Sruti wishes all its readers a Happy New Year 2021. We sincerely hope it will usher in good times—of hope, prosperity, peace and well being. With the pandemic raging across regions and continents, the year 2020 was a trying one for everyone, including members of the arts fraternity. Covid 19 impacted society in various ways—physical, financial, emotional and psychological. Several people lost their lives and livelihood, leading to fear, and depression. For the first time ‘positive’ took on negative overtones!
In the arts world we have been hit by a barrage of deaths of several prominent personalities in the past few months. We have been writing about them and their contributions in the pages of Sruti. This month, we pay tribute to several famous artists who have passed into Eternity—veteran dancer-artist Amala Shankar, Carnatic stalwarts P.S. Narayanaswamy and T.N. Krishnan, Bhagavata Mela artist S. Natarajan, and Kuchipudi exponent Sobha Naidu. Some of the tributes penned by youngsters highlight the impact these artists have had on the next generation. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family members of the departed artists. As the magazine goes to print we are shocked to hear the news of the demise of our Roving Critic Sunil Kothari, a good friend and long-time associate of Sruti. He was a jolly, happy-go-lucky person who got invited to seminars and events on dance across the globe. A jet-setting critic and prolific writer of books on dance, and a life-long learner, his enthusiasm and curiosity to know things is worth emulating. He is among the few whose knowledge was not solely bookish but also based on firsthand research into various genres.
We are indeed privileged to have a stalwart like Prof. Trichy Sankaran write about P.S. Narayanaswamy, and also his association with the Lalgudi family. This issue also includes the concluding part of Sivapriya Krishnan’s candid interview with Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi on matters musical.
It is a matter to be proud of that the arts fraternity has not been cowed down by the Covid pandemic. This year the December Arts Season too has got into a rhythm of its own. The early morning Margazhi bhajanai is happening with gusto in Mylapore. The social media is humming with activity. Kutcheris are being aired online everyday. It is heartening to watch artists give of their best in the programmes uploaded virtually. Their voices seem to be in fine fettle, as they must have spent the lockdown time practising, ruminating and revitalizing themselves and the art. Contrary to apprehensions, rasikas, especially senior citizens, are actually enjoying the concert experience in the safety of their homes. It has also opened up the concerts to a larger and wider audienc across the world. Although the halls may not be reverberating withmelody, rhythm and ankle bells, the sound of music has entered the heart and home of rasikas.
The Federation of City Sabhas had a well coordinated hiprofile start to its ‘Yours Truly Margazhi festival’, with the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, virtually inaugurating the event from Hyderabad. He lauded the organisers for the virtual initiative and called upon artists to leverage technology and reach out to art lovers in a creative way. He rightly pointed out that in future, the real and virtual medium would likely co-exist. Describing our rich cultural treasure as India’s greatest gift to the world, he said it is a potent source of soft power to expand our global outreach.
The Madras Music Academy’s virtual season too began with a crisp and sober inauguration.
While inaugurating the annual arts festival of the Kalakshetra Foundation, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit called upon gurus to bring art closer to the common man. He said apart from enriching life, art should also contribute to spreading social\ messages about contemporary issues. He exhorted the rich and the corporate world to contribute to the cause of art to supplement the efforts of the government. Hope many are listening!