Raga Tilak Kamod : Radha plays with Krishna

“O Friend, How will I go and fetch water …”
thus wrote Nawab Wajid Ali Shah  – in the 1880s…in a format known as Bandish Ki Thumri (classical composition but in the semi-classical  Thumri genre) in the raga mysteriously named Tilak Kamod
I learnt this composition from my first  vocal music teacher when I was around 7 years old. Apparently it was part of some music exam syllabus…
This thumri  stayed with me for decades –  while I undertook detailed study of this raga with instrumentalists
Neer bharan kaise jaoon sakhi ab
(Radha says: O my sakhi(female friend), How do I go to fill water)
Dagar chalat mo seh karat raar mein
(On the way he (Krishna) teases me)
Eiso chanchal chapal hat nat khat maan,
(He is clever & naughty, is dramatic and very stubborn)
Tana kahu ki baat
(Doesn’t listen to anybody)
Vinati karat mein gayi re haar ab
(I am tired of pleading with him, I give up)

Neer bharan kaise jaoon
(O my friend, how do I go to fill water)

Raga Details

Raga Name
Tilak Kamod’s name is a mystery- there is no consensus on how Ragas Tilak and Kamod come together to form this raga
But as Shakespeare said:
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet..” (Romeo and Juliet)
Raga Emotions
Tilak Kamod is a playful romantic narrative – there is no sense of separation , bright, happy and sparkling with loving emotion. 
Raga Structure
Tilak Kamod is one of those ragas, which is defined by feelings, not rules. It causes great problems for theoreticians wanting a precise formula for its structure, as it eludes strict definition
This is one of the great liberating features of Hindustani Classical Music – you just “know” the raga. No amount of rules and theory can describe the raga completely
The only way of learning the raga is continuous instruction from a guru where you imbibe the essence of the raga – not dry rules written in some textbook 
Raga Affiliations
Tilak Kamod is a beautiful fragrance in the massive garden of Khamaj. Along with Jhinjhoti, Khamaj, Des, Gorakh Kalyan and Jaijaiwanti
Des is the raga which comes closest to Tilak Kamod but the two have seperate personalities. One can express one or the other through a series of defining passages. Please refer to your guru for more instruction- I’m happy to help within the boundaries of my interpretation
In the video above -(standard disclaimer applies: I reinterpret compositions of my gurus- so hardcore gharana fanatics please don’t message me re: pollution or dilution or other musical misdeeds)
  1. Alaap
  2. Nir bharan kaise jaoon  (also made famous by Vidushi Shubha Mudgal)
  3. Composition by Ustad Shahid Parvez 
  4. Composition by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
  5. Composition from Shahjahanpur Gharana (learnt from Sugato da) 
I have not included several other compositions – but that’s for later…