Ragam Madhuvanthi is neither an old raga, nor belong to Carnatic music. It belongs to the Hindustani Classical Music and was created in the 1930’s by Jaiwant Singh Waghela. It was known earlier by the name Ambika. “Madhuvanthi” as the name itself says, is about creating a feeling of oozing “madhu” or honey which gives an effect of love and romance; though it can produce shades of pathos also. It is reported to have been adopted into Carnatic music, and is structurally similar to Multani. In simple terms, it can be explained as Raga Multani with Shuddha Rishabh and Shuddha Dhaivat (because Raga Multani uses Komal Rishabh and Komal Dhaivat) with the addition of Komal Nishad. The Hindustani Raag is based on Todi Thaat (Mode). In carnatic music, it is considered to be a janya of mela (59) ragam Dharmavathi. The structure of the carnatic raga is:
S G2 M2 P N3 S // S N3 D2 P M2 G2 R2 S
The Hindustani raga begins with lower Nishadam, as:
,N S g M P N S' - S' N D P M g M g R S ,N S
Also, It is considered to be a romantic raga based on the foundation, eternity and colors of love. As mentioned above, this raga was known as Ambika, till the name ‘Madhuvanthi’ was given to it in the 1960’s. It is a point to note that some musicians prefer to sing this raga with Shuddha Nishad instead of Komal Nishad. The pace of this raga is medium to fast and its mood is sombre.
There are no many compositions in carnatic music in Madhuvanthi raga; but the main application is found in light and film music, where songs composed in this raga are found in plenty. Also, it is very easy to identify the songs composed in this raga, as they stand out with its flavor.
Ragapravaham places it under both melas 58 and 59, depending on the Nishadam used (N2 or N3), as:
N2 S G2 M2 P N2 S // S N2 D2 P M2 G2 R2 S (under mela 58, Hemavathi) and
N3 S G2 M2 P N2 S // S N3 D2 P M2 G2 R2 S (under mela 59, Dharmavathi).
Kanda nAL mudalAi - N.S.Chidambaram
Karunatonu brova ide - B.M.Sundaram
MaramAnAn magan - B.M.Sundaram
Namo Narayanaya - Annamacharya
Ullavaru sivalaya - Basavanna
Thillana – Lalgudi G.Jayaraman
Sarvam Brahma Mayam - Sadasiva Bruhmedra
(in addition, several bhajans are sung in this raga).
Though most of the above compositions are heard sung, the most popular is the NSC composition, “Kanda nal mudalai” on Lord Murugan, which was featured in one Tamil film also. Since the composition is in very beautiful Tamil language and available in many sites, here is the meaning:
From the day I saw the son of Lord Shiva,
Who is merciful and holds the Vel,
My love for him is ebbing out.
In the pretty garden where the bees sing,
The Kandha who came and gave me pleasure
My mind has not forgotten the blue peacock,
The affection mixed with love has not vanished,
The pretty Murugan has filled my mind,
And he shows his slight smile and ,
Makes me Wear the flowers on my head.