December 1 was really looked forward to every year. The list of concerts in every sabha would be out. In the seventies when I was still learning the violin my interest was primarily in seeing who my guru’s sons were accompanying at the academy. I think for a few years L Subramaniam played for KVN and L Shankar played for Madurai Somu at the Academy. I still remember the concert at the Academy, where L Shankar was playing for Madurai Somu. CS Murugabhoopathy was on the mrudangam. The RTP was in the raga Swarnangi. As L Shankar began his turn of the alapana and moved on to the upper shadja, Somu stopped and asked him to play a bit more in the panchamam range! The advent of the internet and publishing of online schedules makes it that much less interesting to go through the Dec 1st newspaper, but there are still people who do that. The other day I was at a friend’s house and this doctor came up to me and asked me how many concerts I was singing this year. I have known him for so many years and he has never bothered to ask me this in the past. I guess recent declarations by some about cutting down prompted him to ask me this! Anyway I just said that he can always count the number once the schedules are out and his response was “Yes, I can see it on the newspaper on December 1st !!”
Another season is upon us! Something about the season gets me in the mood to write. So maybe this blog will get some attention! There is something about turning 40. It makes you want to look back and remember a few things that happened sometime ago. How we hated it when they talked about ‘those’ days. Now we can happily start a conversation with ’20 years ago’ and feel nice about it.
Titles have increased so much that there is not much excitement about who is getting what. However the Sangeetha Kalanidhi still retains its primary status as the one everybody covets! This year the Bombay Sisters have been chosen. An excellent choice by the Academy. Yes they could have given it this one or that one, but who they have chosen really deserves it. There is a saying in tamil “patti thotti yellaam paadiyirukkaal” meaning that they have sung in every nook and corner. That is exactly what the Bombay Sisters have done over the last 40 years. They have never denied the rasikas an opportunitiy to listen to them whenever they wanted. This is the best service for the art form that any musician can do. The number of recordings they have released is really amazing. After Dr MBK they were the first artistes to release 100 pre recorded albums for the Sangeetha label, a remarkable achievement! I have attended a couple of their recording sessions when Shri L Krishnan was supervising and composing music for them. Their professionalism, diction, discipline in rendition etc were a real lesson for an aspiring musician like me.
As I started typing out this post, I glanced at my previous posts on the Season and realised that the theme of ” not writing regularly and hoping to write more” has been recurring. So in the name of “Sampradaya” I won’t change that theme. This year my first concert will be for Karthik Fine Arts on the 9th. My Jaya TV concert is on the 11th and the theme I have chosen this year is “Bharathi Moovar” – Compositions of Kavi Kunjara Bharathi, Mazhavai Chidambara Bharathi & Suddhananda Bharathi. A little more detail on these composers will follow soon on this blog I promise!