What started out as a group on Facebook has succeeded in uniting senior artistes, upcoming performers and students who find common ground in Carnatic music and the Cauvery delta

It started with a few friends chatting on Facebook- about concerts, ragas and instruments. From a closed group on a popular social networking site where a coterie of budding artistes from the city hobnobbed, Trichy Carnatic Musicians (TCM) has materialized into a forum where top-grade and junior artistes from the Cauvery delta , particularly Tiruchi, find common ground.

On the brink of holding its first major event outside the virtual world, TCM is all set to celebrate three years since its founding on January 20, 2010, on the exact date this year. “This is the first time all our members will meet,” says Kashyap Mahesh, vocalist. “We started out with 20 members and today, we have crossed 100, of which at least 60- 70 are performing artistes from Tiruchi,” says Anand Jayaraman, administrator of the Facebook group. The rest are novices and students just beginning to get acquainted with the world of ragas.

Seasoned and struggling

Envisaged originally as an interactive forum for youth, the essence of the group’s success has been in bringing seasoned exponents and All-India Radio graded artistes to interact with young performers and keen students of music. It is no easy task to get musicians, familiar with a climate of rivalry and known to keep to themselves, to unite repeatedly on a forum. “That is the magic we believe we have created,” exclaims Kashyap. “Novices can freely interact with vidwans, something which might not have been possible before TCM took shape.” The lecture-demonstration by T.V.Ramanujacharlu on Sunday is part of the ‘learning and sharing’ experience fostered by the online community, says Narayanan Mohan, mridangam artiste. Age or achievement is no benchmark to belong to the group, stresses Anand.

Who’s performing where?

One of the primary tasks of TCM has been to ensure young musicians make the most of concerts presented by veterans, says Harish Sundar, mridangam player. “We regularly post concert schedules with photos and invitations to update members on events around the city. This has gone down well and has encouraged response to local concerts,” he says. This has worked particularly well for students or beginners, for whom, listening to recitals is crucial in moving up the trajectory of growth as a performer.

‘Dinam our Thiruppavai’ where a Thiruppavai a day with lyrics and the sound clip was posted throughout Margazhi evoked kudos for their efforts. 'Nadopasakashas' helped members to tune into YouTube videos featuring legends of Carnatic Music. On the anvil, are plans to encourage interaction with rasikas and lobbying for more performance opportunities for local artistes.