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Updated: December 12, 2013 17:31 IST

On a creative journey

SAVITHA GAUTAM
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S. Shashank. Photo: M. Srinath
The Hindu S. Shashank. Photo: M. Srinath

Flautist Shashank is all set to take rasikas on a melodic journey this Season.

When flute whiz Shashank Subramanyam met and played before the legendary Mali, the single piece of advice the maverick musician gave the young boy was this: ‘Do not listen to other flautists and do not attend flute concerts. That way you can create your individual style.’ Shashank took that advice to heart, and over the years has indeed carved a special place for himself in the music scene.

The young flautist has a busy Season ahead of him. Like always. The musician who had had the distinction of being one of the youngest musicians to perform at The Music Academy’s Sadas, had a busy year travelling across the globe, performing with world musicians and interacting with music lovers, both children and adults.

But come December, and life comes a full circle once again. “Yes, I have been performing for over 25 years now, and even now, playing during the Season has its high.” And then says, “However, the going is not all that great for instrumentalists.” Wonder why? “Well, it has largely to do with audience taste. More and more people prefer vocal music… I guess they look at the lyrics as a medium to reach God. Having said that, I do believe there are many who still appreciate the delicate touches which instruments offer. In fact, I am championing the cause of instrumental music in Chennai. Whenever I get the opportunity, I do stress the beauty of some wonderful, and almost forgotten, instruments such as the jalatarangam.”

Sojourns abroad

The same is not the case abroad, he avers. “I have, in the past few months, visited Norway, Sweden and Germany, where the audiences have been receptive to instrumental music. At workshops, the children (some special children too) were trained and came well prepared… they knew a lot about Carnatic music, the instruments and so on… it was quite a challenging and satisfying experience.”

Incidentally, Shashank participated in the Skopje Jazz Festival in Macedonia and played at the Copenhagen Jazz fest with the band Blue Lotus. Besides this, he showcased his Spirit of Krishna Ensemble at the Esplanade in Singapore.

So, will there be something new that rasikas can expect from Shashankin the coming weeks? “Well, not really. My repertoire will consist mostly of timeless kritis, some popular and some not so. Other than the solos at various sabhas, I will be playing a jugalbandi with sitar maestro, Ustad Nishad Khan for Chennayil Tiruvaiyaru.”

His next concert is on December 15

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