Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
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#1 Goodbye!

Post by bala747 » 06 Mar 2019, 22:48

Endaro Mahanubhavulu andariki vandanamu.

All cliched carnatic speeches begin thus, so who am I to buck tradition? I have been lurking for a long time, wondering how to say goodbye, and I found out that Aruna Sairam has been awarded the Sangitha Kalanidhi. If she can be considered the foremost musician today, I know nothing about music, and there is nothing for me to talk about anymore. This is as good a time as any to finally say goodbye.

For those who know me, I hope this final post makes you smile. I apologise again for any toes I may have stepped on.

For those who know me not, I used to be active in the old forum, and in the earlier days of this place. I was born in Mumbai, and I come from a family that reveres music. Ancestral home being Tirunelveli, the ever-flowing Tambrabarani river was the source of any musical talent in my family's ancestry. (I don't just mean this facetiously. My dad's house was literally a field from it). My father's side were mostly farmers, teachers and bhagavathars. On my mother's side, they hailed from Kanyakumari, and were courtiers and musicians in the Travancore court since the days of Swati Tirunal's great-grandfather.

My mother had a lot of ability but never pursued music as anything but a hobby. However she sang ALL the time. To this day I can recall her Divakara Tanujam and Sri Venkata girisam. She never 'practised'. The sruthi box (made at home by my dad, an electronics engineer) would be on, and she would be singing while doing her chores and preparing for work. She also never 'taught' me music (though she taught a lot of students later in Singapore). She tried to have it taught to me, but I never was a good student in any sort of formal setting. I would walk out of the house, but instead of going for classes I would use the hour to take a walk around my neighbourhood, and walk back home. After realising the futility of trying to cajole/threaten/beat me into going for class, they gave up. On hindsight I would have liked to have learnt some krithis formally from my mother. She had a very unique padanthara, and some of the krithis she learnt were gems.

However, our violin teacher lived in Chembur where my grandparents were, so I gladly took it up, because it was just myself and my brother and the teacher and also, I got to spend the weekend at the grandparents', and various visiting relatives where the topic of discussion will almost invariably be music. My family idolised the nagaswaram. To them, TNR and Karukurichi were the greatest musicians ever in any era. GNB, Semmangudi, Kalyanaraman and later Santhanam (I know, but if you know me, talk to me and I can defend that) were everything in vocal music. Others were okay, but not really worth going out of your way to listen to. The arguments between relatives was invariably who was better, GNB or Semmangudi, that extended well into the 1990's, with every kind of argument tossed at the other by very highly opinionated, musically inclined relatives between the ages of 10 to 90.

I never liked to 'perform', though eventually I had to (or I would never hear the end of it from mother), in Mumbai and later when we moved to Singapore. Usually I would accompany some visiting artiste at a temple, but mostly I would just play whatever I felt like playing at home, going for classes here to try and get to a point where in dim light someone might mistake me for a violinist. I would buy up every cassette/CD in existence on everyone I could listen to. Living in Singapore meant losing the connection with my extended family in Mumbai, and it was this that brought me to, the first real forum about music. From then on began a more earnest journey into music. I could again talk about music with other highly opinionated, musically inclined strangers between the ages of 18 (I hope) and 90.

The discussions at got me to come around to appreciate Madurai Mani Iyer's music more for a start. My family basically considered him a 'thengai moodi' singer when compared to GNB or even SSI. In my granddad's household GNB was king, and Rajarathnam the emperor. Everyone else was a level below. Semmangudi, Santhanam and their school was a distant second, MDR was a great 'gnanasthan' who had no stage appeal. The likes of DKJ, Vedavalli, S Ramanathan were dismissed outright as being nothing more than overrated paatu-teachers on stage. It was through and that I got to know more about the music of Ramnad Krishnan, Brinda and the Dhanammal school (and a glimpse at her abode in Chennai during a walk), and I found out I wasn't crazy for actually liking MDR's concerts. I even got to tolerating DKJ in small doses. It was also here that I started sharing from my small collection of music.

Those who remember the days before the ready availability of great concerts on youtube and sangeethapriya, how difficult it was to get your hands on a complete concert of anyone from yesteryear. AVM released brutally chopped up versions of Music Academy concerts every now and then but other than that it was all in the hands of private collectors. One had to beg and cajole some curmudgeonly 90 year old fossil of a distant relative to let them tape a concert in their collection. Kids these days will have no idea about spool tape and audio-cassettes, and that is a good thing. But taping a concert through a spool tape player, holding a recording walkman, and being VERY silent, hoping as little of the background noise crept into the recording was how I had to record music from some jealously paranoid relatives. Even in the early days of internet, you had a few websites that had a few clips (and that's where I first heard Sathur Subramaniam), but that was it. I started sharing concerts with other rasikas here, and in return got a treasure trove from other far richer rasikas who were also doing the same. I had so much music now that I couldn't get through it all in a lifetime. To those rasikas (Sri Kulkarni and Sri Asokan being two names that spring foremost to mind), I am forever in musical debt.

As a result I stopped attending live concerts, unless it was someone I really admired or hadn't heard before (and that was a dwindling list). Why spend good money to hear tmkrishna (his name doesn't deserve capitalisation) when I can listen to Semmangudi? Furthermore, it appeals to my misanthropic nature. I used to attend concerts and talk about them here, but the thought of travelling all the way to the city, only to be pissed off for three hours, and to hurl vitriol on the performance here the next day appealed less and less. It's not like my views on Abhishek Raghuram will make him not spit on Diksithar's memory by butchering Ananda Natana Prakasam. He will continue to mangle the words while performing various vocal and laya histrionics regardless, and people will continue to call him a musician. I don't need to listen to that garbage anymore, nor do I need to belabour the point. So I stopped going to concerts altogether.

The illness and passing of my mother in 2008 meant I had even fewer reasons to talk about music and pretty much became a lurker here. Now I have three daughters, and all three expect me to teach them music, so what little time I had for browsing for news on music is now spent teaching them. So this is really a time for me to stop talking about music and just indulge in it.

So with that I bid everyone here adieu. Thank you, and goodnight.

Balaji Narasimhan
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Nick H
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#2 Re: Goodbye!

Post by Nick H » 07 Mar 2019, 02:34

Bye bye, then! It's been a long time, I guess.

But... you can go on lurking, and nothing changes. The only really final/formal arrivals and departures in (one) life are at its beginning and end.
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#3 Re: Goodbye!

Post by sureshvv » 07 Mar 2019, 09:48

Nick H wrote:
07 Mar 2019, 02:34
The only really final/formal arrivals and departures in (one) life are at its beginning and end.
And even they are not final. Another bloke will come along, pretty much like you (although in your particular case, I wonder :D) !
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#4 Re: Goodbye!

Post by RSR » 07 Mar 2019, 17:07

@1-> I thought that while the rasikas young, middle-aged and old and perhaps, very old too are most welcome to praise the musicians whom they like, it is the policy of this forum, to carefully avoid airing 'negative' opinions. about any artiste. While there are many in this forum who like Sri.Rajarathnam Pillai, and GNB, I wonder how many would endorse the post which just totally ignores a whole generation of eternal glory of 'Carnatic Summer. '. Material may be fit for a blog post but not for this forum.
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#5 Re: Goodbye!

Post by ram1999 » 07 Mar 2019, 17:36

A Post in very bad taste.
And I dont understand why one should write a long post to say Goodbye.
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#6 Re: Goodbye!

Post by Nick H » 07 Mar 2019, 18:22

why one should write a long post to say Goodbye
Letting the spanner out of the bag

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#7 Re: Goodbye!

Post by prashant » 08 Mar 2019, 09:55

The narcissism and obnoxiousness continues even while saying goodbye :D
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#8 Re: Goodbye!

Post by sankark » 08 Mar 2019, 10:49

bala747 wrote:
06 Mar 2019, 22:48
In my granddad's household GNB was king, and Rajarathnam the emperor.
As long as the household didn't come to realize eventually, the emperor had no clothes, and lament, all is well. :P
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#9 Re: Goodbye!

Post by ramarama » 08 Mar 2019, 11:28

"I found out that Aruna Sairam has been awarded the Sangitha Kalanidhi. If she can be considered the foremost musician today, I know nothing about music"

Thinking that a highly politicized award awarded by mere humans on a committee has any bearing on who is the "foremost musician today" (again a phrase that means almost nothing) does reflect some ignorance about the world of Carnatic music. :lol:
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#10 Re: Goodbye!

Post by Nick H » 08 Mar 2019, 23:41

prashant wrote:
08 Mar 2019, 09:55
The narcissism and obnoxiousness ... ... ...
But he's right about one thing :twisted: :lol:
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#11 Re: Goodbye!

Post by shankarank » 20 Mar 2019, 10:22

Golden Parachute for a quite a heavy thuddy landing from rasikas flight 747.

mOrkuzhambu from Coconut yogurt! USD $4 a pot!

Reverse osmosis in a water starved Singapore using an expensive RO plant installed at the home inlet with Coconut filters.

No Coconut tree products. Thegan - a form of vegan which now avoids Coconut products as well.
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