Native and Immigrant Sounds

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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arvind.brahmakal
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#1 Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by arvind.brahmakal »

Native and Immigrant Sounds

This last month has been an interesting mix of ideas, thoughts, actions and emotions by Carnatic musicians, audiences and organisations. Some feeling threatened, some threatening, some giving up and many others pouring out either anguish or encomiums. Several clichés are freely being used – creative liberty, communalism, spirit of oneness, spewing hate, plagiarism, etc. All these have resulted in a muddled discourse from all sides and the final schema could evolve only with more discussion and debate. It should be welcomed that this dialogue is happening and is providing publicity (good and bad) for the art form and for the artistes.

In the middle of all this is the person who goes to a music performance. If a person, in these busy times, spends couple of hours travelling to attend a 2-3 hour concert, there are certain expectations - that of coming back home relaxed, happier and satisfied. If these are not achieved, what is the use of such music and of spending so much time at a concert? One could possibly explore other avenues to achieve similar results.

One dimension of the recent debate is whether songs on Jesus and Allah (unfortunately, others like Buddha, Mahaveera are left out) should form part of the Carnatic Music idiom. Every faith has some native sounds and the people practicing them are conditioned to listening to them, over several centuries. This is very much like symbols, structures, culture, etc. Compositions on Hindu Gods are in Carnatic Music idiom as these sounds are native to this faith. Hence, the audience you find in any Carnatic Music concert is largely ones who practice Hindu faith. Feeding these audiences with songs on other faiths is like thrusting other faiths on Hinduism. The question to then ask is towards what end is this experiment aimed at?

Similarly, there are sounds that are native to Christianity and Islam. A deep sense of reverence for people of these faiths arises when only those native sounds are heard. By thrusting the native sounds of Hinduism on followers of different faiths, what is the intended purpose? Christians and Muslims may not feel the same reverence when songs on their Gods are rendered in immigrant sounds as opposed to their native sounds? The audiences may also feel threatened that there is an ulterior motive of thrusting Hinduism on them.

There could be another experiment of using native sounds of Christianity and Islam and superimposing lyrics on Hindu Gods. The same set of apprehensions as listed above apply – will Hindus feel the same reverence with these immigrant sounds and will they not remain in a lurking suspicion of an attempt to impose other faiths on Hinduism.

Freedom of expression, subject to reasonable restrictions, has to be protected for every artiste. Artistes being creative people will want to explore different dimensions to expand the acceptability of their art. Let the experiment be to promote social harmony in the true sense of the term by not mixing everything up but by respecting and honouring each for what it is. Within these confines, surely there is plenty to be done as music is universal and can provide peace, happiness and relaxation to everyone on this planet. Artistic freedom is good but artistic adventurism can be lead to a more hateful world, which goes exactly opposite to the purpose of practicing the art.

After all, why change something that is not broken? The audiences of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam could all rebel in equal measure. Every innovative artistic attempt without a sound rationale and a purpose may be viewed as a back door support for inter-faith conversions. Music collapses…
- Arvind Brahmakal

ganesh_mourthy
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#2 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by ganesh_mourthy »

Every art form goes through an evolution, consciously or unconsciously and so does culture, thoughts, ideas, practices and the likes,... It is the timing and the abruptness that causes the disarray.

A few years ago, I ordered a conizza pizza from Pizza corner. It was a cone-shaped pizza base, slightly crispy filled with some cheeze and a lot of something similar to thick corn soup. Definitely, pizza has evolved to paneer pizza, with some Indian flavors on top which are getting popular. But this connizza was blatant. My Italian friend who is a purist and who does not merit anything other than Margaretta as pizza felt this process conizza thingy inconceivable. He was ranting and abusing the way it was exploited. I could very well understand his feelings towards his Margaretta ( lovely sounding pizza ). And mind you, this was in Pondicherry and not in Italy, yet his anger was justifiable.

Music dwells much deeper. We have adapted too, but rather slowly with reference to the pulse of the ethos at different periods ...and which was not deliberate. It just happened. When we make something forcibly happen that is a different issue.

Nick H
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#3 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by Nick H »

Another thread for the dump..

Perhaps I am being a little harsh. There is something to be said for the idea of everything being in it's right place. But a third thread on the same general topic? Into which the same people will pile the same stuff.

There was a bandwagon. If you wanted in, you should have got on it. Hopefully, now, it is leaving the station and going somewhere else anyway.

arasi
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#4 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by arasi »

Nick,
The jet lag (train lag?) from that never-ending ride thread is something which lingers on, yes. Yet, considering that Arvind Bramhakal is not only a rasikA but a key figure in nurturing CM in Bengaluru, someone who in recent years has become part of the group of veteran organizers there by his constant efforts, made me read the thread. It's not tiNNaip pEchu (idle talk) here. Sachi and other Bengaloreans can substantiate on this. This baby, we don't wish to throw out with the bath water :)

sureshvv
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#5 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by sureshvv »

arvind.brahmakal wrote: 26 Aug 2018, 13:28 <snip>
Music collapses…
- Arvind Brahmakal
Nope. It won't. What was immigrant once is now native. We just need more faith. :)

shankarank
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#6 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by shankarank »

I would like to add my 2 cents. I have no issues if a community of Christians anywhere simply without much ado ( like a press release, a pastor, and sound bytes on communal harmony!) invite any musician of any genre to perform whatever they wish. For me Jesus is a teacher just like any of the Rshis and instead of aping the west and their symbolism and their dogmas, core teachings can be taught in public schools!

We read the tEmbAvaNi by vIRa mAmunivar! That was part of the text!

The issue is the Church and the institution!. Not the people!

It is interesting that the original post wants to define a Hinduism and a music for it - the religion in my school register and in the constitution of India! I understand the people of kaRnATakA want to identify this music with the bhakti tradition of dasas etc. etc. And this plays into whether it is kaRnATaka sangIta or Carnatic music. I respect that under certain conditions.

It has to be reciprocal.

We are plagued by several issues. Some of it raised by TMK albeit in a wrong forum of the press ( and we complain about social media!). There is no respect and appreciation for instrumental music ( before I even venture to Mridangam that is!). To say that the words of kritis and their meaning and emotion ( a diminished sense of the word bhava) evoked is the fulcrum of this music is utterly false!!

There seem to be a underlying vaishnavite misunderstanding also that goes with all this!

And how long have we had a discussion on whether tamizh is suited for music? What a bunch of fools we were?

All through tamizhnad there are people who have not converted who assert they are NOT Hindus! Yet we define this as one religion.

Tamizh classical works bring the candam if not the soft consonants and vowels! And what about Sanskrit - it has quite a good amount of hard consonants as well. Dikshitar was thought to be un-improvisable and was never taken up for the profession of music for a long time! And we give reason too. tyAgarAja was a rAma bhakta!! His kritis are full of bhakti!

And today we come and talk about native sounds! Most of the compositions are in telugu , yet we have Karnatakans claiming ownership! Is this the Nizam's (Hyderabad!) karnataka or what?

First talk about whether you accept Mridangam is music or NOT, then I will address your points! Thread adjourned!

shankarank
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#7 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by shankarank »

ganesh_mourthy wrote: 26 Aug 2018, 14:07 Definitely, pizza has evolved to paneer pizza, with some Indian flavors on top which are getting popular. But this connizza was blatant. My Italian friend who is a purist and who does not merit anything other than Margaretta as pizza felt this process conizza thingy inconceivable. He was ranting and abusing the way it was exploited. I could very well understand his feelings towards his Margaretta ( lovely sounding pizza ). And mind you, this was in Pondicherry and not in Italy, yet his anger was justifiable.
Your friend should complain more about the appropriation , Macdonaldization and Pizza Hutization and guttization of Pizza by multi-nationals before he complains about some remote kaiyEndhi bhavan ( road side vendor!) doing a Conniza! Now a genuine Pizza is available only in a high end restaurant in Ottawa Canada , to a serving of tea with Closed brewing system ( as claimed by the waiter!) and the poor man's food in Italy is being served to poor h1B(s) in America when they go touring - by the multinationals!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza_Corner Pizza Corner was a brand of Global Franchise Architects (GFA), a Geneva, Switzerland-based company that builds, operates, and franchises a specialty food service brands.
In 1998, Pizza Corner launched the Food for Good program in association with the Don Bosco Yuva Kendra as part of the initiative to help provide education to 20 deserving street children in Bangalore, India.
That escaped your attention! And you sounded as if Indians are appropriating Pizza. What if I say a Swiss multinational company is appropriating the Indian spicy tastes into it's dishes!

Isn't Church a multi-national, in fact a consulate of the vatican - in the case of Catholics??

And there is a Chicago - deep dish heart attack Pizza also!

Nick H
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#8 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by Nick H »

arasi wrote: 26 Aug 2018, 19:49 Nick,
The jet lag (train lag?) from that never-ending ride thread is something which lingers on, yes. Yet, considering that Arvind Bramhakal is not only a rasikA but a key figure in nurturing CM in Bengaluru, someone who in recent years has become part of the group of veteran organizers there by his constant efforts, made me read the thread. It's not tiNNaip pEchu (idle talk) here. Sachi and other Bengaloreans can substantiate on this. This baby, we don't wish to throw out with the bath water :)
It's another thread for the dump.

For goodness sake, how many do we have to have around this topic? I don't care who posted it: if they want to join the scrum, it's going on over there.

And it is just a new nonsense. Christian sound? What's that? From what century should that be picked? Should it be Greek Christian? Roman Christian? Russian? Gospel?

Let's empty this bath and close the tap.

sureshvv
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#9 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by sureshvv »

Nick H wrote: 27 Aug 2018, 00:14 Christian sound? What's that? From what century should that be picked? Should it be Greek Christian? Roman Christian? Russian? Gospel?
And what is the "Native" sound? Carnatic? Hindustani? Dhrupad? Sufi? Kalyani? HameerKalyani? Kapi with Kakali Ni?

sureshvv
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#10 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by sureshvv »


Nick H
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#11 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by Nick H »

... Common sense and reasonability.

It'll never catch on!

:evil:

Nick H
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#12 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by Nick H »

sureshvv wrote: 27 Aug 2018, 10:59
And what is the "Native" sound? Carnatic? Hindustani? Dhrupad? Sufi? Kalyani? HameerKalyani? Kapi with Kakali Ni?
Film music.

Which is probably what inspires the pop rubbish of Indian churches more than anything else. Perhaps people should start making a fuss about that!

ganesh_mourthy
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#13 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by ganesh_mourthy »

Ah NIck ...

I am latecomer here after a hiatus. Did not realize it was discussed threadbare. Walking out of the bath ... someone close the tap. ;)

Nick H
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#14 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by Nick H »

Welcome back!

Sorry you came from hiatus and fell in hole! :lol:

shankarank
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#15 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by shankarank »

Yeah sitting in his high horse , the rookie secretary takes a swipe at the crowd which is only following the strategy of the first war of Independence with rumor about beef cartridges.

And he was shown several counter examples in the social media troll: https://twitter.com/MadrasMobile/status ... 4997570562

The real issue are the people in the picture there , other than the musicians (Not troll, Not social media):

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/t ... 329715.ece

sureshvv
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#16 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by sureshvv »

shankarank wrote: 27 Aug 2018, 18:52
The real issue are the people in the picture there , other than the musicians (Not troll, Not social media):

https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/t ... 329715.ece
And here I am feeling proud that we have finally crossed narrow religious barriers and are able to celebrate together instead of living in ghettos. But you must like those.

shankarank
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#17 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by shankarank »

But I must not feel so proud about the naivete of people who don't question why there were barriers in the first place and why they were erected and why they are still in place after 400 years. In addition how many such barriers and wedges were created within the Indian populace. Well narrowly focusing, who created the other main barrier right here in tamizhnadu? Who claims superiority here? Isn't that the wedge issue? Isn't the barriers where such ideologies thrive?

sureshvv
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#18 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by sureshvv »

Sometimes we just need to move on.

ganeshcr
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#19 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by ganeshcr »

hope this is not a sign of things to come. Hinduism being classified as an "alien" culture.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ind ... 568052.cms

Nick H
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#20 Re: Native and Immigrant Sounds

Post by Nick H »

It's certainly nothing to do with this subject.

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