Any lecdem will be a success once you have individually recognised and praised the experts in the front rows.
Posts Tagged ‘lec dems’
Never believe a lec demmer who says he will come back to a point later. He may never do so. It is also an indication that he will take more time than what is allotted.
Spent a good hour lamenting over the fact that I had done nothing about my forthcoming talk on Tyagaraja. Less than 3 days away. More importantly, have not selected what to wear.
In the morning, after a mad rush to school (why do they have exams during the season?), dashed into the Academy for Dr Yashoda Thakore’s presentation on Padam and Javali renditions in some Devadasi traditions of Andhra. A very succinct summation of what is practised in the Godavari region was depicted. She played a recording of Chittoor Subramania Pillai singing his creation Mathura Nagarilo (Ananda bhairavi). A male singer she had brought with her from Andhra then sang it the way it has been modified and adapted by the kalavants of Andhra.
Next came a padam of Kshetrayya. I have somehow lost my notes and so cannot recall the opening lines but the meaning remains fresh – if you become tired after making love to me only once O Muvva Gopala… The Experts Committee was rather taken aback. Yashoda did abhinaya for this. A video clip of an ageing performer doing abhinaya for another piece (My in laws have come to fetch me. I have to go O Muvva Gopala) was then played. EC in conniptions.
Then came a javali for which Yashoda did abhinaya. Apparently in the mezuvani tradition of Andhra (salon would be an equivalent), the abhinaya was done sitting down and there was no nritta equivalent for even the chitta swaram portion of varnams. During such interludes the performer would merely sing. This javali was however performed standing up and ended with a rhythmic flourish. EC members relaxed. One or two privately made snide remarks about the folkish music. Question hour was comparatively mild.
Had to leave at 9.00 am to join family and friends at the NGS for breakfast. Ran into some die-hard Sanjay fans waiting to purchase tickets for his performance at the NGS. Some had come at 6.00 am. Breakfast was its usual gala self. All standard items perfect. The kashi halwa was a disappointment. Over-sweetened if you ask me. The Akkaravadisal was a lot better. Rounded it off with coffee-a-la-Sadasivam (of MS Subbulakshmi fame).
In the afternoon, after having brooded ineffectually at office on falling sales, dipping collections and non-existent order-intake, went back to Academy. A few members of the Committee, having read this blog, decided to see for themselves as to what makes Gnanambiga great. Having put away our Academy badges so that nobody could recognise us, we stole forth. But alas, such disguises were ineffective (how did the Rajahs of old manage?) and we were pounced upon at once. Surprising that hounds were not set on us. Jayaraman’s sons went overboard on the hospitality thereafter. But it was a mixed bag.
We began with something called paal kozhukattai which tasted like balls of canvas shoe polish dipped in sugar syrup. After this disastrous beginning, things got better. Upma Kozhukattai was a lot better. The Ragi Dosa was universally acclaimed. Paruppu Podi Sevai was hailed as the ultimate. The Academy committee has a weakness for bonda and this was called for next. Unfortunately, it was just like the way it is made in the Academy. Gnanambiga’s morning coffee is better than the evening’s. But Ashoka poli (spelt boli) was good. Noticed that English howlers abounded once again on the menu. Or at least #kogul errors – what is thagi papti?
Returned to Academy and reported to President who thanks to grapevine knew about our visit already.
No cutchery day. Mother turned 70 and there was dinner at Gymkhana for a few family members. More food. Tottered home at 11.00 pm. Tomorrow hopefully should see more music and less food. Have done nothing for the Tyagaraja talk. Worse, not made up my mind on what to wear.
How can a lec-dem become a dem-dem? Saw it this morning at Academy. Perhaps because there was a lot of “lok-lok” coughing among the audience thanks to bad throats and congested chests.
The story of how some lecdems were more heat and dust than music
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?)