December Season 2014-Dr Pantularama
|M S N Murthy|
|Patri Sathish Kumar|
|Dr S Karthick|
|Ninnuvina Namadendu||Navarasa Kannada||Rupaka||Tyagaraja||01:20||Sampler|
|Saragamalika Shravana Mohanam||Ranjani||Tisra Triputa Kanda Nadai||Pantula Rama||01:20||Sampler|
|Idadu Padam Tukki||Khamas||Adi||Papanasam Sivan||01:20||Sampler|
|Tillana followed by Mangalam||Kaanada||Rupaka||Ramnad Srinivasa lyengar /Tyagaraja||01:20||Sampler|
The December Music Season 2014
Another hectic music season has ended. And Chennai, true to nature is already looking forward to the next. Discussions have begun on which musicians are likely to get awards in 2015. And above all, as to who will be the Sangita Kalanidhi at the Music Academy. Music obviously never ever fades in this city.
The Season that just got over is the city’s eighty-eighth. That by itself is quite a record for an art that can at best claim to be aimed at a niche audience. And let us not forget that the season gets by year after year based on private sponsorship and ticket sales alone. The State has often expressed an intention contribute but that has never translated into action. Perhaps that is just as well. For the record, there were 63 organisations and 1100 artistes involved in the December Music Season of Chennai. That probably makes it the biggest classical music festival in the world.
There was no major shake-up in the ranks of the tops draws this year. Artistes such as Sanjay Subrahmanyan, Ranjani & Gayathri, TM Krishna, Aruna Sairam, Bombay Jayshree Ramnath, Sikkil Gurucharan and Abhishek Raghuram drew full houses at the various Sabhas that they sang at. Also ranking very high on the popularity scale were artistes such as Vijay Siva and Amritha Murali who have both carved a niche for themselves with their weighty classicism. Among the voices from outstation that are regular fixtures during the season, Pantula Rama and the Malladi Brothers were very much in demand. The latter more so given that this is the first music season after the passing of their revered guru Nedunuri Krishnamurthy.
The Season more importantly, is when the rising talent gets its chance to be heard. The afternoon slots at most Sabhas are reserved for the young and upcoming artistes. This is when you can listen to and evaluate the music of those wanting to move up the scale. The contribution of the Charsur Arts Foundation in this regard is particularly commendable. Not only has it made a point of conducting concerts of young talent during the season, it has also presented them at other times of the year. It is significant that several among the young talents identified by Charsur are now award winning performers during the December Music Festival. This year’s offering of CD releases of upcoming artistes by Charsur features eighteen such singers.
After a couple of years when their population had waned somewhat, the number of Non Resident Indians attending the December festival peaked once again in 2014. This always bodes well for the Carnatic music industry as a whole given that the NRI population has played an important role in encouraging our musicians and giving them performing and teaching opportunities abroad. It is significant to point out here that the reverse trend too is being seen –children born to Indian parents abroad have taken to performing Carnatic music and are making a name for themselves here. Artistes such as Sandeep Narayan and Ramakrishnan Murthy are two such instances. Both were recipients of prizes for their performances at the Music Academy in 2014.
On a lighter (and maybe heavier) note, the Season of 2014 marked a small but significant anniversary – 75 years of the concept of a canteen. Where would Sabhas be without the canteens that offer delicious Indian fare as a fitting adjunct to the music? It was in 1939 that the first canteen came up – for the Music Academy, which that year held its season at the University Senate House. The idea took hold and since then canteens have been a must at least at the big Sabhas. This year, ‘Gnanambika’ Jayaraman at Vani Mahal and ‘Mountbatten’ Mani Iyer at the Sri Parthasarathi Swami Sabha were the most popular canteens.
The Season of 2014 also paid homage to the veterans. The birth centenaries of T Muktha and KS Narayanaswami were observed with solemnity. The lecture demonstration on the padam-javali tradition of the Brinda-Muktha duo done by their disciple Alamelu Mani at the Music Academy was a fitting tribute. Prince Rama Varma gave a lec-dem on his guru KS Narayanaswami at the Music Academy as well. Lec-dems were also held at other venues, the ones at the Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha in particular being lively and marked by enthusiastic audience response.
There were plenty of fringe events – talks, heritage walks, film screenings and book releases. Also seen was a new trend – no less than four mobile applications to track the season schedules. Not that the printed booklets were in any less demand. But it does indicate that the Season is moving on to the next generation, a trend that was evident in the sudden increase in the number of youngsters who thronged the venues this year. That is a healthy sign and long may the Season flourish. Till next year then …