Tuesday, 30 November 2021

From the Editor


Greetings of the Season! Yes, it’s time for Chennai’s world famous December music and dance season. Last year the season was totally online, but this time it’s a good mix of
online and live performances. In November, the arts fraternity has been busy recording concerts for the digital festivals. Artists who have been singing and playing in empty venues for ‘distant’ audiences online, are now eagerly looking forward to performing in the presence of a live vibrant audience. Sabhas have also become more ‘digital savvy’ and have not only spruced up their venues for online concerts, but have invested in improved ‘sound and light facilities’ to provide the rasika a more wholesome experience this time.

The Madras Music Academy has, like last year, preferred to present its programmes online. The good news is that this time, rasikas can watch lecdems, and dance programmes in addition to more music recitals.  Under the umbrella of the Federation of City Sabhas, eight organisations are presenting ‘Yours Truly Margazhi - Season 2’, from 15 to 31 December. It will hopefully be a ‘virtual’ treat like Season One last year. Other than that many organisations including Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kartik Fine Arts, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, and Narada Gana Sabha,  are offering limited live concerts comprising artists not featured in the online festival. K. Harishankar, Secretary, Narada Gana Sabha shares the good news that the sabha is hosting several live concerts this season. ‘Pre-season’ concerts will be held from
17 to 23 December at the Swami Haridhoss Giri Hall (the spruced up Mini Hall) featuring two concerts daily in the evening. Popular artists—musicians and dancers—will be
featured from 24 to 31 December – only one concert in the evening. He adds with a chuckle that there will be canteen facilities to cater to the rasika’s taste buds. Sruti too is collaborating with the Music Forum to present a live Lec Dem Mela at the Arkay Convention Centre. Our hearty congratulations to the distinguished awardees of the season. On the whole, it promises to be an entertaining season for all concerned. We only hope that rain does not play spoil-sport and dampen the spirit of enthusiastic art lovers, as Chennai has already been battered by heavy downpour and flooding which has made it difficult for all of us to carry out our day-to-day activities. Covered ‘boat-taxis’ could well come in handy as an alternative means of transport!

In the December issue of Sruti, we bring to you the artistic journey of two veteran stalwarts – famous Bharatanatyam exponent Lakshmi Viswanathan and sarod maestro Rajeev Taranath. Their lives highlight their sadhana, their deep involvement with and immersion in the arts—which is not focused on performance alone, but a quest for excellence. Lakshmi Viswanathan brings to her art a certain finesse, classicism, eloquence, a rare ‘midukku’ and subtle expressiveness. Her  presentation of Nee mataley mayanura, Varugalaamo, and Vazhi maraittirukkuthey are perennial favourites. In contrast to her vibrant interview, the sarod maestro Rajeev Taranath takes us on an introspective journey of music, his gharana, his mentors and his exploration of swara and melody.

The spotlight this time is on the historical decision of Kerala Kalamandalam to admit women to its full-time Kathakali course. An emotional and comprehensive tribute to sangeeta acharya and music scholar, the late B. Krishnamoorthy, by a disciple, makes for interesting reading. The article on the Tamra sabha is the fourth in the series of Lord Nataraja’s pancha sabha. You can also read the concluding portion of Music in Vaishnavite Tamil literature.

The December ‘season’, as you can see, helps to draw the attention of our advertisers. We thank them for their support and look forward to their continued assistance as well as that of our subscribers throughout the year – for us to survive. Enjoy the season, the concerts, and enjoy reading Sruti !

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