Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carnatic Music: Not a forgotten art anymore!!

Music is an art form, the elements of which are sound and silence. The emotion that results out of music affects not only the performer, but also in the listener. It is as easy for a person to lose onself in singing, as in listening.
From the ancient times of Purandara Daasa, Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar to the modern world of Dr. Balamuralikrishna, Smt. M. S. Sheela and Dr. T. S. Sathyavathi, people who bring this art in to the world as well as practice it are treated with respect. Be it instrumental or vocal, Carnatic music is regarded as the best in the world when it comes to the complex compositions as well as simple subtlety in it.
The origin of music, people say was from the nature. It was amusing to the human mind to hear and mimic the sounds of nature which included the sounds of birds and animals. For example, Imagine a simple tap on the wood by the axe of a wood cutter with equal intervals of time can create “Taala”. Throw in the sounds of birds chirping and you can get the music of the nature. Of the saptaswaras (seven primary notes), each note is said to be emanating from a particular animal. For example, the cuckoo (kokila) sings in the ‘panchama’ and the elephant (pikaH kUjati panchamam … niShAdam bRimhate gajaH). Thus, the various sounds that Nature gave us became ‘swara’s (Musical sound of a single note: Sa-Re-Ga-Ma-Pa-Dha-Ni) hence forming a Raaga which then makes music.
In the ancient times, it was tough for common people to study or seek music. It was the “Pitamaha” of Carnatic music, PurandaradAsa, who simplified the teaching process and helped even a common man attain this peace. Even Saint Tyagaraja’s ‘kriti’s are egalitarian. Our Haridasas brought music to the masses with their kirtanas that were universally appealing.
Carnatic music is sought about these days as therapy also. It is something that people go after to get some peace of mind. Listening to the scores of instruments like a Santoor or Bansuri will definitely calm the nerves. Carnatic music even attracts foreign students (in turn their culture) not only to practice it but to study the various raagas and efficient ways of mastering it. The influence of our culture in Carnatic Music is equally influencing the people around the world as much as the western culture in our society. This is very positive since it makes people of our generation to take the best of both worlds and make it their own. The formation of the Fusion music in which East meets West is one such discovery of this century. Dr. L Subramaniam is one such artist who is more in to Fusion of Carnatic and Western music.
Music Philanthropist Mr. T V Sairam (Mumbai’s commissioner for Central Excise), in his book “Healing with Music” says that practitioners of Carnatic music are fully aware of the power and influence of the raagas as a balm for the mind. He further clarifies that "Some raagas such as Darbari-Kanhara, Khamaj and Pooriya were strongly recommended by ancient vaids for defusing tension of the mind, particularly during episodes of hysteria. Hypertension is another health ailment that responds positively to music. Raagas such as Ahirbhairav and Thodi have been recommended for patients with high blood pressure. On the other hand, low blood pressure is healed with the Raaga Malkauns, believed to have supernatural energy.”

** Special thanks to Parijatha for helping out with the content and proof reading.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Transition!

As I start writing my latest blog, the room is calm... no sound... The lights and the fan which used to run non stop for an entire day is now kinda confused by the silence... Simba, my dog can never make her wake up at 8:30 in the morning by barking out loud... nor will he see her hugging him or making him eat his breakfast whilst she sits by his side... Things have changed and how... 
Every girl has her moments in life... biggest ones are HER first Love... Marriage... Kids... it goes on... but of course for a girl who is more of a shy & reserved types... Marriage is a huge thing!! This is about one such girl...
I had always thought that this time would come in my life sooner than later that my parents and I will have to get my lil sister married... I didn't know that it would come in such a hurry... Further more... when we started renovating our home in that very time, little did we know that my sis would be engaged in less than a month!! Huge surprise that... Anyways now that the things are little settled, I can look back as the greatest achievement personally to my family that we could hold things together.
She was never a party goer... she has a pretty close knit people whom she goes out with... very conservative... and when she finally thought this dude was the person... we were thrilled... I was happy cos I un-cannily knew when I met Raveendra the first time that he was down to earth, cool... More I talked to him... more did I find out that he is a meticulous planner and executor of that plan... straight forward and easily said... Simple!! Probably never can anyone get a better animal for husband who can be so understanding in their first meet and patience is as if flowing in his blood along with the RBCs!!
So she got engaged in December and we all thought we had plenty of time to get things moving and get things done. Mom being orthodox wanted all the right things at right time... We started planning and little did we know, Raveendra was already planning for things to come after the marriage. I was amazed by the thought process. He rented out a place... while we were getting invitations printed... He was getting his furniture done when we were listing out people to call for the wedding...
Meantime... my little sister was very busy moving all over bangalore for obvious girly dreamy things... make up, dresses and slippers and dresses matching those slippers Jesus whats with girls and matching slippers god knows!! I would rather she did all the same with her would be hubby!! Anyways thats her call to take...
Finally the day arrived and it flew... Little can I remember now what happened those few days when I feel now that I was literally running blind but getting things done somehow. 
Now sittin in the portico I just sometimes feel I should try re-collect some intricate details but i cant... May be thats for another story altogether... Peace out!!