Literally, the raga name means the ‘Sound of the Koel’ (cuckoo / koyal / nightingale). Cuckoos are best known for their wide repertoire of calls. Calls are usually relatively simple, resembling whistles, flutes, or hiccups and used to attract mate or demonstrate ownership of its territory. It has become a metaphor for inspiring music because of the melodious call. Just like the ragas with a prefix ‘Hamsa’, there are many ragas beginning with ‘Kokila’ none of them having any similarity between them. Kokiladhwani is a janya of mela (28) Harikambhoji raga; vakra – shadava sampoorna in nature, the structure can be represented as:
S R2 G3 M1 D2 N2 D2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G3 R2 S
There is a reference of this raga in Ragapravaham only, describing this under Harikambhoji mela; but it gives two slightly different specifications, with an additional Nishadam appearing in vakra in the avarohanam also.
S R G M D N D S // S N D N P M G R S
S R G M D N D N // S N D N P M G R S
This raga was first used by Saint Thyagaraja, none of the other Trinities has composed in this; indicating that this may be a creation of Sadguru himself. There are not much compositions in this raga; Thyagaraja has written two krithis, which are the only ones heard in concerts.
Koniyadedu nayeda - Thyagaraja
Toli nenu jesina - Thyagaraja
Paradevi jaya - Suddhananda Bharati
Giri dhanvinam - Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar
(out of the above the mostly heard is the Thyagaraja krithi, ‘Toli nenu jesina’).
We shall take the Thyagaraja krithi, ‘Toli nenu’ for discussion. In this, the composer curses his own fate for his plight.
“O Supreme Lord! O Merciful Lord! O Lord praised by this tyAgarAja!
This indeed is the result of the worship performed by me earlier whole-heartedly!
Will it (grace) come even if one wants to buy by paying a price?
Will my distress be relieved?
There is no need for You to be bothered.
Perhaps, the time, when I donned the garb as Your blessed devotee, was inauspicious”.
Here is a very nice rendition of the Thyagaraja krithi, by Palghat Sri. K.V.Narayanaswamy .