Are you listening to Kodaikanal rap?

Trying to mix multiple streams in one column: millet, music, film extras and environmentalism. Are you listening to the Kodaikanal rapster?  The old woman in Palani—down the hill from Kodaikanal– was trying to recruit me to be a movie extra.  Muniamma looked like a rock star.  She was about 80, with weathered skin about the…

Read More

Festival of Sacred Music

My friend, Ranvir Shah and his Prakruti Foundation does The Festival of Sacred Music in Thiruvaiyaru every year. Details here This year, the festival is from March 6 to 8 and has a terrific line up. The Manganiyars, Kadri Gopalnath on Saxophone and Filter Coffee, a rock band. Imagine sitting under the stars and listening…

Read More

A concert

My friend, Chitra Srikrishna and I doing a music gig called “Hum Raag.” It is a fun project where we link film songs to classical Indian music. Kabir bhajans, abhangs, light songs, carnatic music, hindustani music and the like. Our next show is on Sunday, January 18th from 5 to 7 PM. At Unnati Bangalore’s…

Read More

Chennai Music and Women

I thought about this a lot, but cannot come up with any solution. Everyone lays it on the women artistes to get together and fight the discrimination, but that’s not going to happen. A note of dismay over inequality at music and dance festivals in Chennai Shoba Narayan January 3, 2015 Updated: January 4, 2015…

Read More

Carnatic Instrumentalism

When Mint Lounge’s new editor, Sanjukta Sharma, contacted me with the idea of doing a cover story on the Chennai December Season, I had no hesitation about what I wanted to write: instrumentalists. My previous columns on singers had produced so much ire from instrumentalists for writing “vocal centric columns,” that I thought it was…

Read More

Raga Connection show

I will be doing a workshop “The Raga Connection” along with a friend and fabulous singer, Chitra Srikrishna, at the Times of India literary festival this Sunday on the 7th of December (details below) If you have kids who would be interested in attending the workshop or other friends in Mumbai, please let them know.…

Read More

HumRaag

Chitra Srikrishna is a classical carnatic singer. She spent many years in the Bay area, which is why you haven’t heard of her. She is a fantastic concert-level performer. Chitra and I collaborate on a show/performance called Hum Raag. The basic concept is “From film songs to classical music.” What’s it about? Okay, let me…

Read More

Musicians and Nakhras

OK, so I am obsessed with Annapurna Devi. And Grigori Perelman, the mathematician who rejected the Fields medal when he was awarded it. Why is the idea of a reclusive genius so seductive? When musicians give up ‘nakhras’ The singers and dancers who can point us to the stars and give us a glimpse of…

Read More

Reinventing Carnatic Music

For those who want to delve deeper, here are some books and papers that I read. The delight of research is discovery. You sift through reams of stuff and come upon some gems that make your hair stand on edge. If you must read one, just read this. From the Master himself: Ariyakudi on the…

Read More