Question on CM past state and evolution

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
RSR
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#26 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by RSR » 06 Apr 2019, 10:56

A very nice and pertinent blog-post by 'gamakam'-( 'lalitharam'-'parivadhini') about sabha culture and nagaswaram concerts. Who loses? It is in tamizh.
He is narrating his experience in getting a suitable venue for Nagaswaram concerts
Please read more at:

https://carnaticmusicreview.wordpress.c ... mment-1003
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shankarank
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#27 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by shankarank » 06 Apr 2019, 23:22

RSR wrote:
06 Apr 2019, 10:56
about sabha culture and nagaswaram concerts
How does, what happens in a community hall in an Urban space, anything to do with sabha culture? Sabha culture has its own problems, but I don't think this issue of noise sensitivity in an urban space should be discussed in the context of lack of support to Nadasvaram.

First off if a new sabha cannot find space in a rich(relatively economically affording) Urban space , whose issue is that? You want to wait for UNESCO funds to construct a closed Auditorium? Now do you understand the importance of tickets and sabhas getting funding?

There are more fundamental problems. Don't discuss symptoms!
RSR wrote:
05 Apr 2019, 14:44
instead of the perfomers bending to the taste of 'rasikas'. the artistes shaping the taste of listeners without any constraint of time, was and still is possible in Nagaswaram playing in temple deity processions.
The people then, were not connoisseurs. In the tradition, it was called mangaLa vAdyam - now urbanites even attacked this concept and made it a pejorative!. In urban intellect speak, it actually should be expressed as "the nAdam is sacred!!"

The people will hear it no matter what. Nothing to do with their tastes! The vidvans followed a sampradaya and added their sAdaka.

Listen here - a simple papanasam sivan song - in a lite pentatonic tune:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdLyzQRq0gg

How much is being done? You don't need to know layam intricacies. As if we know rAgam intricacies. This rAgA identification contest and peer pressure - probably a symptom of deeper sabha problem.
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#28 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by RSR » 07 Apr 2019, 21:09

To be a lay rasika , one need not know the INTRICACIES of either layam or ragam. Speaking of ragam only, ragam awareness comes by listening to tunes many many times. I think, that is the process of learning any thing.. Temple deity processions, ( I think, even Thyagaraja Swami was an admirer..as reflected in some of his lyrics)..Nagaswaram treats , train our ears to ragams .
How were CM concerts performed before 1930? Even in the decades 1930-1950? Mostly in temple concerts. Funds were collected from well-to-do people but the concert was free to devotees.
It is possible even now. Were there not countless concerts by Smt.MS on this pattern? If at all money was collected, it was immediately donated for the cause for which the concert was arranged. I am giving the link and highlights in my next post.
Being open-air concert, it can accommodate Nagaswaram easily.
How does Ramanavami music festival arranges for Nagaswaram concerts?
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#29 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by RSR » 07 Apr 2019, 21:49

In continuation of my post at @28
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https://www.thehindu.com/2004/12/13/sto ... 980400.htm
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some excerpts
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UDUPI, DEC. 12. M.S. Subbulakshmi, renowned Carnatic vocalist , had visited Udupi and Manipal. She gave a concert in Udupi in 1969 and one in Manipal in 1977. The concerts, both free, were highly acclaimed and remain etched in the memory of music lovers in the district.
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M.S. came for the inaugural function of the festival. She initially did not agree to perform in a temporary auditorium at Rajangana because there was a chance of her voice getting muffled. But she was informed that a large number of people would be coming to attend her concert and it was not possible to make any alternative arrangement. M.S. agreed and performed.
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The next concert M.S. gave was in an open-air theatre on Manipal Junior College Grounds during the 80th birthday celebrations of T.M.A. Pai, the architect of modern Manipal, at Manipal on April 30 in 1977. Mr. Shenoy said M.S. had some apprehensions. She sent her technicians to check the mike and music arrangements. They checked for about four hours and gave their nod. This concert was also a huge success
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As the head of Sangeet Sabha, an organisation promoting music in these parts, Mr. Shenoy approached M.S. in 1984 for performing in a concert. M.S. agreed and again she did not charge any fees for herself. She only said that a cheque for Rs. 10,000 be sent to Gandhigram Seva Trust in Madurai. But her daughter Radha fell ill and was admitted to Wellington Hospital in Chennai. Hence the programme had to be cancelled.
M.S. returned the cheque.
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RSR
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#30 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by RSR » 13 Apr 2019, 15:28

Came across this interview of a famous Nagaswaram Vidwan.
Q- We get to hear less and less of this noble instrument. How do we get back to that golden period of the nagaswaram, which artists like you must have witnessed?

A"In Tiruvarur, the temple festival was held for 25 days. The nagaswaram was played on all the days, a raga for a day and through the night.

Mallari was performed with four nagaswarams and plenty of thavils.

In the present scenario, temple festivals have been drastically scaled down. In some places, the nagaswaram is played briefly only during the final ceremony (deepa aradhanai).
Well, I pray that the glory of the instrument is restored."
=================================================
READ MORE AT
https://www.thehindu.com/features/frida ... 240930.ece
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shankarank
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#31 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by shankarank » 14 Apr 2019, 00:57

@RSR #29 -> People who have gained stature can act with a highest ideal in mind and seek a higher ethic. That is their calling. Such an option or obligation should not be imposed on / expected off of everybody.

Even in recent times, plenty of musicians performed for a paltry sum in cities outside of the Carnatic mainstay. Many musicians local to such areas , like where I grew up, sang free in utsavams where I had listened to them. These include vidushis who graced my town because their family moved there due to job transfers of the bread earner. Some of them were AIR grade.

Even in Chennai , before I became an NRI or had a job, I have listened to many concerts free of many famous vidvans only in Ayodhya Mantapam.

Once I could afford, I did not fret about paying for such gala events as Malkauns festival @NGS, where I happened to listen to an MSG solo with his daughter along with UKS and that of Pt. Chaurasia, leave alone a normal traditional concert.

So stop singling out sabhas and musicians as money makers. First look around!
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sureshvv
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#32 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by sureshvv » 14 Apr 2019, 10:55

Thanks to AIR and other well intentioned philanthropists, the Nadaswaram concert supply far exceeds demand these days.
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RSR
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#33 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by RSR » 14 Apr 2019, 20:13

sureshvv wrote:
14 Apr 2019, 10:55
Thanks to AIR and other well intentioned philanthropists, the Nadaswaram concert supply far exceeds demand these days.
Good to hear this. and sad to note that the demand is not as good as it should be.
A traditional temple deity procession nagaswaram playing has its own charm. As per the link given ( interview ) the Thiruvaarroor festival took place for 27 days and it is mentioned that the artiste played a single ragam! for the entire procession ( might have lasted for at least six hours!). That is the type of music that the OP is craving for. No AIR program or other concerts can offer that kind of leisurely music.
Thiruvaroor is associated with the Trinity. Shift the center of CM to religious centers with focus on nagaswaram .
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#34 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by RSR » 14 Apr 2019, 20:25

shankarank wrote:
14 Apr 2019, 00:57
@RSR #29 -> People who have gained stature can act with a highest ideal in mind and seek a higher ethic. That is their calling. Such an option or obligation should not be imposed on / expected off of everybody.
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(...)
I wonder if you have followed my points at all. Who ever said that musicians should not be paid? But paid by whom? Not by the rasikas but by the organizers of the event. Where will they get the money? From 'well-meaning' philanthropists and perhaps from some central govt department for promotion of carnatic classical music.
An artiste is not valued by the remuneration that he demands and gets. ( just like cine world!). Artistes should be ready to perform in any town and be happy with whatever they are offered,
They should make it a point to participate in as many religious festivals in hundreds of temple centers in tamilnadu.
Least bothered about the state of CM in western world.
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shankarank
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#35 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by shankarank » 15 Apr 2019, 08:18

There can be philathropy, there can be govt. support. But this is not going to result in musicians producing better output. In fact until things started on the upswing economically in the 90(s), that was how music was supported mostly. The ticket sales in sabhas were not enough to sustain anything, If at all they were useful to filter in serious rasikas. There was an Ad. in a news print by music academy thanking the audience for support around 2002 or so.

Musicians doing things to please rasikas, are a very few of them. Others were able to benefit from the attention the music overall got.

If rasikas are earning, why should they not pay? You can set aside seats ( of house filling concerts!) for economically disadvantaged ( use the ration card or subsidies proof may be!) and have elderly discounts, student discounts. But most others should pay!

As regards Western world, musicians are coming , so what can we do but not listen to them? :D In spite of that NRIS still make a trip to the season every year also!
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#36 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by RSR » 16 Apr 2019, 12:32

I am talking about CM only. Right from the days of Purandaradasa or even earlier, CM has been a vehicle for self-realization through Devotion to some deity. It is most natural then that classical CM is offered in temple festivals. especially through Nagaswaram. Sans any focus on krithi, it is pure music. There is no place for babus and snobs there. It is meant for very common people. They came primarily with devotion in their heart ,and not so much to listen to music. It was incidental. but in those days and even now, they would not dare to ask the vidwan to play cheap cine songs. in temple deity procession. Nagaswaram music satisfies the most important requirements of pure CM. (1) No pre-occupation with lyrics,,, that too mostly sung without understanding the meaning and resultant murder of the original lyrics. by padah-chetham (2) No place for 'glamour' stuff.
(3) funded by Devasthaanam and free for devotees. (4) honouring the best traditions of CM vidwans attached to temples. (5) no place for gimmicks.

I think, Chembai music festival in Kerala, is getting very good response. though there is deafening silence about it in this forum.
Bangalore Ramanavami festival is giving good opportunities for pure Instrumentalists, especially vilolinists., and Nagaswaram players. And I believe that it is funded by local professionals mostly, and not over-dependedent on NRI's
Yea! 1990 was a turning point. for the worse. 1930--1960, 1960-1990, 1990- 2020.
Three phases of deterioration.
..
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#37 Re: Question on CM past state and evolution

Post by RSR » 16 Apr 2019, 17:32

About Chembai Sangeethothsavam :
Chembai Sangeetholsavam is an annual Carnatic music festival held in Guruvayur by the Guruvayur Devaswom (similar to the Thyagaraja Aradhana at Thiruvaiyaru) in memory of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, one of the titans of Carnatic classical music [1][2] and an ardent devotee of Lord Guruvayurappan...Chembai had conducted the festival in the temple town on his own for about 60 years He used to invite anyone interested in Carnatic music, from small children to renowned musicians of his time, to perform at the festival. In course of time, the scale of the festival rivaled the Thiruvaiyaru Thyagaraja Aradhana, which is recognized as one of the most important festivals of homage paid to Saint Thyagaraja. The Guruvayur Devaswom decided to take ownership of this festival after Chembai's death in 1974, renaming it as Chembai Sangeetholsavam in his memory.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chembai_Sangeetholsavam
About 3000 musicians participate in this festival every year and it is held for about 12-15 days culminating on the Guruvayur Ekadasi day, when all the musicians sing five favorite songs of Chembai and also the Pancharatna Kritis of Thyagaraja.[5]

The festival is getting more popular year after year and its duration has increased from three days in its inception to about 12-15 days now.
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