Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Carnatic music - Morphing rapidly?

So, Shankar Mah. has come up with an online way of imparting classical Indian music tutoring http://www.shankarmahadevanacademy.com/. Well-intentioned, no doubt. And not the first such initiative - by famed artists - trying to keep the Indian Classical music candle lit up to increasingly Rehmanized & Indian-idolized generations.
Even while appreciating the zest to keep an ancient Indian art-form floating, connoisseurs cannot but notice the changes in how today, Indian Classical music - esp., Carnatic music - is rendered by performers, taught by teachers, learned by students and experienced by rasikas. It may seem anachronistic to go back in time & refer to the musical Trinity and, even farther back, to the founding father - Shri Purandara Dasaru - in the same breath as the online tutoring sites.
But, it is worth remembering them - not least - because it is their compositions that will be taught in these schools. And it is also worth remembering that, the krithis/lyrics that these saint-poets created were anchored in & inspired from their deeply-rooted beliefs in Bhakti (devotion) & Vairagya (dispassion/detatchment/renunciation). Music was a derivative to this belief. Music was an effect - the cause lied in their entrenched adhyatmika(philosphical) way-of-living.
Carnatic Music without these belief systems & way-of-living - in artists & audience - is like capitalism practised in a License Raj. It is crony.  It will lose its identity in essence, while retaining the name.
But, the arrow of time moves on and so do the perceptions of art, philosphy and entertainment along with it.
In another 25 years, Carnatic music will change & morph into a different entity. So, when artists sing or play 'Telisi Rama' then, little will they know that they are eulogizing the power of yogic meditation focused on the moniker 'Rama'.  But then, how many know that today?

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