Art

When a song becomes a cause...

When T.M. Krishna, standing amidst an ash pond with an anti-pollution mask covering his face, sings, “Concrete kattidam thevaya kannae?’, you listen. The video, directed by Rathindran R. Prasad and published by the Vettiver Collective, was an initiative to raise awareness about the degraded state of the Ennore creek.

The lyrics are written by Kaber of the Tamil Rock band, Kurangan. He used an essay that environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman gave him and translated the essence of it into a language that would reach a bigger group. Kaber says he is not new to the campaign. “I was well aware of the politics of the poromboke word.” The video deconstructs the word and its evolution into a swear word. The video was shot at around five in the morning. The production team says the locals were amused to see the musicians, in kurtas and veshtis, lugging the tanpura, mridangam, violin and kanjira and walking past the ash pond.

The idea behind the video is to offer the perfect infotainment, says Archanaa Seker, a volunteer at the collective. “That way, people will watch it because it is a great video with good music, and, in the process, think about an issue.” Krishna says the video has justified his socio-political position. Because, each of the ragas is aesthetically paired beautifully with Chennai Tamil. “The experiment opens incredible doors and windows to what is possible. Also, it counters the long-held condescending perception that you have to dilute or simplify classical music so that it reaches more people. I think that has been busted by this experiment. Because, musically, we have sung what is hardcore Carnatic music and it has reached a wide spectrum of society.”


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Printable version | May 24, 2022 9:54:46 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/When-a-song-becomes-a-cause.../article17096593.ece