The end of the Season is usually marked by a dinner hosted by Nalli Kuppusami Chetty, for all the artistes who have won awards in the music festival. This is usually held early in January at the New Woodlands Hotel.
Archive for the ‘December Music Season 2011’ Category
Just as we once had the dreaded star mother in the world of films, we have the star father/husband in Carnatic music.
Given all the hoopla about the Season, a study on how many people it actually caters to would be interesting. Assuming that the top 20 Sabhas account for 80 per cent of the crowd, each has a seating capacity of 1,000 on an average, and all of them are catering to packed houses, the number would be around 20,000. A miniscule figure indeed.
Published in The Hindu today – http://www.thehindu.com/arts/music/article2758683.ece
Why do artistes need written copies of lyrics to sing from despite having sung the same song a million times?
This year marks the 90th anniversary of Papanasam Sivan’s first visit to Madras. Ten years later he was to become a permanent resident.
The month of Margazhi would see him lead the bhajanai around the Kapaleeswarar Temple in the wee hours of the morning. The tradition is being upheld by his daughter Rukmini Ramani and grandson Ashok Ramani.
Published in The Hindu at this link – http://www.thehindu.com/arts/music/article2752814.ece
The problem with most Sabhas is that the Sound Man is not sound.
The Academy had given her name as Kamala Lakshminarayan, which is not what most of her fans would be familiar with. If only we had printed Kumari Kamala… The turnout was disappointing for such a legend and when Dr Pappu read out her profile before she walked on to stage, I was reflecting on what a legend we were privileged to have in our midst. She has in her time, performed before Nehru, danced and acted in films and above all, along with Balasaraswathi and Rukmini Devi, done so much for making Bharata Natyam popular. The Music Academy in a way owes its existence to her, for her performances brought in the money which enabled the institution to build a place of its own.
Kamala came on to stage dressed in traditional dance costume. The body has aged and the voice a tremor but the eyes retain the old sparkle. And when she demonstrated the moves taught by Vazhuvur Ramiah Pillai, we could see that all the old fluidity was intact. She showed how he taught her abhinaya for Tyagaraja’s Sadinchene in Arabhi. It was wonderful.
Then came the anticlimax. She decided to field two of her students from the US to perform two tillanas. This took away 40 minutes from a 60 minute lec dem. And as for their dancing… less said the better. Where was all that she said – subtle expression, fluidity in movement of the arms and power in the legs? All of which she claimed were the hallmarks of Ramiah Pillai?
Why did she do this? Even if she had sat down and explained what she had learnt, we would have come away satisfied. In the end, I felt let down.
The story of how some lecdems were more heat and dust than music
Lec dem Navarasas
Courage – the mere act of accepting a lec dem
Fear – at the sight of the Experts Committee
Anger – at the heckler who asks questions for which there are no answers
Disgust – at the cell phones that keep ringing
Love – for the supporters either on or off stage
Laughter – at your Guru’s jokes
Compassion – what you aim to elicit from certain know-alls who have come with mayhem in mind
Wonder – at the fact that time has flown by so quickly
Peace – when the lec dem is over
This was the subject on which Sumitra Vasudev presented this morning.
The Sangita Ratnakara (SR) she said, speaks of the gamaka as a movement involving several notes as opposed to just one as is understood nowadays. The Sangita Samaya Sara (SSS) of Parhsvadeva of the 13th century speaks of gamaka from the context of conveying or revealing the svarupa. It shows the subtle tones that come in when singing on a particular note. These concepts are accepted even today and it is remarkable that what was thought of in the 13th century applies even now.
There is a reference to gamakas in the Brhaddesi of Mathanga (7th century AD) and this can be taken to be the earliest reference. The Sangita Makaranda of Narada (11th century) speaks of 19 types of gamakas. The work also splits ragas into 3 categories – muktanga kampita (permitting extensive oscillation), arhda kampita (moderate) and kampita vihina (not permitted)
The SR says that there are 15 types of gamakas and this is a classification that is broadly accepted even now. However Sarngadeva defines the gamaka to be just a part of the practical aspects of music. Thus gamakas are dealt with by him in the SR neither in the ragadhyaya or the svaradhyaya but in the prakirnakadhyaya.
In the 17th century, Venkatamakhin in his Chaturdandi Prakasika deals with gamakas. He accepts the definitions of the SR and the SSS and states that there are 15 types though his classification makes a few changes. He says that gamakas are an aspect of the svara. His contemporary, Somanatha in his Raga Vibodha includes gamakas under techniques of playing and deals with the dholanam (earlier sphuritam) only. He classifies gamaka as a vadanabhida (variety in playing) and also states that the gamaka is a nadamaya or that which manifests.
There are a few subsequent works which are not well known which also deal with gamakas. But it is the early 20th century Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini which is the most exhaustive. Here the gamaka becomes a thread that binds all factors together – raga, svara, phrases and the manifestation of a raga is only through the gamaka. The author Subbarama Dikshitar states that nobody would sing without gamaka. He also states that several ragas may have the same arrangement of notes and it is only through the gamaka that their individuality is established. Each raga is described in this work in terms of the gamakas in it. Several types of gamakas as illustrated in the SSP were demonstrated by the speaker.
She concluded by stating that while it is mandatory now to define a raga by its gamakas, it is also interesting that a final picture of a raga can emerge only by the elimination of what is unsuitable. (A neti neti doctrine?)