Thursday, 15 December 2016

Post-cyclone blues

At least two events at sabhas on Wednesday evening did not draw a big stream of rasikas. People are still coming to terms with the fallout of cyclone Vardah. Power continues to flicker in some neighborhoods, cellphone services are still dead in many cases and many people have to deal with damaged cars and messy apartment campuses.

Some sabha managers wonder if the current mood will see less attendance at their auditoriums though all sabhas have decided to go ahead with their packed schedule of concerts.

Post-cyclone, this fest faces hiccups

The music festival floated by Carnatica and Sri Parthaswarathy Swami sabha in Thiruvanmiyur, a south Chennai neighbourhood has had a bad run. It opened with vidwan T. N. Krishnan's concert on Sunday and then the rains came, cyclone Vardah tossed and tore apart the city and the power supply is yet to be restored in this zone.

Held in the Sri Sankara School campus and scheduled for a fortnight of concerts featuring some big time artistes, its curators are a worried lot.

If you need to check out the schedule at this venue call 94440 18269.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Booking tickets for Kalakshetra show is on now

The box office counter at Kalakshetra opened on Sunday morning. And if you want to catch one of its five dance-dramas, you may want to grab the tickets as soon s you can - because they sell fast.

Five dance dramas are scheduled by the Kalakshetra Repertory and if one goes by past records, the tickets for these shows sell fast.

Tickets are on sale from 10 am to 5 pm daily.

Nostalgia swirls at old sabhas

Old sabhas of Chennai lend to nostalgia.
One example is The Mylapore Fine Arts Club.

There were lots of anecdotes to share and to listen to on the sidelines of the launch of the 2016 edition of its December Season on Friday Saturday evening.

The sabha's flag for one: it is such a little piece of designed cloth that is hoisted by the chief guest at the ceremonial event here that even the rasika who walks to the canteen will fail to look up at it.

The flag-hoisting is possibly the only one of its kind in the sabha circuit.

The wall of the main stage holds another piece of heritage - the inauguration of the theatre here by Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, then governor of Mysore. In 1959.

Vocalist Trichur V Ramachandran, who was decorated with an award at MFAC's 65th edition of the fest this Saturday also went down memory lane, treating guests to his earl days in Mylapore and his early 1960s concerts for this sabha.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Get the KB Dec. Season Music Guide by Post. In our Office.

The KutcheriBuzz December Season Music Guide is a useful and handy booklet for rasikas to navigate the Season's events - concerts, lec-dems and fringe events.
It has just been released in Chennai for all rasikas who love such a useful book.

You can get copy by POST too . . .

Send us a self-addressed long format envelope, with a Rs.20 stamp on it ( make sure you write your full address on the cover!!) and mail the cover to - KutcheriBuzz, 77, C. P. Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet, Chennai 600 018.
The Guide is FREE.

The KutcheriBuzz Dance Guide will be out soon.

You can also get the Guides at the offices in Alwarpet, Chennai. Call 044-2499 3767. Ask for Parameshwaran. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The passing away of Jayalalithaa; sabhas cancel concerts, to retstart

Sabhas have suspended their concerts of the December Season following the death of J. Jayalalithaa, chief minister of Tamil Nadu, leader of the AIADMK political party and a leading politician in India.

Jayalalithaa who was unwell for over 70 days, lapsed into a serious condition at a city hospital on Sunday night and her death was announced on Monday night, The funeral took place on Tuesday.

The sabhas which had launched their festivals had to suspend concerts - Ramakrishnan Murthy had to stop abruptly at his concert on Monday at Narada Gana Sabha as TV channels said Jayalalithaa was 'dead', though there was no official word on her condition.

While Kartik Fine Arts is restarting its concerts on Wednesday evening - Sanjay Subrahmanyan has his first concert of Season 2016 this evening ( Dec. 7) - a few others will re start on Thursday/Friday.

The state is observing a three-day mourning.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Season tickets for Academy concerts still available; Dec.3

The  Music Academy put out an advert this morning - that Rs 5200 and Rs.13,300 season tickets for the Academy's 'season' concerts will be on sale at its office, 10.30 am onwards today - Dec.3. 

Debit/Credit cards accepted besides cash accepted.

Rasikas critical of Music Academy's box-office process

A number of Carnatic music rasikas are shooting angry missives at The Music Academy. They are all critical of its system for the sale of season tickets.

Many people who wanted to be there at 9 a.m. on a day when the monsoon was setting in the city, to be in the queue did not know that people create a queue from 4.30 a.m. to make sure they are lucky.

Then there were people who brought only copies of ID card/s (instead of originals) and the Academy staff questioned them closely, some critics said.

This was also an occasion for the critics to wonder if the snobbishness of many Academy members and well-wishers left many seats vacant at top-billed concerts because those people just didn't turn up and hence, hardcore rasikas lost out.

"The Academy must ask its members to confirm beforehand their attendance and offer the tickets for empty seats to genuine rasikas," suggested one person.

Many dread the system that requires rasikas to buy daily tickets to evening concerts only that morning.'Why can't the Academy offer to sell tickets for the concerts we want to attend all in one go? Why make us go up and down?' - is a common question.

All these barbs and volleys are aimed at the Academy in the hope that it will put out a better, smarter box office system.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Spoilt for choice, already!

Which concert to be at?
On the eve of December, rasikas already had plenty on their hands, as far as music concerts go.
Concerts of leading artistes at at least three venues in the Mylapore neighbourhood!

So the Bhavan's main auditorium, which was packed to the lobby and outside on most evenings saw a lesser crowd on Wednesday evening - there were seats vacant in the auditorium - Gayathri Venkataraghavan was on stage.

"Perhaps some rasikas are at the Trichur Brothers' concert," suggested the usher at Bhavans.

Spoilt for choice, the rasikas!

Jaya TV's fest; top artistes, admission is free

Jaya TV is hosting its own music fest, starting from December 1 event. And it will telecast the 'packaged' formats probably in mid-December.

Some leading artistes are featured here - two concerts every evening, from 4.30 pm onwards. Artistes like Sudha Ragunathan, Sikkil Gurucharan, Ranjani-Gayathri and Malladi Brothers among others.

Admission is free. The venue; Audittorium of Chettinad Vidyashram school, near the Sri Ayyappa Temple, R. A. Puram. 

Parivadini's short and sweet fest; get it live online!

Parivadini presents three days of classical music, starting December 1. As it always does, it hosts some very talented, young people and artistes who are not on stage too often but are wizards.

This season's three day fest at Raga Sudha Hall, Luz features artistes like Injikudi Subramaniam ( nadaswaram) and Ramana Balachandra ( veena) from Bangalore.

On Sunday, 10 a.m., ghatam maker U V K Ramesh will be decorated with the Parlandu Award of Excellence - an annual award that recognizes people who make the best percussion instruments and continue a great tradition. 

After the event, percussionist 'Ghatam' Karthik will speak on ' Appreciating the role of ghatam, khanjira and morsingh in a concert'.

The concerts / function / talk are beamed live online.

Get the details at -

Season tickets for Music Academy; sale starts Dec.2

Sale of season tickets for The Music Academy opens on Dec.2, 9 am onwards ( but people begin to queue up from 4 am!!). 

You need to carry a ID card - Aadhar, Voter, driving license) or send that ID with a person you depute ( in this case, also an authorization letter). Payment is accepted in cash/debit/credit card - refund of change less than Rs1000 will be made by cheque after Dec,10).

Only season tickets are on sale - Rs.15,600, Rs.5,200 and Rs.1,8000. They are limited so expect a quick sale.

For daily tickets for the twin-concerts in the evening, the practice at the Academy is to sell them on the morning of the recitals. No word yet if this is to be done or a change has been made.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Where to catch the big artistes early in December

If you wish to catch all your favourite artistes performing early in the 'season', then one option is to attend the concerts curated by Kartik Fine Arts.
This sabha's concerts from December 1 to 13 are held in the main auditorium of Narada Gana Sabha in Alwarpet.The artistes featured at the evening concerts include Aruna Sairam, Sudha Ragunathan, Gayatri Venkataraghvan, Nityashree Mahadevan, Sanjay Subrahmanyan, Abhishek Raguram.
The sabha says limited donor passes are available for these concerts but seating is on a first come first served basis.

Call 98403-58805 to get more information on this.

Monday, 21 November 2016

First fest of 'season 2016' draws big audience

If The Music Academy is seen as the 'sabha' for the VIPs, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is considered to be the sabha of the common man.
The Bhavans' halls are more for Mylaporeans, since it is located in the neighborhood's backyard.
Rasikas are promised at least one programme daily.

So when the Bhavan's annual cultural festival got going on Sunday, launching in many ways the 2016 edition of the December Season, rasikas flooded the Bhavan's premises.

Not only was the main auditorium packed to the aisles, the lobby and the walkway to the main hall had to be packed with chairs and closed-circuit TVs. 
(Photo here shows Vishaka Hari at her Harikatha concert, the first at the Bhavan's fest )

The Bhavan does not ticket its programmes and since its festival features many popular, top-end artistes, a full house is guaranteed.

But the serious rasika dislikes a bad habit of the Mylaporean - walking in and out as he or she wishes, during a concert. Or chattering in the back rows, with neighborhood friends.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Kerchief reservation. In auditoria.

Kerchief reservation.
You may have heard of it. Or been witness to it.
Of rasikas who 'reserve' a seat in the auditorium for a friend or a relative who will turn up after a concert has begun.

On Friday evening, as K. N. Ramaswamy, who heads the operations of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai kendra in the city prepared to get the auditorium ready for the Bhavan's festival for the 'season', he could not but talk about one habit of rasikas that irritates him.

Kerchief reservation.

As he surveyed the main auditorium where the Akkarai Sisters were in concert for a fest that celebrated artiste O V Subramanian's centenary, he sighted a few seats with kerchiefs on them - reserved for friends for the next concert - of Abhishek Raguram.

"I just wish people came on time for a concert they want to be at," Ramaswamy said.

Banks are not keen about sponsorships . . .

Only The Music Academy puts out its December Season schedule of concerts/lec-dems early. By late October.

The other sabhas always buy time to 'make changes' - which simply means they are struggling to fix those uncertain artistes who accompany the main.

This season, even the few sabhas who make public their festival calendars in early November held them back.

Reason? They were buying time to shore up their sponsorship figures. 

This whole thing about demonetisation by the Indian government has soured the sabha-bank-as-sponsors relationship.

Banks are still struggling to meet the demands of their clients who are ridding the dud currency notes and looking for ATMs that are calibrated in order to deliver money. They just are not in the mood to talk about sponsorship. 

Last year, severe monsoon. This year, rains delayed . . .

This time, last year the monsoon had broken over the city of Chennai. It got to rain strong. And steady. And the city flooded.

But rasikas looking forward to the December season did not mind. This is monsoon time; November is.
But after a break, it rained again. And on the night of December 1, the night when the city sabha, Kartik Fine Arts raises the curtains to launch its music and dance festival, the rain did not stop.

The waters rose and rose and when people of Chennai woke up the next morning, they found the city was sinking in water. The deluge was on us. The rest is history.

Sabhas debated whether it was wise to go ahead with the 'season'; many decided to go ahead though some artistes nodded the other way.

Let the music play, most said. And though it was a very damp 'season', it got through on a low key.

This year, we have not even sighted dark clouds post-Deepavali. And this week, the forecast did not hold hope for rains. Which means this water-starved city will have to suffer early next year. If the rainfall is not average.

Meanwhile, the pre-Season atmosphere is just surfacing. And on Friday, November 18, the weatherman said the monsoon has hit south Tamil Nadu and will advance northwards, and hopefully bathe Chennai.

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.