Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

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Sachi_R
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#1 Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by Sachi_R »

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This Hindu review (link: https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/ ... 840448.ece) is about कलाभ्याम्, an experimental presentation by Sri. RKM and his artist friend Sri. Vinay Varanasi.

It was held close to where I live- in Bangalore International Centre. This is a vibrant community collaboration space that brings to mind this Subhaashita:
काव्यशास्त्रविनोदेन कालो गच्छति धीमताम् ।
व्यसनेन तु मूर्खाणां निद्रया कलहेन वा ॥
"The wise engage themselves in literature, arts and the scriptures. The fools while away time with drink, quarrel and sleep".

The two young artists, and some of us attendees, were around from 5 PM but the actual event started well past 6 PM.

The volunteers didn't exhibit any great competence in mic or light settings, but the earnestness and thoroughness of the two artists on stage, RKM and Varanasi, carried the day.

To his credit, Varanasi has attempted something very challenging. He has tried to absorb complex multidimensional ideas of Carnatic Shiva Shakti kritis and tried to lay them out in the limits of 2 dimensional space. To my mind this experiment can at best meet with modest success. But Varanasi is a winner here because he uses subtle colours, white spaces, saattvic imagery and leaves quite a bit to our imagination. His art is more contemporary and less daring than Sri. S. Rajam's works.

What to say of RKM? I am a fan of his full-throated yet soft and subtle vocal technique. His modulation and structuring of songs is edifying. His enunciation of words displays respect for the ideas enshrined. His lack of gimmickry suits such occasions. His choice of compositions here was a collaborative exercise. But his Shankarabharanam song of Thyagaraja showcased what a great song it was. His Punnagavarali and Kurinji were memorable. There was no accompaniment and no long raga or swara essays. All in all very satisfying.

As a highly conditioned Carnatic listener, I am terribly biased. I tune out everything else and simply soak up the music. So when I say that no art form like sculpture, painting or 4D/5D holographic art is as colourful or moving or imaginative or creative in evoking the multidimensional paradigms of our epics and gods - take it as a personal bias 😄

But I must say that in my opinion, this kind of experimentation is highly welcome as it expands the envelope of Carnatic music without tearing it!
There was a reference to Mahaganapati in one of the songs. Varanasi has made a beautiful painting on it.
🙏🙏🙏

bhasi
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#2 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by bhasi »

A fellow RKM fan! :) Thank you so much for this review. I have two questions: One, were the paintings all created beforehand and displayed as a slideshow, or were they created on the spot? The article does mention that Vinay created one at least on the spot. Two - shouldn't the title of the show be कलायै or कलाभ्य: ? Why the dwivachana vibhakti?

CRama
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#3 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by CRama »

I heard this a few days back. I fully endorse RSachis views expressed here. Of the many songs, I remember a few- Ehi Annapurne, then a line from Lalitha Sahasranamam depicting the origin of Vinayaka taken for a Pallavi in Hamsadhwani- preceding with Tanam. No alapana or swarams. There was a composition of Tyagaraja in Ravichandrika. RKM exposition of the kritis and Vinay's explanation very authentic and devoid of any ambiguity. The absence of pakkavadyams and RKM soulful singing with sruti added serenity to the programme. The visuals are add ons.

CRama
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#4 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by CRama »

You tube link for the above programme.

https://i.ytimg.com/an_webp/YZsYV1S6fLY ... lU12-kc-zQ

Sachi_R
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#5 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by Sachi_R »

Bhasi, all paintings done before hand. There was one sketch done on the spot but nothing like the paintings done earlier. One could buy prints of those paintings. Apart from the PowerPoint with text and pics in slide show which was suboptimal for viewing, the prints were displayed in the hall. They are not large size. Perhaps around 12"x18".
Thanks, CRama, for the YT link 🙂

bhasi
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#6 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by bhasi »

@Sachi_R Thanks sir. Would you happen to know the answer to my second question: "shouldn't the title of the show be कलायै or कलाभ्य: ? Why the dwivachana vibhakti?" Is it because there were two arts that were presented: music and painting?

Sachi_R
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#7 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by Sachi_R »

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Bhasi, the noun कला (स्त्री) declines as कलाभ्याम् in द्विवचन in तृतीया, चतुर्थी, पञ्चमी.

In this title, they have punned on the word. They imply that the worship of Shiva Shakti (both can be called Kalaas!) is being done by two kalas or art forms, music and painting, together. The second meaning involves तृतीया द्विवचन.

Sachi_R
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#8 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by Sachi_R »


bhasi
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#9 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by bhasi »

@Sachi_R Thank you. Somehow I feel the chaturthi meaning might also fit in this context - as in, their presentation can be seen an offering *for* honouring two different forms of art, or indeed the Shiva-Shakti duality as you so nicely pointed out. What do you think?

Sachi_R
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#10 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by Sachi_R »

That's what I meant by punning. Worship= Offering to Shiva Shakti =सम्प्रदान चतुर्थी। By means of two arts =तृतीया करण।

rshankar
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#11 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by rshankar »

@Sachi_R
Thank you for bringing this program to our attention. It was different. It was marked by superb curating, and absolutely complementary skills of the two principals. It was wonderful to see the obvious respect and complimentary feelings they had for each other’s crafts and skills.
A perfect blend of emotion and intellect... sort of like the marriage of art and science.

arasi
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#12 Re: Kalaabhyaam: confluence of music & painting: RKM+Varanasi

Post by arasi »

Ravi,
It's good to see two arts coming together on one stage. Of course, we have had music and dance flowing together for ages in dance recitals. We seem to have taken a breather after some years of going through a so-called fusion genre fever in classical music--I say it particularly about the overly noisy and almost unprepared coming together of CM and northern music.

This was different. I watched all of this blend of music and painting and it was an enjoyable experience--almost like attending a calming house concert. No hoopla, just a gentle progress of music and colors on canvas. RKM's serene start to the program and the calmness which followed, and Varanasi's gentle presentation of his art and of his speaking of his love for music and the way it conveyed the grandeur of divinity. He was inspired by Siva and Shakthi in these paintings..
Reminded me also of the time (long time ago) when you and I were there with other forumites at a concert. There, two streams of music sounded soothing as they came together--Anil Srinivasan and Gurucharn's concert which was held in an art gallery in Alwarpet.
It's refreshing for the artistes too, I guess. Sanjay singing some years ago at the Bengaluru museum, recently at Cholamandala (outdoors) and at the Cochin museum are examples of how the arts don't have to function strictly in their own given venues...

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