Sunday, September 21, 2008

A TRADITION ALIVE AND KICKING





A TRADITION ALIVE AND KICKING

PUNYA BHOOMI BHARATAM

In this divine land of Bharat, everything is dedicated to the Lord. Whenever a new dress is worn, first it is kept in front of God and kumkum applied on it and then only worn. My mother and many mothers will make a small ‘Pillayar’- even in the floor paste prepared for making Chappatti and Murrukku. My wife will murmur “Krishnarpanamastu” (Dedicated to Krishna) after every dish was prepared in the Kitchen. Such is the character of this punya bhoomi.

In the same manner, music , dance, painting and all fine arts were dedicated to the Lord only. In the entire Karnatic music, you will see almost 99% of songs are on one God or another. Ditto for Bharatanatyam.

THE MOVIE SANKARABARANAM

This is the outstanding scene from the immortal movie 'Sankarabaranam'. The Thyagaraja Kriti
"Broche Varevarura...." comes alive in this beautiful sequence.



When I was fourteen or fifteen years old, the Telugu movie “ Sankarabaranam” was released. The movie made such an impact that in non Telugu areas like Kerala and Tamilnadu, it ran to packed houses for months together without dubbing.

The movie resurrected an image for the traditional music of Bharat, the Karnatic music. The story itself was such that a traditionalist singer remains uncompromising till the end even at the grave prospect of poverty. He regards his art as the ultimate music that started with God and leads to God. Finally the world rediscovers him and he leaves to the world another talent that will carry forward his tradition.

ONSLAUGHT OF TECHNOLOGY

But, I was a bit unnerved at the onslaught of modern technology on every aspect of music. And I feared it will impinge on traditional music too. With many youngsters moving onto the soulless western music and the new generation Indian light music , the danger to traditional music was real.

Recently I watched in youtube, some videos during my search for songs to help train my son in his classical music classes. These videos left me stunned. These videos were of small kids of age 9, 10 and 16 singing like accomplished Vidwans.

Erode Anantaraman, a ten year old sweet kid, with his ‘Pibare Ramarasam” "பிபரே ராம ரசம்..."


Abhilash, aged nine , with his majestic ‘Ananda Nadamaduvar…” " ஆனந்த நடமாடுவார் தில்லை ......."


The 16 year old, Kashyap Mahesh, in a sublime voice, with his “Kaithala Niraikani..” "கைத்தல நிறை கனி ....."


I am now a much reassured man. I know that traditional music is in the hands of some prodigal talents. The level of performance of these kids are beyond description and is simply divine as is our very tradition.


PLEASE SAVE OUR ARTS:

I request every reader of this blog to make efforts to patronize our fine arts. We should let our children learn at least one art form and keep the chain of ancient arts alive. This will also help feed poor artists who will have enough to make ends meet. The whole world will be a better place when our peaceful, divine arts remain supreme.


3 comments:

senthil said...

Venkat,

I too was worried few years back on this subject. The entire media was so much full of obscene westernised musci, that our own karnatic music and baratanatyam appeared alien to us..

But later i found that inspite of all these, there are TV Programs dedicated to carnatic music, thus giving a wide recognition to most of the music lovers.

We need to do something about this, to not only save, but propagating these arts.

On those days, there was music teacher in many of the villages. But now, its not the case.

Sharad said...

I too was distressed when I used to watch the youth take onto the soul less music. However when I moved to the US I was stunned by the fact that some of the universities here offer courses in Carnatic music.
Recently I read that hosptals in Germany have started Carnatic music especially instrumental versions of Naadanamakriya and Shanmukhapriya as a therapy to patients with severe brain damage.
Atleast now with the "Science" to back up what we traditionally knew, I hope Carnatic music will be given its appropriate place in a land where dhol/apaswara sounds have begun to dominate.

Kaushik said...

Sir,
While it is true that and nice to see young kids performing our traditional arts, I am sometimes worried about the amount of Bhakti they have while performing. This Bhakti is as important as the art itself, if not more, and in today's world where elders themselves question our believes, practices & embrace atheism, developing the artistic talents of such kids would be sans Bhakthi and I hope that would not happen.