Sunday, 3 January 2016

Time to say goodbye!!

KutcheriBuzz signs off this series of jottings of Season 2015 now.
Ours may have opened to you a window to the panorama. We have our limitations in coverage and we have to draw our lines.

Even as we posted our notes here, we also published the Season's Daily news-sheet for 17 evenings to be circulated at 8 to 10 sabhas in the city. This has also been our effort to share the buzz, the info with rasikas - on the Season.
All this does pose many small challenges and we take them along.

We now say goodbye and hope to be with you all in December 2016.

 KutcheriBuzz will move to Bangalore in April-May 2016 as it renews its regular blogging of the Sri Ramanavami Season in the garden city.

- Vincent D’ Souza / Ed & Publisher

Has the rasika-fan world of Carnatic music peaked during the Season?

Is the Carnatic music world in Chennai marked by a frenzy that seems to be growing in recent times?

The kind of frenzy that marks itself well and true during the December season?
Time and again we sensed this trail behind vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyan, this year's Sangita Kalanidhi awardee.

His fans multiplied rapidly and then began to exhibit their excitement for the star artiste in no uncertain terms.
If social media helped to fan the self-ies, the comments and the hoo-aahs, many auditoriums saw fans showing extraordinary exuberance.

Take the Music Academy sad-as for example, the finale, the evening when the chosen artiste is decorated with the prestigious Sangita Kalanidhi. For every mention of or reference to Sanjay Subrahmanyan's name people clapped, cheered or got excitable. It seemed as if we were in a cinema hall, first-day, first show with excited fans pumped up to let the adrenaline flow. And go!

Was this is a sign of a rasika-fan world that seeks exuberance and excitement, wants to demonstrate its support and 'like' in clear terms, unleashes it without any restrain?

Was this also an exhibition of a phase when rasikas want stars, want heroes, want to follow one or two or may three artistes because they are said to be crazy about his/her music?
And how genuine is that craziness? 

Sabhas in Chennai are beginning to talk about salesable artistes. Artistes who can draw big crowds and will pay anywhere between Rs.300 to Rs.500 for a simple seat.
Some sabhas are even highlighting the 'stars' in their newspaper adverts. 

This December Season witnessed much of this trend.
This is a trend that has begun some years ago.
There was a fan following for Sudha Ragunathan; groups which would trail her to every concert and possibly not sit to listen to the music of many others.
There is also a trail for the popularly known Ra-Ga sisters - Ranjani and Gayatri. And for a few others.
People talk excitedly about such artistes and heap all the pluses on them breathlessly.

Now, all these artistes have their own standards. Their music may be the best.
But are we witnessing the existence of a breathless rasika world that seem to be as boisterous as IPL fans in the cricket world?

December Season 2015 certainly left behind a trend that is probably being witnessed for the first time. Breathless fan-following, some with reason, many blindly perhaps.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Special concert by Anil Srinivasan, Sikkil Gurucharan and Jayanthi Kumaresh

Here is a note from pianist Anil Srinivasan who collaborated with a variety of classical and pop musicians and has taken his shows around the world.

"We are hosting a very special morning show, featuring two short recitals - Jayanthi Kumaresh and Sikkil. C. Gurucharan with me, at Luz House. 
We've raised money specifically for rebuilding two schools - their reps will be present that day. This will be a chamber-style concert, ably supported by the promoters of Luz House. Percussionist B. S. Purushotham accompanies at both recitals."

The venue has limited seating.

Jan. 3, 7.30 am to 9 am. Luz House ( located on Luz Church Road, opp. Sastri Hall, behind the petrol station). 
Donations are welcome.

Safety issues at sabha halls

This is for managers of The Music Academy.
One evening, the only exit on the second floor had chairs blocking the door and walkways - chairs were placed on all the steps in the balcony area. 
This was for Sanjay Subrahmanyan's concert - we are happy his recitals attract so many fans, but this 'informal' seating arrangement poses a major hurdle in case of a mishap/accident/emergency.

The Academy and many other sabhas must also look at safety issues - all these are big spaces that host many hundred people.

- Report by Dr. Raja K. Iyer

New Year eve musical celebration

Vocalist and arts promoter K. N. Shashikiran has moved this annual show from The Music Academy to Vani Mahal. T. Nagar.

Scores of artistes and gurus, seniors and juniors will take turns to present short music recitals on stage to wind up 2015 and welcome the new year.

Free and open to all. On Dec.31, 10 p.m. onwards.
Prasadam will be served to guests.

Guests are also invited to donate to the Chennai flood relief fund which will go to help artistes and others who have been affected.

Remembering Chandralekha . . .

The iconic dancer and guru who worked out of her Elliots Beach-side house and studio in Chennai will be remembered this year at Spaces ( her home turned art center) with a outdoor photo exhibition of her and the works she choreographed. Curated by Sadanand Menon.

From Dec.29 to Jan.5. Open through the day. 
At No.1. Elliots Beach Road, Besant Nagar.

Srinidhi Chidambaram, new convener of Natya Kala Conference

Bharatanatyam dancer Dr Srinidhi Chidambaram has been chosen to be the convener of the next two Natya Kala Conferences at Krishna Gana Sabha.
A medical doctor by profession, she is also a senior dancer and is based in Chennai.

Reporting the Season on FB; a rasika shares his experience

Chennai-based music rasika V. Rajagopalan who actively uses social media during the December Season, shares his experiences in this note -

‘Govindanadi, Mukundanadi, move over Kolaveri di’ – thus began my modest journey of concert snippets on Facebook during Season 2011. I had attended a concert by Sanjay Subrahmanyan on December 19. 

I was swept off by that spellbinding concert –  that night I jotted my feelings of that recital on Facebook.

I had only a few friends on Facebook back then. But encouraged by the responses from them, I started writing notes from the concert halls. A lengthy post on the concert by Abhishek Raghuram at The Music Academy that Season got me several new friends and a few not-so-friendly rebukes! I recall with fondness the exchanges some of us had with T M Krishna  on FB on his Academy concert – he was very active on Facebook back then!

During Season 2013 I became very active on Facebook and started writing a series of concert notes under the title (didn’t know of hashtags back then!) ‘Season Snippet’. 

Thanks to the power of smartphone, I started posting live feeds of concerts during Season 2014. Akin to a ball-by-ball running commentary on radio of cricket matches, some of us on Facebook would post details of every raga alapana, the kriti, where the singer chooses to perform neraval and swaras and so on. This would open a concert at once to rasikas at other venues, other cities in India and abroad.

A key 'season' event is historian V. Sriram lectures. The live feeds of these lectures on Facebook got a big following.
On a similar note, I have also been posting live feeds of his Heritage Walks over the last three years – quite a few friends in other cities follow this keenly and chat with me in private, seeking more info.

Season 2015 has been a joy ride. I started using the hashtag #SeasonSnippet on my concert posts. This year saw the birth of several WhatsApp groups – primarily rasikas of certain musicians – with hyper-active conversation threads on every concert the group members attend.

Social Media has helped us the rasikas come closer. And connect like never before.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Stage for young NRI artistes . . .

NRI rasikas quietly skipped the season ( though they are now said to be flying in to visit family and friends) and that color was certainly missing at the sabhas.

But a whole community of young artistes have been in the city this past week - some 80-plus young musicians from all parts of the USA have flown in to perform at concerts under the Cleveland Aradhana festival banner.

Auditoriums in R. A. Puram and in Thiruvanmiyur ( south Chennai) were the venues for their concerts.
Said the man behind the Cleveland arts body, V. V. Sundaram,"While we curate the concerts here the young artistes manage their own travel plans and pay for them."

This 'season'-based event has been happening for some years now, giving the USA-based young artistes the window to perform during the season here in Chennai.

Auto-driver's Subbudu experience; retold today

While hopping from one music sabha to another in an auto with a friend this season, this interesting incident took place with the talkative and aged auto driver, Ezhumalai.  

The initial topic of discussions was the Chennai traffic and the recent floods. 

Then, sensing that that we were music rasikas, Ezhumalai, told us that many, many years ago he used to wait outside Krishna Gana Sabha, T. Nagar for customers.  

He had had the opportunity to drive the legendary late Subuddu on many occasions during the music seasons of those years from Krishna Gana Sabha to the hotel where Subuddu used to stay.  I asked him if he knew who Subbudu was.  

Pat came the reply - "He was a great music critic. I got to know him and of him those years!" 

- Report by V. Srikanth

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Thamizh isai music festival

A Thamizh isai music festival.
This just got off to a start at Bhavans in Mylapore on Dec.26 evening. And is hosted annually during the 'season' by Kartik Fine Arts sabha.
The sabha used to hold it at a college auditorium in Anna Nagar ( west Chennai) but over the years, patronage dwindled and the sabha managers, who run at least three series of concerts simultaneously for the 'season' threw up their hands, realizing it was not worth the sweat and have 'adjusted' the Thamizh isai fest into their Mylapore schedule.

Anna Nagar is a sprawling neighborhood but music and dance recitals hardly attract a decent number of rasikas.

Freebies for lucky rasikas!

If you have been attending the music concerts at Shringeri Mutt, Mandaveli ( south Chennai) conducted by Raja Annamalaipuram Baktha Jana Sabha you may have wondered why home stuff like casseroles, flasks and dinner sets are kept near the dais.

Now, these are gifts from the hosts - Raja Annamalaipuram Baktha Jana Sabha. 
The organizers distribute tokens to the rasikas before the start of the concert. At the end of the concert, a lucky dip is drawn and the lucky rasikas have the privilege to choose their gifts.

Way to keep the audience engaged!
What if you leave mid-way and your ticket gets picked up?!!!

- Report by Sundararaman C.