1st January 2012, 12:48 PM
"The audience today expects a full menu of different kinds of kritis" - Sudha ragunathan
1st January 2012 12:48 PM
18th January 2012, 12:05 PM
The humble harmonium is finally set to get its due. For the first time in India, a harmonium player has obtained a patent for developing a unique harmonium with 22 shrutis — fractional notes or microtones.
A typical harmonium has 12 shrutis, and was considered an instrument with limitations in Indian classical music, as it could not render all the nuances of Indian ragas. A complete octave (sa, re, ga, ma…) has seven notes plus 15 microtones.
Thane resident Dr Vidyadhar Oke received the patent for his ‘Improved Harmonium’ from the Indian Patent Office on December 15, 2011, five years after he applied for it.
“I wanted to prove that every microtone could be identified scientifically and played on a harmonium. The harmonium was once banned by All India Radio as a solo performance instrument because it could not play the 22 microtones,” said Dr Oke, 59, a pharmacologist, who quit his job at a pharma company in 2003 to pursue research in music.
20th January 2012, 07:52 PM
Balachander was a musician, an accomplished chess player and also contributed to Tamil cinema. Debuting as a child artist in V Shantaram's 'Seetha Kalyanam', he went on to sing, act, direct, compose music and produce films. Sampath's book, brought out by Rupa Publications, records his contributions to various fields.
Born in 1927, Balachander was a self-taught musician, a child prodigywhobegan playing the percussion instrument kanjira at the age of four. "He also learnt the tabla, mridangam, harmonium, dilruba and shehnai. But he didn't have a guru," says Sampath, who has spent the last two years working on the book. "His brother, S Rajam,was a musician and Balachander used to hover around the classroom while his brother was being taught and pickedup things."
When Vikram Sampath began researching the life of veena maestro S Balachander, he had no dearth of material. The late musician had left behind eight huge volumes filled with newspaper cuttings, programme announcements and posters of his shows abroad, all annotated with his comments.
25th January 2012, 09:52 PM
Padma awards- 2012
top class musicians
Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta Art - Instrumental Music - Sarod West Bengal
Dr. Trippunithwra Viswanathan Gopalkrishnan Art - Classical vocal and instrumental music Tamil Nadu
Shri M.S. Gopalakrishnan Art - Instrumental Music-Violin Tamil Nadu
Shri Shahid Parvez Khan Art - Instrumental Music-Sitar Maharashtra
magical musicians indeed!
Last edited by baroque; 25th January 2012 at 10:11 PM.
30th January 2012, 08:02 PM
Shubha Mudgal is not against Bollywood, but the veteran singer with deep roots in Hindustani classical, says if everyone keeps running after creating masala songs for the Hindi industry, it may well pose a threat to other genres of music specific to Indian culture. “Today we see Bollywood music
being played in every household, mostly because it is easily accessible. I have nothing against these songs that even I enjoy. But it would be tragic if we lost out on other kinds of music, a lot of which might never come back,” says Mudgal.
The 53-year-old singer is trying to do her bit to popularise and preserve the wide variety of musical styles and genres in the country through her festival, Baajaa Gaajaa, for the past three years. She is gearing up for the fourth edition, to be held in Pune between February 10 and 12.
The festival will see as many as 100 artists from different genres of music, including rock, blues, jazz, Hindustani vocal, instrumental music, Carnatic vocal and folk music, from different parts of the country, performing on stage. "There’s a huge variety in Indian music, whether old or adapted, that highlights the diversity in our country. Mostly Bollywood music doesn’t represent the entire spectrum of Indian music,” she points out.
The magical voice behind chartbusters like Ali Mora Angana, Ab Ke Saawan and Mann Ke Manjeere has kept her presence in Bollywood strictly limited because she doesn't consider herself competent for contemporary songs.
“I’ve sung for Hindi movies occasionally but I should be able to do justice to the songs offered to me. And the kind of songs I like are not being composed these days,” she rues.
She reasons that if she is trying something that she is not comfortable with, she would fall flat on her face. Mudgal has given playback for films like Laaga Chunari Mein Daag ( 2007) Lajja (2001) and 1920 (2008). A lover of khayal, thumri and dadra, Mudgal explored Indian pop music in the 1990s in albums like Ali More Angana, Ab Ke Sawan, Pyaar Ke Geet and Mann Ki Manjeere. “I don’t agree that pop albums have lost their charm. Just like we have parallel cinema alongside with commercial cinema, there is alternative music industry that is producing, executing material of all kinds.” she says. “There are many people who are coming up original compositions.”
13th February 2012, 01:21 PM
S Balachander - perennial rebel
Storming the world of Carnatic music and Tamil cinema with his non-conformist, controversy-creating ways in the 1940s, polymath and veena exponent Sundaram Balachander steadfastly fought many "unholy cultural nexuses", earning his share of brickbats, says his biographer.
Vikram Sampath, the international award winning author of "My Name is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of a Musician", has resurrected the rebel genius in his "Voice of the Veena: S.Balachander" (Rupa & Co), 22 years after the musician`s death in 1990.
"Balachander was known as a `controversy genuis`. He would often say that controversy came looking for him. Whatever he said about current issues - not personalised attacks - sparked controversy," Bangalore-based Sampath told IANS.
One of Balachander`s famous struggles was against the tradition of "inventing ragas".
"Musician M. Balamuralikrishna had once told the Music Academy - the high seat of Carnatic music in Chennai - that he had invented a new `raga`. Tamil Nadu had a ridiculous scheme that anyone who created a new `raga` would be given an honorarium. Balachander argued that these things had existed in ancient treatises. He took it upon himself to fight the `invention of ragas`," Sampath said.
Balachander launched a "media blitz" with the publication of an exhaustive booklet which he read out in press conferences, he said.
"Balachander won the debate and Balamuralikrishna had to bite the dust. Balachander had also protested the title of Sangeet Kalanidhi that the Tamil Nadu government had conferred on Bharatnatyam danseuse Balasaraswati, saying it had to be changed to Natya Kalanidhi to include theatre and other performing arts artistes. But the establishment snubbed him," Sampath said.
Balachander remained a "perennial rebel and anti-establishment", the biographer said.
His most talked-about battle was against an erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore, Swati Tirunal, whom the musician sought to remove from the pages of history of south Indian culture and arts.
Balachander alleged in a thesis that the young Travancore "maharaja Swati Tirunal (1813-1846), who was hailed a musical maestro and genius of his time, was born out of a book in 1887".
"The campaign remained his obsession for at least eight years. He wrote to the president and the prime minister of India, screamed and shouted in the press. In his later years, Balachander became a recluse and his family distanced itself from the Tirunal episode...," Sampath said.
The crusade also turned out to be his last. Balachander died during a concert in Bhilai at the age of 63 in 1990 around the time he was still sparring "about the existence of the maharaja".
Balachander`s contribution to Tamil cinema was no less than his effort in transforming the "veena" from a chamber instrument to a concert instrument.
"He made a paradigm thematic shift in Tamil cinema in the 1950s and 1960s when the mythological tales occupied the screen. He directed thrillers inspired by Hollywood classics. His movies were technically brilliant, though in terms of cinematography he was self-taught," Sampath said.
Balachander`s cinematic cornerstone was "Andha Naal (1954)" - a slickly-produced, murder mystery starring Sivaji Ganesan.
"He was an actor, director, musician, composer, script-writer and producer... multi-faceted," Sampath said.
Putting together Balachander`s life was easier than recreating Gauhar Jaan in her historical context, the biographer said.
"He (Balachander) documented his life in eight gigantic albums. He put his horoscope, press clippings and day-to-day events with annotations and personal comments in the albums that had to be lifted by at least three people... It was practically from the horse`s mouth," Sampath said.
The biographer, who had earlier authored a book on the Mysore royalty, "Splendours of Mysore: The Untold Story of Wodeyar", is planning to tap into the history of the region again.
"I want to write about Tipu Sultan but I think I will have to move out of the country before I begin the project," said Sampath, who has courted his share of controversy for his articles on the late 18th century ruler of Mysore and has seen his effigy being burnt for his stand.
17th February 2012, 07:29 PM
MUMBAI: Sitar maestro Ustad Shamim Ahmed Khan passed away due to massive cardiac arrest on Tuesday morning.
Khan 74, took his last breathe in a private hospital and was buried at Marine Lines cemetery. Renowned stars of music world attended his funeral including santoor maestro Pandit Satish Vyas, sitar player Pandit Nayan Ghosh, Agra Gharana vocalist Raja Miya, tabla maestro Yogesh Samsi and Aditya Kalyanpur.
The legend was one of the finest exponent of Hindustani instrumental music and a student of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Khan was born in 1938 in Baroda into a musical family of the Agra Gharana. At a very young age, he was initiated into vocal music by his father Ustad Ghulam Rasool but in 1955 his love and passion for sitar led him to join Pandit Ravi Shankar.
21st March 2012, 02:43 PM
"Fact is, once this art form touches your heart, it becomes part of your life."
26th May 2012, 10:31 PM
13th December 2013, 02:23 AM
No caste, no creed, no gender
Excerpts from the book A Southern Music: The Karnatik Story by acclaimed vocalist T.M. Krishna.
The book is published by HarperCollins, and is being launched by Professor Amartya Sen on December 16, 2013, in Chennai.