Have a good listen.

    Note: This is a cell phone recording with too much volume for Harmonium. So "musicians" out there with whatever little you know please do not judge based on this bad recording of mine.


    1. Anonymous11:49 pm

      this bit took me back to kkere where i hav heard him first.. he is simply amazing!

    2. @Sumana,
      When did you hear him first? I vaguely remember my first or probably do not. I was too small!

    3. Anonymous4:34 am

      obviously after my marriage..somewhere in early KKere only!It was ur ajja who had insisted him t sing when all of us were there..during the holiday time! from then onwards..i am his die-hard fan!


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