As seasons come and go, this art form is attracting newer listeners, practitioners and organisers.
Can this ever be a music for masses? Opinions are sharply divided on this score. The glass is half-empty or half-full. It ultimately depends on how one looks at things. As seasons come and go, this art form is attracting newer listeners, practitioners and organisers. Viewed from this perspective, one can safely conclude that Carnatic music has taken a whole new dimension, and acquired a significantly different meaning in the modern context.
The growth of television, especially the regional channels, has been a major contibutory factor for the spread of this art form. Perhaps, A.V. Ramanan's Bajaj Sapta Swaram in Jaya TV set the trend for others to do the catching up. Today, the Super Singer programme on Vijay TV has become a hugely popular show. An intelligently packaged and efficiently presented programme, the Super Singer show has done a world of good in a way to the promotion of Carnatic music.
These shows attract participation by kids from across geographies. The demonstration effect has a definite rub-off effect on others - from kids to parents. One may argue that such programmes are `managed' very well. The fact, however, is that they have managed to create a buzz around Carnatic music. Not for nothing, many leading Carnatic musicians have chosen to be a part of the jury in such programmes.
Carnatic music has lot more visibility these days, thanks to all these happenngs. Even artistes have understood the need for flexibility, if they were to draw increased audience to their show. Purists such as M.L. Vasanthakumari, M.S. Subbulakshmi, D.K. Pattammal, Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, T. N. Seshagopalan et al had indeed embraced the medium of cinema with telling effect. Contemporary artistes such as Bombay Jayashri, Sudha Ragunathan, Nithyashri Mahadevan, Unnikrishnan and others too have not hesitated to court the film media. By doing so, they have generated a newer fan constituency.
Yesudas's is a classical case of `reverse flow' - where fans of his film music flock to his Carnatic concerts in good numbers! A whole lot of innovation has set in in the Carnatic music space with jugalbandis, thematic concerts and fuscion music becoming the order of the day. The need to find relevance may have pushed artistes to do experiements. These experiements, nevertheless, have added a new flavour and fresh fans to Carnatic music. As the saying goes, you bend to grow!