Crank's Corner Rotating Header Image

December 14th, 2017:

Carnatic music in Koyambedu market

A slew of places where classical concerts can be taken to

Chennai, Dec 14: Ranjani-Gayathri sisters recently performed at Vadapalani Metro railways station. A group of well-known musicians are set to give a series of concerts in a Chennai eatery. TM Krishna and his disciples are having singing sessions in moving bus. But at least you can understand the last- mentioned effort, because it involves TM Krishna. It has reached a stage where it will be news only if Krishna performs in a place where music is supposed to be performed, inside a concert hall.

Bus. Restaurant. Railway station.  These are all locations — if you notice carefully — people gather in not for music.  And our top musicians are taking Carnatic music precisely to these places. One of the reasons being classical music in these parts is accused of being confined to stuffy, casteist sabhas.

The point is Carnatic music is going places. This got the Crank’s News team thinking. Not really, we never think. We just let our imagination run wild so that we did not feel left out. So, here are our suggestions on places where Carnatic music can be taken to in the future:

Racecourse: Racecourse is a place of true egalitarianism, which makes it a good choice for TM Krishna, who seems to be particular about this.

Both the rich and the poor congregate here and, of course, lose money. They also generally use extremely bad words on an animal for letting them down. The horses, even though they don’t have an actual thinking brains, don’t really care.

When we say Carnatic music at the racecourse, we don’t mean on the horses. That would be difficult, especially for the ghatam and mridangam vidwan to literally follow the main performer. Also, it is debatable how the horse will react listening to somebody like Aruna Sairam sing. We don’t know whether it will fall under the Cruelty to Animals Act.

What we have in mind is Carnatic musicians performing in the grandstand, as the horses gallop around with their hooves striking syncopated rhythms of nominal aadi taalam. For novelty sake, singers can also try niraval with any of the horses’s name. The audience, for their part, can bet, based on the alapanai, whether it is Darbar or Nayaki. If the singer is Neyveli Santhanagopalan, they can’t tell them apart though.

Depending on the success of concerts, we might also try and have them at golf courses. But listening to music may perhaps be the most strenuous physical activity for a golfer. Golf, as it is, is a sport whose video variant is  physically more demanding than its actual version.

High Court: For those wondering, why High Court? Well, it has plenty in common with the Music Academy. For starters, both have some of the most surly security guards. But at the High Court it is understandable. But to be fair, some of the regular members of the Music Academy behave more snootily than any Chief Justice ever has. So there! Both the High Court and Carnatic musicians generally conduct their respective affairs in language that the common man has little connect with. So even more there! And don’t even get us started on the subject of technicalities.

The only worry at the High Court is sometimes the concerts can be adjourned for no real reason. We for one will not complain, especially if it happens to be a concert of Priya Sisters.

Kudankulam Nuclear Plant: The Carnatic music community is mostly more close-knit and forbidding for outsiders than any nuclear plant. Also, some ragam, tanam, pallavis have taken more time to unfold than it has taken to build this nuclear plant. Not to forget, some ragas seem just isotopic modifications of another (Sri-Manirangu, Sriranjani-Abhogi, Sahana-Dwijavanthi).

<Add your nuclear fusion-fusion music cringe wordplay joke here>

But why stop with these plays, we can think about hosting concerts at R K Nagar polling station, Sriharikota rocket launch site, Koyambedu vegetable market, Shankar cement factory, ramp walk show of Sabyasachi collections, Kodungaiyur landfill, the Vice President’s office.

No, wait. Strike off the last one. The Vice President office is not built to take any sound other than snoring.