Music guide

This handbook of December Music Season has been providing information about concerts for 30 years. Liffy Thomas meets its designer

November 29, 2014 08:52 pm | Updated 08:52 pm IST - Chennai

RAGA READY: S. Kannan's Reckoner has a section listing the performance dates of well-known artistes at city sabhas. Photo: R. Ragu

RAGA READY: S. Kannan's Reckoner has a section listing the performance dates of well-known artistes at city sabhas. Photo: R. Ragu

The phone rings constantly at S. Kannan’s house at Anandapuram in Mylapore with inquiries about ‘Reckoner’, a handbook of the Chennai Music Season. Some people go to his house to pick up a copy of this guide on performances at various sabhas.

“Sir, this year, the book will only be on the stands on December 5,” Kannan replies politely, putting down the receiver.

With only a few days left for the release of the handbook, 65-year-old Kannan is busy coordinating with various organisers and the printer.

“I only wish people were more disciplined and organised while planning the Music Season. In the West, schedules of concerts are ready months in advance. Here, I am chasing sabhas to send me the programme schedule,” says Kannan.

Not many rasikas are aware of the huge effort Kannan takes to bring out a music directory for the season every year.

“The handbook is in its 30th year. Although I get a sense of satisfaction, I am also tired of asking people to solicit information,” he says, flipping through the printouts with schedules of a few sabhas. These are grouped date-wise giving details about who is performing, when and where.

The music directory is the brainchild of industrialist R.T. Chari, who gave Kannan the task of bringing out the book.

“In the first five years, five of us including Mr. Chari brought out the book titled ‘Aindhu Karangal’,” he says.

The Hindu's music supplement was the source of information initially and the book was launched by December 10. As its popularity grew, Kannan started approaching sabhas himself to send him the schedule and release the book much earlier.“The group slowly started disintegrating and it was left to me to bring out the book. I wanted to give it up but people would not allow me,” he says.Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti has been one of its greatest patrons sponsoring cost of printing the Reckoner which runs to 280 pages. Nearly 6,000 copies are printed every year. and ‘Reckoner’ runs to around 280 pages. Ten years ago, for a brief period, the book was priced at Rs. 2 to ensure no copy went waste but that was discontinued after some criticism. Over the years, Kannan, a former employee of Bank of Baroda, has been incorporating new sections. Apart from lectures, dance and drama, ‘Who and Where’ gives information of days where one’s favourite artiste is performing.Last year, it carried a list of yesteryear musicians whose centenary celebrations is forgotten.Since three years ago, Kannan has been getting help from vocalist Vikram and mrindagam artiste Ramkumar who update any change of venue on the website also brings out ‘Kutcheri Kaiyedu,’ a concert guide in English and Tamil.The copies of Reckoner will be available at all Nalli showrooms in the city, prominent music sabhas and at Kannan’s house.For details, call 98414 47974.

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