History of rasikas.org and its future

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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kssr
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#1 History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by kssr » 23 Jul 2010, 17:32

For the benefit of new users of this forum can the administrators tell us about the origin and development of rasikas.org and how it has grown to today's level and what are the new "major heads" in which it can grow.

Veterans like arasi and cmlover can definitely contribute.

Within a short period I am already addicted to this. I should confess that I now see only the General Discussions and Concert Reviews and Recordings sections.

Given the level of knowledge that several forumites like Mahakavi have got in Tamil Literature, my suggestion is that it will not be inappropriate to start a new section for this area, where people can discuss, learn and understand Tamil literature, with or without its connection to CM. This is besides the general head "Languages".
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arasi
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#2 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by arasi » 23 Jul 2010, 20:54

kssr,
You name me veteran but I am not one. Agreed. I am one of the 'most posting' rasika ;)
It's like asking: how did this garden grow? With someone starting it and maintaining it, of course (srkris), others contributing. Some forumites are top notch in their knowledge about music, each in their own fields too besides music (for example, CML). Visualize this! With all their talents, experience and expertise in CM, can you imagine practitioners of CM getting together and forming a forum like this for the benefit of rasikAs? (Soumya and Shashikiran are exceptions, but they do not have the time or the resources of very many volunteers as on our forum to keep it going in a dynamic way).
A garden Rasikas surely is and we don't quite see the hard work of those who spend their time in weeding, tending! We have lost a few precious trees and plants who were part of this garden, lost a few thousand members in the migration. Some valuable members walk in and walk out, dependent on the pressures of their own vocations. A sense of the self sometimes plays a role in their absence too ;)
We are all very different in our personalities and experiences. That's why we are a special botanical garden which can boast of many kinds of flora from all over the world. Yet, the essence of it all is that we love our CM and are concerned about its healthy growth.
You have to look in the Sahitya Section. Tamizh and other languages are discussed there in a vibrant way. That's where like Hanuman, Lji brings in the lyrics instantly. CM world will not forget his name in centuries to come. We have rshankar who tirelessly and poetically gives the translations, and others too. VK, who works hard at weeding (!) along with his many contributions. Akellagaru who does not give up his mission of teaching.
All the rest of us, you and I, who find a friendly (mostly so!) place to come to every day, find CM enthusiasts, learn a thing or two, listen to great stories from MKR and others, keep up to date about the music scene with our great bunch of reviewers!
Before some very sensible forumite shuts me up, all I want to say is, I'm a cheer leader, for sure :clap:
Last edited by arasi on 24 Jul 2010, 00:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Nick H
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#3 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by Nick H » 24 Jul 2010, 00:01

We all met up, although not all at the same time, in various places on the internet, that eventually closed down or became unsuitable, getting, eventually, scooped up into rasikas.org.

Every online forum and community (at least, those that do not charge for membership) is, ultimately dependent on the hospitality of the moderators, administrators, and, ultimately, those that pay the bill.

I'm grateful to them... Let's hope they don't get fed up for a long time!
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ksrimech
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#4 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by ksrimech » 24 Jul 2010, 00:08

arasi wrote:Agreed. I am one of the 'most posting' rasika ;)
It like Sachin Tendulkar humbly saying "Ah! I'm one of the most run-scoring players in cricket". The fact is you are the highest poster.
CML and rShankar are right behind like Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis are behind Sachin. :lol:

kssr, One thing I'll say, if people don't drive me out listening to my crap, I'll will stay here as long as rasikas forum (as NickH says) is there. :grin:

We should all wholeheartedly thank SrI srkris for putting this forum together and keeping it alive for the past 5 years. Thank you Sir.
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smala
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#5

Post by smala » 24 Jul 2010, 00:56

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smala
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#6

Post by smala » 24 Jul 2010, 01:04

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ragam-talam
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#7 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by ragam-talam » 24 Jul 2010, 01:33

There's also the related point of the impact of this forum on the carnatic music world.

I can cite a couple of examples; others could fill in...
1. for the past few years, we have had various posts here bemoaning the fact that Shri Manakkal Rangarajan had not received the recognition he deserved. It's possible that this year's award was influenced to some extent by the sentiments expressed here.
2. more recently, many of us may have followed the TMK-VS episode. It seems points of view expressed here have had some bearing on the subsequent change in attitude as expressed by Shri TMK.

In addition, regular reviews by forumites like rajeshnat have brought to our attention several artistes who otherwise may have found it difficult to get the name recognition they so richly deserve. Hopefully this is reflected in the attendance numbers at their concerts.

Personally, I feel this forum has been a significant force for the positive transformation of the CM world. Hope this continues, and gets even stronger and more focused in the future.
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arasi
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#8 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by arasi » 24 Jul 2010, 02:04

r_t,
True. Let's not underestimate regular contributions from folks like you.
We also have a number of members from the music world on the forum. To name a few, Neyveli Santhanagopalan, Mannargudi Easwaran, Neela Ramgopal, J&J, our Cienu, getting us closer to his grandmother, the light of CM, Suryaprakash, Carnatica Ramanathan, Shashikiran.
Those who contribute a lot? Mannarkoil Balaji, Erode Nagaraj (who is too busy at the moment, I guess :(
Among the up and coming: vocalist sankaranarayanan, gravikiran, Sandeep Narayanan, Shriranjani, Ritwick Raja. Not all of them post much. I'm also not sure about the membership after the migration. Gayatri Venkataraghavan was there, Gayatri Girish too. I'm sure I've left out names. Others may remember.
Last edited by arasi on 24 Jul 2010, 03:36, edited 1 time in total.
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VK RAMAN
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#9 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by VK RAMAN » 24 Jul 2010, 02:37

beating our own drum??
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mahakavi
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#10 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by mahakavi » 24 Jul 2010, 02:43

vkr:
tut tut. Stand up on the bench and stretch your palm out for 10 cane lashes for talking sacrilege in a sacred portal :devil:
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Nick H
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#11 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by Nick H » 24 Jul 2010, 02:46

ragam-talam wrote:There's also the related point of the impact of this forum on the carnatic music world.

I can cite a couple of examples; others could fill in...
I like to think we might have played a tiny part in Narada Gana Sabha seeing the need to refurbish their gent's toilets!
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smala
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#12

Post by smala » 24 Jul 2010, 02:49

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arasi
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#13 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by arasi » 24 Jul 2010, 03:38

Time for srkris to speak, I guess |(
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vasanthakokilam
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#14 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by vasanthakokilam » 24 Jul 2010, 04:58

Arasi: That is a good recap of the members who are professional musicians...And an eloquent write up on what this forum is all about. Quite apt for our resident author and composer to write that up.

As opposed to being a site for uploads and downloads of music, this forum is truly about discussions on music and music related matters with music that is related to the discussion. There was a period when Coolkarni provided the music and DRS led the discussion on many fronts, including his own masterly compositions.

And of course, for some R&R, there is a variety of interesting off-music topics in the Lounge. Food and social issues are the main topics with shyama-priya providing the necessary and much appreciated information and background.

It is quite an education to read the various posts of the members in the past 5 years.
Sri. msakella single-handedly increased the raga and thala related educational content hundred fold.

With respect to where this forum is going, to a large extent it is all defined by the interests of the members and the topics they open up and participate in. In addition to the Tamil sub-forum that is proposed ( members can conduct such discussions in the Language sub forum for now ), I would personally like to see our members sing/play music and share that for our entertainment and feedback. We can restart the interesting swara identification discussions. That was a lot of fun.

There is one thread that is semi finished which is to provide meaning for the top 500 telugu words used in Thyagaraa's compositions. Keerthi and others provided great input on that. We should probably finish that up.

My own pet project is to create a wiki page documenting the linkage English words->Latin &Greek Roots->Sanskrit Roots->Words used in Indian languages. I have started that in the Languages forum. The western side and eastern side exist in isolation, we need some knowledgeable person to link them up.
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cmlover
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#15 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by cmlover » 24 Jul 2010, 06:47

I am no good with History. But I can briefly summarize the evolution of rasikas.org.
We owe it all to S Ramakrishnan (srkris) who we affectionately called 'Chembai' ( for his intense devotion as well as site devoted to Chembai Vaidhyanatha Bhagavtar). We can divide the history into three periods. Let me call them
1. Muthal Sangam
2. IDai Sangam
3. KaDai Sangam

All records of the first Sangam were totally lost when we had a crash. Only I had saved the valuable works on Wodeyar commented by DRS using which srkris restored most of those records. All the rest were irrevokably lost.
The IDai Sangam was before our migration and the KaDai Sangam is where we are.

When srkris started this Forum single handedly I joined almost immediately (perhaps coolkarni did beat me to it) followed by Lakshman immediately. I went on a recruitment compaign to sangeetham.com which was flourishing at that time. But then sangeetham collapsed unexpectedly (we still don't know why!) as quite a few migrated to our site. arasi, meena and rshankar were our valuable additions from sangeetham. Those were the days we were blithely requesting for songs and the great KarNa (coolkarni) was there to do the u/l. The discussions were embellished by the wit and scholarship of our dear DRS who started sharing his own compositions. Let me skip the unfortunate period when we lost the stalwarts (DRS/Meena/Badri/coolkarni..). Both myself and VK tenaciously stuck together but were lucky to have you new comers coming in. Of course Lakshman with his yeoman service to the community was the main attraction as rshankar volunteered to provide translations for most of the Tamil kritis.

The migration has cost us some membership losses but they are still there and will come back in appropriate time.

More than anything let us look to the future. Let us be constructive and innovative. As arasi rightly points out love of CM is our common bond. Let us strengthen the bond by all means. Barring Sangitapriya which is a treasure house of CM performances this Forum is the primary resource for avant-garde CM discussions. Feel free to propose projects that will advance our objective of promoting CM. Again we started the Lounge to discuss topics not directly related to CM but which maybe of general interest. That is only for relaxation! We will not let the Lounge take over the main goal! Your constructive suggestions are always welcome. Discussions on Tamil (and othe languages) can take place in the Language section as do matters relating to Bhakti in that respective section.

Finally our undying gratitude should be all for srkris who had the vision to start this Forum and who is selflessly supporting this all along.
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vasanthakokilam
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#16 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by vasanthakokilam » 24 Jul 2010, 07:12

>All records of the first Sangam were totally lost when we had a crash.
I see why you went the Sangam route. ;)
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rajeshnat
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#17 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by rajeshnat » 24 Jul 2010, 08:38

CML
I liked the way you have categorized.Let me take one step at a time, Perhaps i can break into two halves the first mudhal sangam itself.

Mudhal sangam - Joy Era
-----------------------
In the year 2002 or 2003 the first forum that was very active was sangeetham.com .Sangeetham.com was started by two prominent personalities of CM , the musician sanjay subrahmanyan and the music historian v sriram,both also used to write with their own ids (sanjay occassionally but sriram more often). There were close to about 10000 posts or so , i atleast put about 75 to 100 kutcheri reviews . Some time in 2005 if my memory is right, our srkris used to write with a handle chembai there.

Chembai was there as much as cmlover,vk ,arasi ,rshankar,mohan, rbharath,myself ,vijay etc and many more presently retired and inactive posters like meena,drs ,coolkarni were all there. For me it was personally a great start for about 3 months i just watched whether to put any reviews of concert etc , than I took a plunge. No looking back.

As cml mentioned there were some great posts ,and there was one thread that was started called what are you listening now , it took itself 5 to 10% posts , everybody started sharing their music and uploaded and gave a link in that thread , perhaps I would say that download links become a precursor to the formation of sangeethapriyA and we all upgrading our harddisks .

Some time in end of 2005 or beginning of 2006, chembai(our srkris was before chembai) got fumed with some thread in sangeetham.com and he put a small post saying that he is starting a new site by name rasikas.org . I vaguely remember chembai was supported by cmlover asking us to join too. But most of us did not find any interest in the rasikas.org then as sangeetham.com was up always and more importantly we all did not have time to participate in two forums . There were few like me who registered in rasikas.org without making a post .

Nevertheless sangeetham.com ruled till early 2006 , I really liked that site a lot very good monitoring by mods and I remember v sriram even took an initiative to organize a bus tour to tiruvayur and thanjAvur. Hats off to sangeetham.com team. In that site the ip of the posters was also published so to an extent duplicate posters were caught, but in that site musicians other than sanjay did not participate (perhaps only mannArkoil balAji was there , not sure though). But certainly musicians were not that comfortable to be in that site , but rasikas like me had no qualms sangeetham.com was on a roll ..... Kudos to sanjay and sriram was my praise during those days....

Then what happened............






Mudhal sangam - Backstab without notice era
--------------------------------------------------------
In 2006 there was a very minor post by v sriram saying that he is not finding much time to maintain, and he has few business decisions to make . None of us knew that a tsunami was right there . One fine day in 2006 and till now when we all typed sangeetham.com , a perennial message came up "site under maintainence" and it was there for atleast few years.

What was very cheap with sangeetham.com , I hope sanjay and v sriram have the guts to come here , post and explain :

# Why they did what they did?

# Why was no notice given to any of us especially all the posters of sangeetham.com?

# What is there to maintain the site and what were the reasons to pull down the site?

# Even in the worst case why cant they resurrect the site and atleast keep it read only so that we have access to those lovely content?

# I am rightfully accusing (unless proven wrong)that sanjay and sriram took a stand of crossing the bridge and then burning the bridge. ? They perhaps did not want to democratize the forum and give more fair chance for other artists to be represented?

# Incidentally they made sure not even an ounce of content was available even in google cache they took all our hardwork and robbed each of us?

Next two sangams little later???
Last edited by rajeshnat on 24 Jul 2010, 21:16, edited 1 time in total.
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venkatpv
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#18 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by venkatpv » 24 Jul 2010, 19:29

... the musicologist v sriram
rajeshn t,
v sriram is a music historian... not a musicologist.
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mahakavi
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#19 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by mahakavi » 24 Jul 2010, 19:59

venkatpv wrote: rajeshn t,
v sriram is a music historian... not a musicologist.
I guess sriram can be called a musicologist. He can tell rAgas apart, discuss the nuances, grahabedam, srutibedam etc. He has reviewed technical aspects of Sanjay's concerts in his blog. Perhaps not the caliber of SRJ and others. but he is there in the lineup if at all at the lower rungs.
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venkatpv
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#20 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by venkatpv » 24 Jul 2010, 20:07

not to belabor the point... but no! he isn't a musicologist.

going by your definition, most members here would be musicologists too. Sriram is perhaps a well-informed rasika... thats about it.
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rshankar
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#21 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by rshankar » 24 Jul 2010, 20:38

One of the prime reasons for why this site evolved into a forum for discussing music rather than one for merely exchanging tracks was a rather disturbing incident that occurred (either during the period of the first sangam or the second - not sure)...
In the early days, people would share tracks, but, the implicit understanding was that they would not be commercial ones. Many of the initial members did exchange tracks, especially to illustrate points being made. People like Dr. Shrikaanth (DRS) were superb teachers, and Kji would post tracks that would illustrate the nuance/idea being discussed. In this atmosphere, a person who took the name of Sivaraman on the forum, and was from Bombay also joined in, and started posting some tracks (one of the tracks he posted is the best tamizh movie song I have EVER heard in terms of melody - Bombay Smt. Jayashree singing under Sri Ilayaraja's direction - 'kai vINaiyai Endum kalaivANiyE' - in AsA bilAval). However, therein lay the problem - some of the tracks were commercial. There was yet another member from Australia who took the name of 'vocalist' on the forum, and he created a storm-in-a tea-cup, by threatening to unleash the law onto chembai and all other forumites. It was the time when the Napster brouhaha was brewing, and very quickly, the storm-in-a-teacup assumed the hallmarks of a tsunami. To make a long story short, chembai created rules that forbade people from posting commercial links, creating and using duplicate ids, etc. 'Vocalist' was kept off the forum for a time for the very inappropriate tone he took, before being re-admitted after everything and everyone had cooled off. The person whose actions unleashed the storm unfortunately faded away with nary an apology.
I started to 'translate' many years ago to help a UK-based Romanian bharatanATyam dancer who belonged to the hoary Sishya parampara of Smt. Balasaraswati, and in the process, I have been the person who has benefited the most by increasing my understanding of not only tamizh, but of languages like sanskrit, hindi, telugu and kannaDA. Some of my cyber-teachers include (but are not restricted to) Arasi, Rajani, CML, DRS, Sridhar, Mahakavi, keerthi (for tamizh), Rajani, keerthi, DRS, CML (for sanskrit), Rigapada, Sishya, Divakar, keerthi, Ganesh (for telugu), DRS, Ramakriya, Rao, keerthi (for kannaDA), and krishnaa (for hindi)....R-T has been most helpful with malayALam.
On yet another personal note, I find the Natya forum very informative with links and 'discussions' provided by people like KSL, Ganesh, Madhan, Parimal, and my good friend, Umesh.
And if we talk of history, I think the member's lounge was set up to accommodate the catholic tastes and interests of members like GBL and S_P.
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kssr
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#22 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by kssr » 24 Jul 2010, 20:45

Oh! What an overwhelming response in just a day's time to my humble curiosity. Thank you forumites-nay friends. I am sure that there are going to be many more ladies and gentlemen who will share their experiences and thoughts in the coming days. At the moment I will only say that this shall not be the Kadai Sangam, It will be a Nadai Singam- Walking lion, for many many years to come. In which year was rasikas started?
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rajeshnat
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#23 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by rajeshnat » 24 Jul 2010, 21:21

venkatpv wrote: v sriram is a music historian... not a musicologist.
You are right , I corrected it ,thanks
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vasanthakokilam
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#24 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by vasanthakokilam » 24 Jul 2010, 22:20

mahakavi wrote: I guess sriram can be called a musicologist. He can tell rAgas apart, discuss the nuances, grahabedam, srutibedam etc. He has reviewed technical aspects of Sanjay's concerts in his blog. Perhaps not the caliber of SRJ and others. but he is there in the lineup if at all at the lower rungs.
Mahakavi, that is not even close to be called a musicologist.

On a lighter note, I thought you are against dilution of standards, grades and titles!! Got you!! ( just kidding ).
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cmlover
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#25 Re: History of rasikas.org and its future

Post by cmlover » 24 Jul 2010, 23:38

Thanks Rajesh/rshankar
I guess we started in 2005 and sangeetham breathed last in 2006.

I was an early member in sangeetham too but my interest being in philosophy my posts were not weighty like those of Rajesh who even then wrote superb reviews. Let us also not forget the valuable contributions of Subramanian (our mahakavi) to sangeetham. in the language and Tamil sahityam area. We also shared many delightful informative anecdotes about CM artistes past and present (some gossip too :D ) One of the turning point was "what are you listening now" (that rajesh referred to). That opened the floodgates of sharing with Raju Asokan (the Collector Supreme (acknowledged even by coolkarn)) unloading his most precious collected jewels at the Net. Many others also decided to open their treasured collections for public sharing. That inspired Srini Rajagopalan (thanks to him!) to start Sangitapriya in a small way which first hosted the collections posted at sangeetham and which has grown into the vigorous mega organization which is the ultimate resource of CM on the net today.

During the early days ChitravINa Ravikiran participated at sangeetham very actively. That was the time he had unearthed the new manuscript of NKB on many rare sahityams of OVK. Ravikiran wanted to share his finds with us all and wanted to prove that OVK was the forgotten supreme in CM which was not relished by some. Using the anonymity of the forum they attacked Ravikiran unjustly who fianlly gave up. But the interest in OVK among CM Rassikas has come to stay, thanks to the discriminting Rasikas.

When we knew that sangeetham was shutting down we tried to acquire in vain their archives (especially the special articles whiich are priceless gems) and srkris tried his best. I still hope that Sanjay/Sriram will open negotiations with srkris in the interest of the glory of CM which sangeetham maintained! Let us hope Rajesh's clarion call gets a response!

Thanks Shankar for the nice discussion of the 'Vocalist' episode which was also comical. You should also summarize the rub with Rajan Parikkar (of SAWF) which sounded the death knell to our sharing great HM renditions.

As we continue with the History let us also hear from you guys about our future directions. Personally I feel that these days there is no depth in our musical dicussions. We used to have a lot of materials on CM from very knowledgeable persons. They are still missing. There is 'heat' and participation on controversial issues. But then they are also needed since they do achieve some positive results as Nick observed. At present we have newcomers like MKR who add to our knowledge and understanding of the oldtime veterans. We need more such. We also need more on CM History. We need more discussions on Ragas and Laya. We should encourage more the budding performers especially the youngsters by giving them a visibility through this Forum. You may even post Youtube links or clippings from their performances (with their pemissions). There is a lot that can be done at the Language Forum in helping folks to understand the sahityas. Our srkris is himself a good researcher on linguistics. When he finds time I hope he will add to our knowledgebase. We used to have V Govindan who was the acknowledged expert on Telugu and T's kritis. Of course Keerthi is helping a lot. The Bhakti forum is quite dormant these days which used to be quite vibrant erstwhile. The Lounge is always good (we owe it to GBL for its creation) and shyama priya is suerb in preserving our culinary traditions. Again many thanks to ragam-talam for instantly getting us interesting links from the Web.

There is much work to be done. So come one, come all; let us make History!

There is much more to be done
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