Tune into TM Krishna's music at Urur Olcott Kuppam Vizha

Balloon sellers, bajji vendors and cotton candy sellers paused for a minute to listen to the Carnatic alapana. Carnatic vocalist, TM Krishna, sporting a veshti and a white T-shirt, with his accompanying artistes, was attracting all the attention. The concert by the beach was a rare sight for the joggers at the Elliot’s beach in 2014. But, no longer. For the last three to four years, the Urur Olcott Kuppam Vizha (UOKV) has been blurring cultural boundaries. They do this by bringing artistes across spectra to perform at unconventional venues such as the beach, in buses and at railway stations.

Reclaim public spaces

This year, Krishna performs again for the Outreach concert for the vizha. He will be accompanied by Akkarai S Subhalakshi (violin), K Arun Prakash (mridangam) and Nerkunam Shankar (kanjira). It is going to be Carnatic music and everyday life, in an unusual context, says Krishna. “Nothing is curated in terms of audience, stage, entry and exits. Informality is a very important aspect. There will be people who like it and those who don’t. It is a mixture of different mindsets. That’s the whole idea of a public space. And, I think society has to reclaim public spaces.”

What UOKV demands of all arts is unlimited openness, he says. It is a counter-cultural movement to what cultural mindsets are, and not counter art form. “We see it as a challenge to a certain kind of conservative mindset. We are also challenging ourselves. It is not a ‘pointing fingers movement’, but an introspective one, where all of us are learning.” Krishna’s experimentations in classical music started changing the way he looked at space, content, context and audiences.

“For instance, my collaboration with Perumal Murugan has changed the content of my music. It has also led me to think about what constitutes a profound experience. The one at a beach is different from that in a church.” Experimentation in his art form has added more nuances to these aesthetic and societal discourses.

Over the years, his music has slowed down as well. “Slowing down was the first change that happened in my music. And, it led to everything else. Slowing down gives a sense of clarity, an acute awareness. It is an important introspective process. In any job, the moment you slow the process down, you see it in such a different way. When I experiment at home or stage, I slow down to crazy levels.” He goes on to add that this slowing down is just not about pace, but also about the mind. “You can sing something fast without the panic of it being fast. It will still reflect itself to be calm. There is slowness in that calmness. It is not necessarily a time-related thing but experience-related. You can experience slowness in fast moving music as well. So long as the rendition is not done in anxiety or a rush of adrenaline.”

The concert will be staged at Elliot’s beach (opposite SPACES) on January 27, 6 pm.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 12:22:58 AM |

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