Friday, 31 January 2014

The Karnatic Music Forum-Sruti Lec-Dem Mela

By VV Chellappa

The December Season in Chennai boasts of well nigh 2,500 concerts.  The fact that mostly grey-haired individuals attend these events has been a cause for concern for several years now. In an attempt to reach out to a broader audience, sabhas have taken the approach of explaining various aspects of Karnatic Music through lec-dems. The Academic Sessions at the Music Academy have been a pioneer in this field though they are primarily oriented towards discussing theoretical aspects of ragas or analyzing composers who are not very well known.

It is in this context that Karnatic Music Forum (KMF) has been sponsoring lec-dems.  Convened by Dr S. Sunder, KMF has been active in the field for two decades, presenting concerts, thematic concerts and lec-dems at various venues through the year. For the last four years though, KMF has been presenting lec-dems during the December Season; and for the last two years, Sruti magazine has associated itself with this noble effort.

At this point, I want to say a few words about the reach of these lec-dems. Some of the lec-dems are evanescent; you have to attend the lec-dem to know what is being talked about.  Recording of the proceedings is frowned upon and you walk away with what you can retain in your memory. This has been the case with the majority of the sabhas.

The next level is where the organization records the proceedings and makes it available to the public through its archives. For the last several years this approach has been taken by the Music Academy. This does limit the reach of the lec-dems because one has to take the trouble to go to their archives when it is open. This may conflict with the schedule of working people. The third approach is to make the lec-dem available through on-line archives. KMF has been following this policy for years and its programmes can be viewed at This makes it possible to time-shift the lec-dem to a time more convenient for the viewer and also provides the ability to pause, rewind, and repeat parts of the lec-dem. 

A new initiative this year, Parivadini, webcast several programmes; this enables viewers in different locations to view the lec-dem in real-time. Parivadini uploads its recordings to youtube creating a permanent archive that can be accessed from anywhere in the world at any time .

Parivadini maintains its own youtube channel, with easy-to-locate recordings. You can subscribe to this youtube channel and be notified of new recordings too.

This year, the Lec-Dem Mela was held at Srinivasa Sastri Hall in Mylapore for four days starting on 13 December. The Mela was inaugurated by R Thyagarajan, Chairman & Managing Director of the Shriram Group, and patron of music. Dr Sunder and V Ramnarayan, Editor-in-Chief, Sruti, spoke briefly about the purpose of the Lec-Dem Mela.  The first lec-dem that followed was titled A Samarpanam to Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support. We at Parivadini are extremely glad that we could document these through our live simulcast. These are Treasures,our proud heritage and we are so happy that we can contribute in a small way towards documenting and preserving these.