Deepavali, the festival of lights, hopefully ushers in better times for the arts; from darkness to light—Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya! Several State governments have extended the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, but with further relaxations. It is good news for the arts fraternity that “from 1 November 2021, theatres have been allowed to operate with 100 per cent occupancy and full-fledged filming and cultural events have been permitted,” in Tamil Nadu. In Chennai—the cultural capital—many sabhas are busy planning their activities for the ‘December season’ – which could be a judicious mix of live-cum-digital or only online programmes like in 2020. Narada Gana Sabha and R.R. Sabha have already been conducting some of their monthly programmes while following strict Covid protocols; it is a good sign that the concerts were well attended. Kartik Fine Arts deemed it fit to resume its live programmes in September with the presentation of awards on the occasion of its 46th anniversary, at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan hall.
As for the ‘Chennai Season’, Kartik Fine Arts has decided to conduct its 47th year Arts Festival 2021 via digital platform powered by Kalakendra.com. The sabha has already recorded the concerts and some lecdems which will be premiered from 1 to 12 December; they will be available for viewing up to 31 December 2021. The Madras Music Academy has decided to travel the virtual route this year too. This time there will be lecdems and music concerts over twelve days in December, and a three-day dance festival in January 2022; but no awards. The Federation of Sabhas will also be presenting its Yours Truly Margazhi – second edition online between 15 to 31 December. Narada Gana Sabha is planning to host a live shortened festival if government regulations permit. A new outcome of the pandemic is that organisers and artists will have to offer really good fare to draw the audience out of the comfort and security of their homes to which they have got accustomed to over one-and-a-half years! Many organisations, big and small, are gearing up for the season, and we wish them all the best.
In Sruti, this month, we offer you a varied colourful palette. Veteran Carnatic musician Nirmala Sundararajan, who turned 80 recently, has an amazing repertoire of compositions in sound pathantara, having learnt from excellent gurus. Young musicians can surely enrich their music by learning from musicians like her. Over the years, she has been propagating music and sharing her knowledge without fanfare. On the other hand, there is Anitha Guha – a popular choreographer and fine teacher who has become a ‘star’ through her hard work with children, and her dedication and passion for Bharatanatyam and nritya-natakams.
We also bring to you an interesting story of a centenarian – versatile dancer Yog Sunder Desai – whose mission it was to take Indian art and culture to different parts of the globe. He was adventurous but unassuming and did not run after money and fame. Sruti has often featured such personalities and we present a centenary tribute to the veteran on his first death anniversary.
One year has
passed since the passing away of violin maestro T.N. Krishnan, and one of his
disciples has affectionately
shared his musical memories with us. We are saddened to hear about the demise of vainika David Reck, who served as professor emeritus of music and Asian languages and civilizations at Amherst College, USA. He was a familiar figure in Chennai – studying music and attending the season for decades. He was a long-time subscriber and well-wisher of Sruti.
As usual, we do have some of our regular segments like News & Notes, Analysis and Heritage Sthalams for you. And do visit our social media platforms for interesting sangatis (happenings)! Happy reading, happy browsing!