With reference to the exchange between musician T.M. Krishna and N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of TheHindu (March 4), I would like to recall the phrase “Sishur Veitthi, Pashur Veitthi, Veitthi Gaana Rasam Phahihi,” which means that music is relished by babies, mammals and reptiles alike. In other words, anybody who has two keen ears will relish good music. And every listener has the right to criticise the art form. Well, if a critic is not qualified to write, why not consider him a layman? And why not consider discreet acceptance of his criticism by any newspaper for publication in letter and in spirit?
Praveen K. Punaha,
Music, or any art form, is for the people. If an artist's delivery is not sensible, it is but natural that there will be criticism, and the critic need not know the language of music or any art. When an artist is ready to accept appreciation from the people or audience, then he/she should be generous and honest enough to accept criticism too.
Critics should be human enough to bring out genuine shortcomings without bias. I would like to be among a number of readers who appreciate the efforts of The Hindu in keeping the arts alive and very relevant.
George Varghese Kodiat,
The issue that should engage all of us is not how some singers react to criticism but how the world of south Indian classical music discriminates against talented musicians who do not have the backing of what I would call a pedigree. Sabhas, music lovers and critics should collaborate to dismantle the elitist structures that have forced hundreds of talented musicians to languish in obscurity. Merit, and not merely lineage, should be extended the support and respect it deserves.
As a layperson with only a nodding (no pun intended) acquaintance with Carnatic Music, I usually enjoy reading a well-written critique, particularly if laced with humour. I reproduce below a gem of a piece which appeared in TheHindu many years ago, reviewing the concert of a very senior and respected artist. I have changed the names of the artists to protect their identities: “The way Rajagopalan framed his concert, it looked as if he was estranged from the decorum of good music. It was like an unbalanced bank ledger. Except for the first two Kirtanas ... the songs were unfamiliar in Tamil, which he himself had to sing by constantly looking into the papers before him. The use of his voice reminded old rasikas of the days of drama music. N. Shanmughasundaram (violin) matched the bizarre articulation of Rajagopalan with his harsh bowing. Palakkad Krishnan (mridangam) and S. Hariprasad (Kanjira) were willing partners in the noisy ensemble.” Who said music criticism and humour cannot go together?