The joy of a migratory bird going back home

Have been working on our upcoming music shows in Chennai all weekend.  We are completely redoing the show, and including more Tamil songs.  The Chennai audience is both discerning and has a specific taste.  Like the fabled Hamsa birds that can separate milk from water and drink only the milk, the Chennai audience has forgotten…

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Madras to Mumbai

I was conflicted about writing this, because I don’t think people should define themselves so narrowly.  In terms of the “land they sprung from.”  But I cannot deny the fact that such an identity exists.  So I wrote it.  Tried to keep it light. The psychology of a Matunga Tamil I grew up in Bombay,”…

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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…

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Kathak Maya Rao

I just loved attending this function. How Kathak breached the north-south divide At last week’s book release function of Maya Rao: A Lifetime In Choreography, held at the ITC Windsor, Bangalore, the stars were all in attendance. There was Vimala Rangachar, who headed the Crafts Council of Karnataka, in a rare shimmering Patola sari; Girish…

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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…

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Evolution of Music 3

LOUNGE FIRST PUBLISHED: SAT, MAR 22 2014. 12 08 AM ISTHOME» LEISURE» THE GOOD LIFE Carnatic music: what’s the way ahead? Can dramatic changes of the sort that happened in Western classical music in the 18th century happen in today’s Indian music? Vrinda Acharya believes Carnatic music is dynamic. Photo courtesy: Vrinda Acharya The thing…

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Evolution of Music

My friend, Chitra Srikrishna and I are doing a music event together on March 14th. Details here. A happy result is that I am reading a lot about Carnatic music. Ranging from Pantula Rama’s book to Sangita Ratnakara to white papers. Two chance conversations started this. In both cases, the two music lovers were gushing…

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Carnatic Music vs. Harry Potter

Great archival photos of two music greats accompanying this piece. Carnatic music versus Harry Potter How do you teach Carnatic music to a child whose idea of ‘bhakti’ is watching Harry Potter reruns ad nauseam? Shoba Narayan When Bhimsen Joshi or M.S. Subbulakshmi (centre) sang, the ‘bhakti rasa’ was evident. Photo: Hindustan Times There is…

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Song from the navel

One of the tough things about writing is that the piece that you think is great will not resonate with readers and the piece that you think is so-so will elicit unusual responses. FIRST PUBLISHED: SAT, JAN 11 2014. 12 50 AM ISTHOME» LEISURE» THE GOOD LIFE Music should begin at the ‘nabi’ or navel,…

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Culture and Specificity

Nice response to the piece below in Livemint website. I wish The Skeptarian, whoever she or he is had said some more. I don’t agree with her or his notions about culture as talking to sweeper. That’s my milklady version. The Skeptarian • 7 hours ago − This article just re-articulates a certain sameness in…

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