Song of Surrender

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Desperate need for talent management

By Bala Shankar

There was a lament in the blog that star talents in Carnatic music may be drying up. It is arguable, but the surface perception is not wrong. Facts belie this though. How do you explain the ever growing number of artistes, performances and sabhas? Are all the 500 odd young musicians keeping daylong vigil at the platforms unsuited to claim tomorrow’s glory? This perception creeps in as the rigour of talent development has subordinated itself to the clamour for concerts. There are some very bright talents, but probably not well cooked. It’s also a challenge to look through the dust to unearth the diamonds. The answer may lie in putting in place a robust talent management process. This is a desperate need.
 
Good talents have to be nurtured through careful calibration of their abilities. Fundamental to this would be an independent accreditation system that can objectively rank them – maybe a controversial idea, but absolutely necessary. Controversy on objectivity must be handled through handing over the job to an unimpeachable group of people who have no vested interests. The criteria and process have to be transparent. The system in All India Radio ratings could be a guide (even if it is sometimes challenged). A talent chart would counter the present culture of “self-promotion”, “paid concerts” and vested viral campaigns for and against. It would also fix more responsibility on the gurus – who should take part of the blame for the unregulated concert quality. Such a system would gradually force the sabhas to rearrange opportunities based on the chart. In fact, the leading sabhas can pilot the initiative, while keeping the jury independent.

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