Song of Surrender

Thursday, 29 December 2011

An appeal to musicians

By Bala Shankar

There is a never-ending debate on whether audience quality is shaped by artistes or the other way around. Be it renaissance age paintings, creations of the Trinity or more recently, in several individual sports, the creators or artistes have shaped destiny. (The mile race speed record is rewritten every few years). Performers have the same kind of duty – to lift audience sensibilities. We have moved irreversibly to a shorter version of concerts (from 4 hours to even less than 2 hours). The axis has shifted in other ways too with packaged, dressed and “branded” music being ushered in. If the music is not branded, the musicians are. All these are not without their unintended consequences.

A whole generation of audiences is more and more being exposed to a new LCM (lowest common multiple) of Carnatic music taste. Even more, a whole new generation of promising talents are setting their goals based on the new lower LCM. I heard several youngsters with good capabilities but the misdirected priorities of just delivering well-rehearsed programmes. Whatever happened to the unique manodharma character of our music? Is it just equal to practised raga alapanas and high speed swarams?

I appeal to all musicians to keep up the high standards. The audience would love the challenge to appreciate those high standards and will rise up to them. The new artistes would also know the real boundaries of excellence and will strive to push the envelope. In every field, standards are being improved with every move. Why not in Carnatic music? Audience popularity goals should not be a limiting factor to the standards. We should find other ways to lure more fence sitters or neutrally oriented people to listen to Carnatic music, not through the conversion of concerts to CD albums.

1 comment:

  1. All musicians should read books and articles on Ariyakudi and GNB.

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