Season quotes: January 2008
Compiled by Lalitha Venkat


January 23, 2008
Dance


Now people prefer to attend programs in their own areas, because commuting has become a very big issue. But I don't think the festival can ever become routine, at least to an artist who loves the art. As for pace, I remember in my youth I did nine performances in 10 days, and enjoyed every one.
Of late, I take on less. I think it's for the artist to understand, and most artists are sensible enough to understand.
I don't think for any artist the magic and the excitement of this season will ever vanish.
(Chitra Visweswaran in 'It can never become routine,' The Hindu Music Season, Jan 1, 2008)


It is good to see youngsters coming up with new, contemporary themes in their art. And technology helps them a lot, allowing them to keep up with their learning at a distance, to record compositions and so on. Also I find youngsters bringing Western instruments into the fold of Indian classical music, like the guitar, the keyboard, and others.
I do find the audiences are getting younger. They also attend the afternoon concerts to see who is new in the field.
Conducting such festivals is a good way to wean people away from drugs and other vices. Cinema too, since it has deteriorated so much. This is the best way to divert our minds. It need not be confined to December.
(Mrs. YG Parthasarathy in 'Best way to divert the mind,' The Hindu Music Season, Jan 4, 2008)


No matter how much we talk of Bharatanatyam today being a devotional art, it is only rarely that the inherent spirituality of the form, the mysticism of the scriptures as conveyed through mudras and music, becomes visible. To relate to the spiritual essence without allowing the dance technique to disintegrate into a mash of feeling is not easy.
(Anjana Rajan in 'An evening of beauty,' The Hindu Music Season, Jan 4, 2008)


To find a good guru is a result of one's past karma. Smt. Mukta never held back. She was generous to the core.
(Alarmel Valli in 'Imagination flows freely to join music and movement,' Margazhi Plus, Deccan Chronicle, Jan 9, 2008)


In every art there is a cycle. After rising it has to fall. Just as the period of the Trinity (Thyagaraja, Muttuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shastri) was the golden period for music, this is the golden period for dance.
(Narasimhachari in 'A union to delight the senses' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu, Jan 11, 2008)


I was the first dancer to wear black and gold. I love bright colours and Kanchipurams. I am very adept with the needle and often stitch my own costume, sometimes sewing up to 2am.
(Vyjayantimala Bali in 'Making an aesthetic statement' by Kausalya Santhanam, The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 11, 2008)

Music


Idealism and what I want youngsters to know...
Yes. I keep saying it and saying it aloud - Is it sangeetham or mere success you want? The distinction is between an also-ran performer and the learned and still learning musician. The latter would mean roughly 10 (or even 15) years with gurus, in the process of acquiring knowledge, percolation and assimilation. You have heard of internships, and house-surgeon training for doctors. An engineer doesn't start building the moment he gets his B E.! Pray apply this to music too! The process could, for instance, begin at Ariyakudi and the answers could be found in a Viswa. Questions may be raised here but answers you may get elsewhere. Understand that it is a mind-to-mind transfer or communication. Paucity of time? (She laughs, a little angrily.) The moment you begin to think of only concerts, sangeetham takes a backseat. Performance and performance-oriented preparation will blur your real vision of music. Always the base is important. Other things would follow, or can wait.
(Visalakshi Nithyanand in 'Reminiscences and remarks,' The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 4, 2008)


If people want to hear me, sabhas would have invited me to sing. I am not desperate. I have done almost 20,000 concerts. It's strange that artists have to apply like one does for a job to get an opportunity to go up on the stage. Many of them pay and perform. It never happened in our times. The deserving always got a chance. Where's Carnatic music heading?
Anything too much is not good. Sadly, artists think more the concerts, more the popularity. There's no point doing 20 ordinary concerts. They owe it to the art to improve the standard of listening.
If you are a true traditionalist don't accept money for concerts.
Definition of tradition? Style. It varies from person to person. Without it music will be monotonous.
(M Balamuralikrishna in 'He defines 'style' as tradition,' The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 4, 2008)


These days, it's more like Deepavali or Pongal, a festival that brings everyone from villages to NRIs to celebrate. But for the artistes, it's more like re-charge time after months of performing, Margazhi rejuvenates us for the next year.
I'm like a departmental store, full of every item that a music lover could ever wish for.
(Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan in 'I'm like a departmental store with items rasikas want,' Margazhi Plus, Deccan Chronicle, Jan 9, 2008)


Today's youngsters are technically fabulous - they have more than the needed exposure and all this is in their favour. But music should be a proportionate combination of aesthetics, mathematics, and intelligence and of course hard work. It has to come from within, yes from the inside. And in a concert if you reach a point at least once when you establish your musical contact or oneness with the rasika sitting there, then you would have achieved something.
(Suma Sudhindhra in 'This audience is rare to find,' The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 11, 2008)


I have been reading the reviews of concerts that you have published over the last few weeks. This is absolutely the worst format I have seen for a concert review. It looks like you are presenting a balance sheet of a company or presenting a project report. A concert is not something where you give grades or stars.
The sub-heads like 'creativity and spontaneity' are even more ridiculous. So if the piece is rendered with less creativity, does it make it worse compared to the others? The whole concept is wrong. How are you defining creativity? Each person has his or her own way of interpreting music.
(TM Krishna in 'The whole concept is wrong,' arfest@margazhi, The New Indian Express, Jan 15, 2008)


The format was thought and re-thought many times before implementation. Apart from the 2 musicians, the contributing team was comprised of musically trained and qualified writers and several music lovers. This being the first year, we do acknowledge that there were few typos and other minor errors as well as some textual editing due to space constraints and that this format can be fine tuned further. But this year's coverage has been taken quite seriously and we have received extremely positive feedback from all quarters. Your response also only reinforces that it has been taken seriously even by you!
(KN Shashikiran on behalf of arfest@margazhi, in 'A lot of thought was put into it,' in response to TM Krishna's 'The whole concept is wrong,' The New Indian Express, Jan 15, 2008)


To foster better relationship among musicians and to keep ourselves physically fit, we began playing cricket with tennis balls every morning. This has been going on for the past six years, from March to September. The spectrum of players includes both leading and up and coming Carnatic vidwans.
(Poongulam Subramaniam in 'An eventful past, a rewarding present,' in The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 18, 2008)


Will the winter music festival in Madras go on expanding in future? Most certainly, it will.... A very vital factor which will cause a further and formidable transformation of the whole social and cultural environment in the next 50 years will be the rapid and relentless expansion of the suburbs, in terms of both area and population... the festival is never likely to lose its basic spirit and character in spite of the tremendous changes occurring in the whole realm of Carnatic music, because Carnatic music itself has a way of surviving such extreme transformation in the environment... the most important reason for the triumphant survival of Carnatic music is the fact that Carnatic musicians and rasikas have a way of never losing the spiritual bearings which somehow continue to run in their blood generation after generation no matter where they live and what they happen to be doing in the modern world.
It is true that the further enlargement of the winter music festival and its extension into the suburbs will put much greater pressure on the performing artists during the hectic month of Maargazhi; but that isn't likely to affect the determination of the artists to make their best efforts to shine during the very special season. In fact, the higher pressure - like examination fever - is only likely to improve their concentration and enable them to perform better, and most of them are likely to achieve greater excellence at their respective levels.
(MV Ramakrishnan in 'Expansion on the cards,' The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 18, 2008)


More than anything else, remarks and observations are made with a view to enhancing the quality of the concerts of the artists in the future and not aimed at decrying them. The reviews, therefore, should be taken in the right spirit.
(V Subrahmaniam in 'Raga intricacies' - 'Letters to the editor,' The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 18, 2008)