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    Our pick of offbeat lecture-demonstrations during Margazhi, featuring technique, debates and more

    Come Margazhi, as the city’s sabhas resonate with thalas and raagams, and ardent rasikas queuing up for performances in the evenings, we tell you there is more to it. For those who have a morning free or a desire to learn more, catch one of the lecture-demonstrations by prominent artistes like vocalist Premeela Gurumurthi and music guru Ramahari Das. Covering topics as myraid as Odissi sangit and ‘musical’ stamps, here is our pick:
    IMG_8435Divine calling
    Drawing on his vast research into Indian mythology, author Devdutt Pattanaik will be giving a lecture on ‘Black, White and Grey – Shades of the Feminine Divine’ along with pianist Anil Srinivasan. “I will speak on an idea and Anil will express the same through music. Thus the audience will experience the idea via the head and the senses,” explains Pattanaik. Together, the duo will make the journey from Sati to Parvati (honouring Chennai’s Kapaleshwara) and the struggle between Radha, Rukmini and Satyabhama (honouring Chennai’s Parthasarathi).
    At Kalakshetra, on December 23, at 10.30 am.
    PremeelaFlashback
    Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood—the three industries might be vastly different, but they have classical music in common, says vocalist Premeela Gurumurthi. The head of department of music at Madras University will be presenting a lecture-demonstration on the music of composers from the 50s and 60s, titled ‘The Enchanting Songs of the Yesteryear Film Music Directors and their Ragas’. “I want to bring out how film music directors contributed to classical music in films—not just in terms of raaga and themes, but also the instrumentation and the scenes staged in the songs,” says Gurumurthi, who will be showcasing composers like SD Burman, Shankar Jaikishen, G Ramanathan, Viswanathan-Ramamurthy and Adi Narayana Rao, to name a few.
    At the Indian Fine Arts Society, December 22, at 10 am.
    ram-hari-dasTune it right
    Odissi is one of India’s eight classical dances, but the music behind the art form has no visibility, laments music guru Ramahari Das. His lecture-demonstration on Odissi sangit tries to highlight the different styles of singing and compositions that feature in traditional Odissi music. “Odissi music has a history that goes back to the second century BC,” says the Bhubaneshwar-based musician, giving us a glimpse of what he has in store for Chennai. “There are records about King Kharavela of Kalinga holding extensive programmes in the form of music,” explains the 60-year-old lecturer at the Utkal Sangeet Magavidyalaya.
    Das will also touch on traditional Odissi compositions composed for Lord Jagannath and the different characteristics of Odissi music.
    At the Music Academy, December 18, at 8.45 am.
    sriramarao_picStamped
    Retired Commander Sriramarao always liked collecting stamps. He also liked music, especially classical. When he retired in 1993, he decided to combine both and his musical collection was born. So far, the Navy commander has collected 4,000 stamps, 260 special coins and 93 currency notes—all related to musicians, musical instruments or musical notes. “I also have a good collection of covers from post offices that are either named after musicians or their music,” he says, listing ‘Mozart’ in Saskatchewan (Canada) and ‘Tosca’, an opera, in the Northern Cape.
    His favourite stamps are the ones released  on legendary musicians Thyagaraja Swamy, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri. “Our government also released a `100 coin for the International Year of the Child—with the picture of a dancer, a sitarist and a mridangist. I also love the coins released for Rabindranath Tagore,” he says.
    Sriramarao will be showcasing 20 frames from his collection at The Music Academy, from December 16 to 20. And he will present a lec-dem on musical Indian stamps on December 16 titled, ‘A Philatelic and Numismatic Tribute to Music’.

    —Janane Venkatraman

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