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Wednesday, Dec 21, 2005

Music Season
The Chennai December Festival

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Music Season

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Music Matters

The Maharajah

Raga Sudha's S.V. Krishnan could not resist expatiating on the moustache-of-the-season in his post-kutcheri tribute. ``Sanjay looks more like a policeman than a Bhagavatar,'' he began.

Was the singer inspired by Veera Pandia Kattabomman or Mangal Pande, he wondered, recalling another Bhagavatar of the hoary past who had gone in for a similar surprise.

``In any case, the kind of music he makes establishes him as a maharajah beyond doubt,'' he concluded amidst laughter and applause.

Sartorial elegance

The world of Carnatic music has its own dress code. M.S. Subbulakshmi and D.K. Pattammal were tradition personified in Kancheepuram silk and diamond studs.

There are stories of Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavatar's penchant for ornaments and perfumes and of how G.N. Balasubramanian found mirrors irresistible. Today's musicians drip more zari and gold, but they have not abandoned saree and veshti.

But things have changed for the listeners, especially among women. Gone are the days when ladies arrived at the concert hall in a swirl of silk and flash of diamond. Casual wear is in.

Musicians are not exempt from the trend. Someone like Amrita Murali or Gayathri Venkatraghavan is comfortable attending other musicians' concerts in `mufti', wearing what was once known as the `Punjabi dress.' No, this is not a fashion statement, but a matter of convenience, particularly during the rains that refuse to go away.

Audio blast

With all the advanced technology, the use of the audio system invariably leaves much to be desired.

Why don't the artistes and organisers check the balancing of the sound system before the concert? We find the main artiste invariably signalling to the audio person to raise or lower the volume of the voice or the accompanists.

The result is also invariably an audio blast or a howling of the mike.

Sweet puzzle

The venue was Music Academy and the buzz was about Tiruvaiyaru Ashoka. Who could this be? A new singer? An NRI perhaps? Curiosity took one hither and thither but there was no clue.

The canteen, run by Arusuvai Natarajan, provided the answer. ``So when are you serving your special, Thiruvaiyaru Ashoka?" a neighbour asked of Natarajan. ``Maybe, tomorrow," the culinary expert replied. It is a sweet that many have come to like, he explained.

(Compiled by Gowri Ramnarayan, G. Swaminathan, Ranjani Govind and V. Balasubramanian)

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Music Season

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