Sunday, 8 December 2019

25 years of Mudhra. In photos.

The husband-wife team of  Bhaskar and Radha, both artistes and festival curators who run 'Mudhra' and it allied activities like web radio and publications take some extra effort to make the venue of its annual music festival wear a smart look, thanks to Bhaskar's creative juices.

Getting to the venue - a school auditorium managed by the Sri Ramakrishna Mutt located off North Usman Road is a maddening exercise, considering the huge volumes of traffic in this busy shopping zone of the city.

This year marks Mudhra's 25 years and to mark this milestone, the Bhaskars and their team have set up a small but neat exhibition of photos of all the key events in this 25 year journey. 

A video of this journey with a lively commentary, spiced with anecdotal bytes, posted online could well reach far and wide. 

KutcheriBuzz Guide to Music Concerts is out

The KutcheriBuzz December Season 2019 Guide to music concerts is in circulation now, after the printer surprised us with a early delivery of the copies.

You can get a copy at the KutcheriBuzz office at the 2nd Floor office at Chennai Corporation Complex, 77, C. P. Ramaswamy Road in Alwarpet ( south side of the flyover).

The office is open 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

If you want a copy shipped to you, please talk to Paramesh at 24994599 / 24993767 for details on this service.

The Dance Concerts Guide should be out by Dec.13.

Whither Carnatic music? One more debate

Whither Carnatic Music?

This was the subject of a recent discussion held at a Mylapore auditorium. A subject, a question, a theme that has been asked, posed and debated over some years now.
'Only seniors attend concerts . . . Sabha halls are never full . . . Youngsters want to perform but aren't seen at concerts……are some of the points that rasikas raise.
And yet there does not seem to be something drastically going wrong in this music world.

Anyway, artistes Palghat Ramprasad, Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam and Anil Srinivasan and the Head of the Madras University's Music Department debated the topic. And made some strong points.

Ramprasad's focus was on the importance of an artiste's devotion to learning and practice than towards looking to grab performance invitations.

Anil said the music world was just fine, with lots of keen and knowledgable, young rasikas attending concerts around the world and that one must not get too excited at small attendances at concerts, because this was the norm worldwide for classical music.

Vijayalakshmi's thoughts were more for rasikas - rasikas patronising only the concerts of the famous and popular and ignoring young, bright talent elsewhere was a big discouragement for artistes. And for rasikas to not request for all-time favorites at concerts but be open to the music of less-known composers or rarely-sung songs.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

First sabha canteen opens . . .

The first sabha canteen has opened. Sastha Catering handles the food at Brahma Gana Sabha's festival at Sivagami Petachi Auditorium in Alwarpet.

Sastha has maintained the quality of its snacks and draws a decent crowd. Mysore bondas and dosas were among the first orders guests placed as the music fest got off to a start on Tuesday evening.

Located at the rear of the auditorium.

Boring speeches at festival launches

Tamil Nadu's governor has been invited to be chief guest at the launch of many a music or dance festival. He makes an effort to say a few words in Thamizh; Bhanwarilal Purohit is from north India.

But his speeches are boring and dry. They sound like primer classes on south India classical arts for juniors. They will tell an audience who the Trinity are, how a flute is made, and the roots of Thamizh classics besides listing the Carnatic music maestros and their contribution.

Most guests don't fall asleep but tolerate it quietly. As they did at the opening evening of Brahma Gana Sabha's fest on December 3 evening.

Why can't such important people of the state have better speech writers who communicate well and look to knowledgeable people to learn a bit that will help them write something that rings with the audience ?

Do we really need over 1000 concerts?

The rain is coming down steadily. The campus of Narada Gana Sabha in Alwarpet isn't flooded but has a sheet of water. In the lit Woodlands restaurant, dance guru V. P. Dhananjayan is enjoying a cup of hot coffee before stepping into the hall for the launch of the fest of Kartik Fine Arts.

"Too many festivals . . . too many concerts," he tells me, indicating to the over 1000 concerts that have been formally made public this December.

Dhananjayan keeps shaking his head as he finishes the coffee. "More and more organizers are coming and having the same artistes all the same time. How does this help?"

This senior Bharatanatyam dancer-guru's observation is not new. But it illustrates what is known as Season Madness.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Narada Gana Sabha's new-look mini auditorium

The small auditorium of Narada Gana Sabha's complex on TTK Road in Alwarpet now has a smart look after fullscale redesign and renovation took place.

Located on the first floor at the rear, south side of the auditorium complex, this hall, commonly called mini hall now has refurbished seating, padded walls, better space in the aisle and on the side and access to two side exits which are well lit and a Bose audio sound system fitted inside the hall.

It can seat over 150 people and is best suited for music concerts. Dance recitals are also held here and some theatre groups have already shown interest in staging small plays here.

Access is available via the stairs as well as a small lift, and a ramp makes it easy for seniors and less abled to get into the this small auditorium. The lobby is well-lit as is the space adjoining the hall where the side exits are located.

Good place to listen to good music.

Monsoon is with us here in Chennai

The monsoon greeted Tamil Nadu late November and was sketchy in some parts. As it was in Chennai.

But it rained steady on December 1 as Kartik Fine Arts sabha prepared to launch its festival at Narada Gana Sabha.
The rains kept away people who may have wanted to drop in here for the event. Opening evenings are not great shows in most sabhas - they are routine and dull affairs.

At Kartik's opening event there were some 75 odd people, most being well wishers and family of artistes who were decorated with awards that Sunday evening.

Music Season Guide will be ready on Dec.7, hopefully

The KutcheriBuzz December Season Music Guide for 2019 has just gone to the press and we hope to have copies with us by December 6 / 7. 

It took some extra time to put the pages to rest because a few sabhas raised the red flag to indicate some changes had to be made as they worried over fixing accompanists. Its a tough job, we are aware.

Some accompanists have over 20 concerts across four / five weeks of the Season and there are some lead artistes who insist on a team he/she vibes well with.

The Guide is as always free, not priced. But those who may want it to reach them as soon as it is available and don't mind paying to get a posted copy can now avail of a facility - call us at 2499 3767 or 24994599 for details on payment options and mail delivery.

Welcome to December Season 2019!

Welcome to the 2019 edition of the December Season in Chennai. If we trust passionate, independent weather bloggers of this state then the monsoon is bound to lace the Season in its first half. And the weather could well be pleasant post December 15.

But one never knows with climate change.
The rain does not keep the dedicated rasika away from the city's sabha halls; the canteens though may see a rise in the sale of hot coffee, if it is great.

Rasikas whose lives are entwined with the Season get down to a lot of planning well before the Season unfolds. And these are rasikas who do not mind hopping from one sabha to another.

But sabhas who have long schedules do not release their concerts schedules till the last week of November. Much of the delay has to do with scheduling co-artistes of the main artiste.

And for the discerning rasika, complete information is essential. Even the khanjira artiste of the performing group counts!

Monday, 31 December 2018

Sanjay the Star

He is perhaps the star of the Season. And beyond. Sanjay Subrahmanyan clearly made the biggest impact with his music at all the venues he performed this December.

Starting with a special themed 'Thamizhum Nanum' concert that was sold out in early December, his concerts ran to packed houses, with fans admitting his music brought tears to their eyes.

As arts promoter and historian R. Lalitharam posted online -
'Not often you can give something to the musician who brings so much joy through his/her music, except thanking him. Today I could give a small token of my appreciation to Vid. Sanjay Subrahmanyan for the truly wonderful Kosalam that he tuned and presented. I could give him the calendar featuring his illustrious guru. ..'

The SS fans group follows him from sabha to sabha; and he acknowledges them after the show. Posing for photos, signing and listening to their warm words.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Padma Sugavanam's Season delivery

The smartest online flyer must be the one which vocalist Padma Sugavanam posted recently. It is featured here.

Padma's name did not figure on festival schedules - because she was in 'the family way' and delivered a child just as the Season unfolded.

So she put out this cheeky flyer.