musings on music and life

May 21, 2013

June 8th concert

Filed under: Carnatic Music — Tags: , — sankirnam @ 8:24 pm

I feel obligated to advertise this here for highly obvious reasons:


It’s a veena arangetram (debut concert) with my guru Shri. Neyveli Narayanan on mrudangam. As I have said earlier, the veena as such is a dying art form. Not enough people are interested in listening to veena concerts; this is because the subtleties and nuances of veena playing are best conveyed without amplification, and thus require a highly trained ear. The result is that only the true cognoscenti will attend veena concerts, and these are naturally very few in number. In spite of this, modern veenas are amplified (see vainikas such as Rajesh Vaidya and Jayanthi Kumaresh), and hardcore rasikas will say what I mentioned a sentence earlier – that the subtleties are lost. Not enough students are interested in learning veena too – and this makes sense given what I said above. If you are going to choose an instrument to learn, might as well choose one that gets you a good audience and a decent amount of attention! This was not always the case, however. If you look at ancient texts in music, the veena is one of the oldest instruments in India, and thus was given more prominence than even vocal music! In fact, it used to be the goal of vocalists to emulate veena players even as late as the early 20th century (e.g. the whole Dhannamal school). The veena is also bulky and difficult to transport, unlike other instruments (such as the violin), and lacks the versatility that the violin has (although I would desperately love for someone to prove me wrong here). What we need is another vidwan like S. Balachander to really revolutionize the art behind this ancient instrument.

That being said, major kudos to the student for choosing to pursue the art in this instrument. I’m sure this will be a wonderful concert.

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