Some sound ideas

N. Subramaniam

N. Subramaniam   | Photo Credit: Photo: Anu Pushkarna

Meet N. Subramanian, editor and impresario.

He chucked his job as a mechanical engineer after only six months for the love of music. For the past seven years he has been publishing a bilingual monthly magazine, Naadhabrahmam, in English and Tamil. He also runs an eponymous cultural organisation, presenting regular festivals of music, besides furthering his career as a mridangam artiste.

Any of these pursuits could occupy 100 per cent of his time, but Mannargudi N. Subramanian juggles them all. Recently he was in New Delhi to present a festival, Naadhabrahmam’s second annual event in the Capital.

Aware that his journal might sell better if he included racy accounts of the scandals that beset the art world, he clarifies, “My main aim in establishing my magazine was to draw youngsters into music and educate them.”

Organising programmes and educational events in Chennai and other cities — he recently tied up with some Bangalore organisations to present thematic concerts on a monthly basis — he emphasises his commitment to propagation of the veena, an instrument that needs encouragement in the current scenario. “The inaugural concert is always the veena,” he notes. Subramanian, who shares a family heritage with the iconic Papanasam Sivan, has trained under his uncle Papanasam Kumar and Srimushnam Raja Rao among others. Currently a disciple of Karaikudi Mani, he feels an artiste should not perform in a festival he organises. “For the past seven years I have never played in my own festival,” says Subramanian, who received the Best Organiser award from vocal maestro Balamuralikrishna’s organisation Vipanchi in December 2007. But this time in Delhi he had to relent, partly due to pressure from practical-minded well-wishers, and partly due to a sudden contingency.

At 29, Subramanian is full of plans, immediate and deferred. “I want to start a music school, with very nominal fees — say, Rs.10 — for all castes,” he says. “That’s my ambition. I want music to go to all states.”

Sound ideas all right!


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