Can Carnatic music ever change cheri pasangal?

In 1975, the Venezuelan conductor, composer—and economist—Jose Antonio Abreu had a vision of demolishing the traditional elitism of western classical music and using it for sociological purposes.

The result was a El Sistema (The System) which takes thousands of deprived, disaffected youngsters from the dangerously impoverished barrios; offers them a ladder from poverty, criminality, and drug dependency; gives them the chance to learn, love and play classical music; and inculcates self-confidence, skills and discipline.

It also puts them in concert halls. There are now 57 children’s orchestras and another 125 youth orchestras in Venezuela, in an experiment that country after country is now adopting.

The Simon Bolvar Youth Orchestra is now the world’s hottest ticket, and its conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who, in the words of The Times, London, “has transformed the young and the poor into inspirations for the world”, is considered to be one of the most astonishingly gifted. He has just been appointed as the new director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Could Carnatic music step out of its stultifying katcheris and perform a similar role for the cheri pasangal?

Or Hindustani?

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53 Responses to “Can Carnatic music ever change cheri pasangal?”

  1. Doddi Buddi Says:

    WTF is ‘Cheri Pasangal’ ?

    Churumuri stop being devious in introducing these weird phrases!

  2. B.S.Nagaraj Says:

    As long as it remains the preserve of one caste, and no prizes for guessing which one it is, it is difficult to see how Carnatic music can be used for larger “sociological” purposes. To this day, it is difficult to make it big if you happen to be a non-Brahmin, however talented you may be. Let’s take a test. How many top-rung non-Brahmin musicians come to your mind? Chowdaiah, Dwaram, MS, MLV, Sheikh Chinna Moulana ….

    Hindustani music stands a better chance of replicating in India Jose Antonio Abreu’s successful experiment. Caste, and even religion, have rarely become barriers in Hindustani music.

    Apart from caste, there is also a lingusitic barrier in Carnatic music. Tamilian dominance hasn’t diminished.

  3. Sandesh Says:

    For some strange reason… I don’t like carnatic and hindustani music at all… the singers have to obey rules.. the rules can’t be modified to suit singers. May be it is the way it is.
    Yes, the caste domination is too obvious to see.. also, those who enjoy the kacheris also belong to the same caste.. (mostly)

  4. subbulakshmi Says:

    we already have several such centres one being THe Panchakshari Gavi centre for music where blind boys and girls are taught carnatic and hindustani music.
    another is a centre for dance for underprevilaged children and one for physically challenged.
    there are many such organistaions the only differene s that they dont get written about or have the media attention like for the one you have mentioned above.

    your post is good except for that last one comment.
    and whats wrong with keri hudugaru? why tamil?

  5. Raghu Says:

    Not as long as Kannadigas leave when Devera Namas start in a Kutcheri and Tamizh singers continue to rape Sanskrit/Kannada/Telugu languages in their singing :-)

  6. maald Says:

    All this ballyhoo serves the ego but not the soul. Hindustani music, for me, is all about its simplicity. If you are closer to your soul, you will understand what I am talking.

    I don’t care if Hindustani music never gets this kinda hype and hoopla. Carnatic music fans will also feel the same, I am sure.

    Kannadigas are not known to be great promoters of Carnatic music. Not sure you will appreciate this.

  7. Gururaj B.N. Says:


    At the risk of sounding politically incorrect and elitist, I must say, leave something for middle class and upper class. Don’t reduce everything to plebeian and pedestrian level. You are suggesting that the slum boys be taught Karnatak Music which takes at least a decade’s perseverence, when their priority is day to day existence.


    You also do not seem to have heard of Bidram Krishnappa, and Bhairavi Kempe Gowda. Best way to ruin art by bringing in casteism and linguistic chauvenism, instead of appreciating the art itself.

  8. Palahalli Says:

    “demolishing the traditional elitism of western classical music and using it for sociological purposes.”

    – What does this mean? Where is the need to destroy anything good in order to create something new?

    As for “elitism”…it is a very strange animal that takes on many a garb.

  9. Prashanth Says:

    “cheri pasangal” Shows Churumuri’s (Over)Affection Over Tamil!!!

    Anyways, Will Churumuri take the Pain of translating the Same to our Sweet “Kannada” for the Benifit of likes of me!!!

  10. Inaati Says:

    What does “cheri pasangal” mean?

  11. Gowda.Boy Says:

    cheri pasanagal (Tamil)= dalitha haidaru (Kannada)

  12. Rajesh R Says:

    I completely agree with B.S. Nagaraj… dominance of one particular state/language people is a big barrier… we have very great local musicians who are not getting their due respects (M.S Sheela, R.K. Sreekantan, R.K. Padmanabha, Sukanya Prabhakar list goes on), whether it is Fort High School or Seshadripuram importance is given to non-localites (atleast Sheshadripuram is better)…. even though the local musicians turn out to be great crowd pullers (like Vidyabhushana) they are not given much importance…

  13. Rajesh R Says:


    “Kannadigas are not known to be great promoters of Carnatic music”.. your statement shows that you do not know much about carnatic music history in Karnataka, Mysore was and is the center for carnatic music, many of the Wodeyar kings themselves were great composers, they have written lot of Kritis, and had very great musicians like Veene Seshanna, Veene Subbanna and more as asthana vidwans… they infact gave rajashraya to sevaral musicians who were outside the state..

  14. Gowda.Boy Says:

    Also, i don’t know if carnatic music can change dalitha haidaru. I don’t care if it doesn’t. I don’t even know if carnatic or hindustani is the be all or end all of classical music genres. I consider janapada, vachana (forgive my limited knowledge here) as classical as anything. We know where we all get the classical status for kannada language, don’t we?

    BUT, all I care for is let them sing! Dont throw your assumed superiority of carnatic music on a boy/girl willing to sing a cacophonic janapada, so to speak. Appreciate it, blend it, mend it and market it! (BN Guru, you know how much it frustrates when one kannu of our society gets sunna, another bennae. AND what do you mean plebian, carntic isn’t rocket science for shiva’s sake)

    Rahman in Outlook magazine recently said “I don’t meld voice to the music, but I do meld the music to suit the voice” (Paraphrasing). The West has constantly melded music like rock, pop, blues etc etc to suit voices. Appreciation has flown from unseen quarters and recognition for the unsung melodies.

    The biggest trick the Brahmins pulled on the world is to convince it that they faced so much humiliation for nothing they aint did…halkat edhiri…but Great work!

  15. clash Says:

    Viva Bolivar!

  16. Palahalli Says:

    I tend to agree with Gowda.Boy on “letting a hundred genres bloom!”. So, what are the factors that retard non-karnatic and Hindustani music? Or are there really such factors (apart from market “value”) at all?

    Karnatic music is no rocket science. And even rocket science can be learned. However, it does require the leisure for practice that all our people may not be able to muster. I think that was Gururaj’s point. It is not caste specific.

    And what about “The biggest trick the Brahmins pulled”?

  17. kharaharapriya Says:

    Complete BS. Mysore brothers, Lingaraja urs ,Jayachamarjanedra wodeyar are/were not brahmins. There will be huge list of such non-bomman musicians in south india.

    Incidentally ThiruKa belongs to a caste whose profession is music(Isai blah blah caste). It isnt that Classical music has always been reserved for brahmins only. It so happened that brahmins dominated the carnatic scene and took centre stage to revive it when all other castes who had music as main profession started looking @ other prospects. Infact the greatest patrons of carnatic music were mudaliar landlords in tamil nadu. Once the British rule came in musicians gradually lost the patronage and musicians had to turn back @ mysore and trivandrum.

    People like TTK and many more rich brahmins started patronizing and revived carnatic music in TN. If people like TTK and others didnt patronize music TN would have been full of “annamman dance” music the dankanaka types.

    Rajesh R,
    Keep basking in the lost glory of mysore. There is no patronage for carnatic music in karnataka. Surely not to the extent that’s present in Madras or for that matter in USA. What else would explain the fact that Shashank, Kadri, Mysore shrikanth and other kannadigas have made Chennai their home? Infact Dr.Srikanthan is more famous in Chennai than in Bangalore.
    Its a different matter all together that demand for carnatic music teachers has increased because of the advent of reality show and every parent wants their child to be a star singer. :)

  18. ksquare Says:

    @ Author – Calling kutcheris stultifying? Either you don’t like Carnatic music or you have a bad taste.

    @maald – Kannadigas not promoting Carnatic music? Do you know who is Purandara Dasa? He is called Sangeetha Pitamaha. He wrote the basic and first lessons which should be taught to students.

    @Sandesh – There is something known as Manodharma in Carnatic music. It allows you to play with the raaga within its scale. Rules are not rigid. Its pure science and maths. Balamurali and loads of other singers have formed their own raagas.

    @Gowda.Boy – In Carnatic Junior Vocal Exam they make you sing jaanapadas, vachanas, bhaavageethes.

  19. sathya Says:

    Mysore brothers nonbrahmins…..? R Chandrashekharaiah, R Viseweswaran, Ra(R) Satyanarayana…….please check Kharaharapriya.
    R Chandrashekharaiah (nicknamed Rachaiah by some) is no more and the other two are very much there in Mysore.

  20. Palahalli Says:

    ksquare – Excellent information! Thank you.

  21. Rajesh R Says:


    My answer was for Maalds comment that there was not much promotion for Carnatic music in Karnataka, I am perfect in basking in history…. when you can bask in the glories of MS, DKP, MLV… why can’t we??? I remind you that the basic lessions of Carnatic music was given by none other than Purandara dasaru…. let us not make music a point to fight over once supremecy….

    Rajesh R

  22. Rajesh R Says:


    Ofcourse one cannot forget the royal patronage given by the Mysore Wodeyars to the musicians from outside the state… you cannot forget the history!!! you have come to present by passing the history…

    – Rajesh R

  23. Hosa-Belaku Says:

    One question that plagues me whenever I go to a concert or listen to classical music is: How come Hindustani music by and large draws me into it while I have to concentrate to enjoy Carnatic? I have often felt that it is the way in which the two are rendered.
    Of course all of us know all music is set to certain raagas which is so precise that anyone who learns basics should be able to deliver after due practice.
    I have concluded that Carnatic music is so rich in lyrics and the ‘bhakti’ element that justice can be done to it only by those who comprehend the meaning of the lyrics and know the pronounciation of words. Unfortunately, this was not seen in singers of yesteryears, especially those originating from Tamil Nadu.
    Luckily younger singers lay more emphasis on the poetry and sing in such a way as to appeal to a wider audience and not just the so-called connoisseurs.

  24. Gaampa Says:

    I met Mr.Aberu in Caracas with a group from Mysore. He is an amazing person with spell binding story telling capability.

    A person like him … with his calibre… would chose so many different paths to promote Cheri Pasangal to stardom

  25. kharaharapriya Says:

    I am talking of Mysore Nagaraj and Manjunath.

    There is nothing wrong in basking in the glory. But it shouldnt end there. We have done very little to promote Carnatic music post Wodeyars. That just made me go a lil bit over board. Just look @ the pathetic quality of carnatic music on Udaya TV daily mornings and compare the same with the ones on Jaya TV.

  26. Jack Says:


    I don’t understand. Why bring caste in to it this? If a person is not inclined to music mentally, it is his/her upbringing not his caste.

    There are more ustads than pandits in Hindustani music. Drupad would not have survived this day but for the efforts of Dagar Bros going back to 8 generations. So much for the community to which aurangazeb belongs.

    Classical music is not everybody cup of tea. It requires years and years of patience. It not like singing besur film songs and be known as gana gandrav. You know whom I am mentioning. Some of annavru songs were besur and third rates.

    Learn to accept the facts.

  27. Sandesh Says:

    “Classical music is not everybody cup of tea.”


    “It requires years and years of patience”


    “It not like singing besur film songs and be known as gana gandrav. ”

    More Opinion

    “You know whom I am mentioning.”

    No idea who

    “Some of annavru songs were besur and third rates.”

    More unsubstantiated opinion… Define besur… in what sense? what was “third rate” about some of the songs? which are they ? examples ?

    “Learn to accept the facts.”

    Yaaaaawn… where are the facts ??

  28. Gowda.Boy Says:


    Isn’t this article about Jose Antonio Abreu, who didn’t like the elitist fiefdom of western classical musicians? Are we not speaking in the context of him trying to bring elite music to errand masses? Something which churumuri draws inspiration from and tries to apply to the Indian caste context (katcheris= brahms & Cheri Pasangal= Dals)? And importantly, am I gate crashing here. AM I?


    Now you talk of ustads and pandits. I’m hoping you would concur with me that Hindustani classical music definitely had its origin from the vedic times. Called North Indian Classical Music until unless it was experimented by the Mogul Kings and then sung by their men (Drupad were introduced to king courts by them or else your brethren would still confine it to the corridors of temples and be smug with saving it for your progenies). Now these mostly meat-eating mens’ dedication surpassed most others (Hindu, muslim, christian or whoever it was learning hindustani music) and their names stand beside Ustads more than pundits–, all deservingly except a few conferred in post independence India to please minorities.

    Now that sort of a Mogul-effect to make a Carnatic legend didn’t happen to Dr Rajkumar, another meat eater of the post independent India—now may be reservations was adding to Brahm’s ire and they wanted to keep some areas closed to others. Or maybe he didn’t have the right voice for the genre (like not all your classical singers “classic” make). Or maybe the film music is a genre all in itself, where he succeeded—with definite ups and downs.

    Whatever the “maybes”, my theory is Carnatic (also Hindustani) music folks are not voluntarily willing to experiment and promote on masses apart from the ones that form their cult. Of course they will teach Tensen from the north, Americans from the West and Japanese from the East on their cherished knowledge. Of course they are willing to blend janapadas, vachanas, bhavageethaes into their curriculum. Of course they are willing to teach the blind, the impaired and the despaired. But it’s marketing at its best as they dont teach the same to their dalitha haidaru or won’t promote any other genre. (Thanks to some real estate producers of Kannada movies they act as Yang amongst Yin with their new found film music genre. And of course some iconoclast Brahmins even)

    Jack, I should tell you something, there is no smoke without fire, churumuri was not eating churumuri while publishing this article or raising this motion.

    Sir, my argument starts from the days this carnatic music was revived (from your own words: in Chennai) to this day. I see no wrong in Churumuri’s report at all. Today, in the age of reservations, Brahms are more insecure than ever and their reaction is typically human: protectionists.

    Film Music is the new genre, as we are all seeing it survive, strive and thrive. There you see what is non-Karnatic and Hindustani. For me identification and chronicling matters the most, not analyzing what is best. Market value (monetary) and factors are not my best interest. And you’re right, BN Guru meant what you said, but the difference is I saw Cheri= Dalith and he saw it as Slum! Blame the author’s blood or choice of words?

    I’m surprised that you’re not seeing the trick. It’s hard for me to explain at one go Sir, okay let me try:

    1. Strong Casteism and closed circulation of education (earlier times). Making it believe education was simply for the high brow!
    2. Invasion of Physically stronger men and then forced sharing of knowledge only amongst their men.
    3. Work with the British (esp madras region) while other citizens of the country fight for freedom.
    4. Oppourtunities to go abroad as a part of British employee package and then start a trend out of it. (We know how much an all company paid abroad trip matters to South Indians today—northies migrated there for menial jobs.)
    5. Massive illiteracy during British rule, while a few Brahms enjoyed all luxury either directly or indirectly under Bristish.
    6. Reservations to bring illiterate out of their squalor, while Brahm call it as great injustice and coin a phrase called BrainDrain (so positive!)
    So on, so forth; my finger hurts!

  29. sisya Says:

    Rocket science is no Karnataka music. Not sure however, what “sociological” purpose Karnataka music can serve. After all, Kongas have remained Kongas after all these years of Karnataka music. Perhaps some things will never change.

    What is worrying however, and from a “sociological” perspective, is the Konga-style brahmin-bashing that the Gowda.Boy and ‘B.S’.Nagaraj types seem to be imbibing from our wretched neighbours.

  30. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    This is wonderful.

    There’s one nitwit who spouts his initials, a few other nitwits debating the merits of Carnatic vs Hindustani vs Janapada vs Vachana, and there’s another one saying that one type doesn’t speak to his soul and therefore…..whatever.

    And yet no one seems to get the point of the churumuri piece, which is that deprived kids when given the opportunity and training can create something wonderful in a field that most people think is by and for the elites.

    That is this nitwit’s opinion.

  31. sathya Says:

    Kharaharapriya, accepted. For our generation Mysore brothers meant the Trio Vocal_Veena_Veenacun Musicologist and of course, another brother the painter.

  32. Palahalli Says:

    Gowda.Boy – “Strong Casteism and closed circulation of education (earlier times). Making it believe education was simply for the high brow!”

    – Have you read “The Beautiful Tree”?

  33. Rajesh R Says:


    Sorry to say.. Udaya T.V is again a part of Sun T.V…. so you cannot expect much….

  34. Gowda.Boy Says:


    You’re right about the bashing, but honestly I think I still havent got to the lingusitic side of Carnatic music dominance. On which side, I have nothing to blame kannadigas for. In fact sociologically we are all on the same sinking boat when it comes to music–excepting our film music.

    Kannada Brahmins’ contribution to bring Kannada movies, music, culture and tradition from the clutches of Madras is amazing. And their caste-less contribution with sole intention of promoting our language is what keeps us good and friendly until this day. I have not imbibed anything bad, at least my brahmin teacher in my school didn’t teach me that–she was a good Kannada madhwa Brahmin.

    My concern here is on ONE level
    1.Elitist: Madras’s supremacy doesn’t rub off to Bengaluru, while their teachers rule the roost of Carnatic Music.

    Linguistically i’m free minded.

  35. sparkee Says:

    May Carnatic music try change Halli Handhi’s first…

  36. kharaharapriya Says:

    >>Whatever the “maybes”, my theory is Carnatic (also Hindustani) music folks are not voluntarily willing to experiment and promote on masses apart from the ones that form their cult.

    What’s the basis for this statement? How do you know that carnatic musicians arent experimenting?

    >>Today, in the age of reservations, Brahms are more insecure than ever and their reaction is typically human: protectionists.
    How would a K J Yesudas then get a chance to train under an utmost othodox brahmin like Chembai?
    Let the dalits show interest, I am sure there would be many people ready to train them. Last heard from some music connoisseur that Vidushi M S Vidya has been training students in slums. May be churumuri should set a trend by reporting about such people.

    Its true when jack says that classical music needs rigorous practice and patience. You need to start learning it to really know how difficult it is. There is no other way to prove it :)
    The more you learn, the more you appreciate it. The more you learn the more the urge to learn. Even to make sense of what one is listening it needs some basic exposure. There is a great deal of creativity involved as well because of the Manodharma aspect.

  37. ksquare Says:

    Sandesh, Please check this out. Click on the two links(LINK1 and 2) and watch the vids.

  38. Palahalli Says:

    Why is it that Caste is recognized only by it’s negative spinoff and not by it’s many positives? Ref Gowda.Boy’s last post. I’m sure that good Madhwa Brahmin teacher was not ashamed on being one.

  39. AddingToTheMess Says:

    Classical music has no such framework so as to disallow anyone either to appreciate or learn it. The only aspect which it adheres to, quite religiously is musical quality. Now if you remove that quality thingy you get what is called as popular music!! And you have truckloads of it. In fact 9 out of 10 radio stations play that. Why the whining?
    There are definitely people even in this popular music who bring in that slightest amount of quality and make good music.

    When something is liked only by a few, why should it be dragged to being popular, killing it in the process. Those misplaced communist ideologies!


    Have you noticed you have 2 kinds of readers. Fighting from their points of view. Ah the British, and their influence over us!! And I must say you are providing the right fodder for them to feed on. This is possibly one of the quicker ways to get online traffic!!
    The debates are in a loop, most of the times and finally it just a way to vent their spleen!

    No offense, but you are popular! And the quality seems to have gone out of the window.

  40. kharaharapriya Says:

    You are spot on.

  41. Prank Says:

    U Srinivas is one more example.. I don’t want to insult him by mentioning his caste (I come from the same place and I know his background).

    He became famous by playing in AP’s agraharams – that’s where Tyagaraja Aradhanotsyavas used to be conducted (The same places conduct Suvarta Sabhas now and no more Gana Sabhas :-). I attended one of his very first concerts in East Godavari district in AP long long ago..

    He stayed in a Brahmin lawyer’s home in a Agraharam..

    IMO: Atleast musicians should be kept out of caste politics..

  42. Hosa-Belaku Says:

    To answer Churumuri’s query, judging by the heated debate and the following (which I found while trying to educate myself), it seems unlikely that an Jose Antonio Abreu will emerge in namma nadu in a hurry. There have been some efforts, but apparently they have all been woefully inadequate.

  43. Jack Says:


    You do not know about the music by reading your reply.

    Drupad was not introduced or invented by any muslims/pandits in any moghul/badshah court. Drupad originated from Sama veda. The style of singing gives stress on vedic chants.

    Hidustani music was revived by Ustad Alladiaya Khan known as grand old man of Hindustani music. Ravi Shankar married his daughter Saraswati. She was also guru of Hariprasad chaurasia. And she was muslim.
    The guru of Mallikarjun Mansur was Manji Khan. Guru of Bhimsen guru Sawai Gandhrav was Khan Abdul Karim Khan of Miraj.
    No where the cast/creed/gender/religion played any part. It required rigorous training and patience to succeed and total devotion. I can give many examples and can go on and on.
    Coming to Carnatic music, which I know little of, John Higgins known was as Higgins Bhagavatar was American white. MS was not brahmin but bhahmins flocked her concert world over. Even today orthodox God fearing brahmin’s/non brahmin’s day begins with MS. There is no caste involved.
    By point of bringing Dr.Raj (daraj) was your old comment on daraj songs
    in the earlier blogs. Daraj some songs are good but his latest songs are yuck. You can compare them to PB because it was a different era there music and movies ruled.
    Regarding experimentation in Indian music, have you not heard Shakthi with John Maclaugin, Zakir Hussein, Vikko Vinayagan, shankar etc. Recently Amjad Ali Khan joined hand with Scotish Philharmonic and experimented and had concerts all over the world including B’lore. I can give many examples in fusion music but my typing is veeeery slow and can take days to type.


    I said facts because I thought people blogging here know about the subject they blog. But looking at Gowda.Boy it seems he may be the son of son of soil of Hotel Empire fame.

    Grow up buddy, keep caste/gender/religion outside.

  44. Jack Says:

    I mean son of son of son of soil of Hotel empire fame. I missed one son.

  45. Gowda.Boy Says:


    Question 1: What’s the basis for this statement? How do you know that carnatic musicians arent experimenting?

    Answers: In your own words: “There is no patronage for carnatic music in karnataka. Surely not to the extent that’s present in Madras or for that matter in USA. What else would explain the fact that Shashank, Kadri, Mysore shrikanth and other kannadigas have made Chennai their home? Infact Dr.Srikanthan is more famous in Chennai than in Bangalore.”

    When a STATE like Karnataka didn’t respond to the experiments of Carnatic music, what can I talk about experiments on its CITIZENS—let alone the caste? May be there weren’t enough experiments or it wasn’t effective.

    Question 2: How would a K J Yesudas then get a chance to train under an utmost orthodox brahmin like Chembai?
    Answer: Like I have said Iconoclastic Brahmins—due credit is given.

    Question/Suggestion 3: Let the dalits show interest!
    Answer: Again in your previous tongue in cheek comment: “Its a different matter all together that demand for carnatic music teachers has increased because of the advent of reality show and every parent wants their child to be a star singer. :)”

    We are definitely showing it. Only you got to make your musicians show what wonders they could do.

    @ Adding to the Mess (ATM)
    Thanks for talking about “musical quality”, that was the elusive phrase we have been debating about all the while. And of course how to impart the same seamlessly and castelessly? Welcome!

    @ Kharaharapriya, ATM & Palahalli

    ***Vidushi M S Vidya has been training students in slums. May be churumuri should set a trend by reporting about such people. (Again you talk about slums in contrast to your earlier comment on dedication here in the same breathe, you start to sound like a marketer)

    ***No offense, but you are popular! And the quality seems to have gone out of the window.

    ***Why is it that Caste is recognized only by it’s negative spinoff and not by it’s many positives? (You ask a lot of questions and go home peacefully. You should try hard on your search engine)

    Answer: May be you guys should report or write on it. We (esp. I) will be happy to learn and leave a meaningful comment.

    Messrss, I’m done spilling spleen or what I call cleansing myself. I’ve enjoyed learning at the same breathe as I love moving on!

  46. kharaharapriya Says:

    Did I say there is no patronage in Karnataka because carnatic musicians dont experiment? Please define EXPERIMENT first.

    The so called “Tongue-in-cheek” comment refers to assert a point that carnatic music today is seen just as a refresher course to make it big on TV. How is that related to dalits?


    Before making such loose comments, please read the link presented by Hosa-Belaku.

  47. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Dear All,

    …”Could Carnatic music step out of its stultifying katcheris and perform a similar role for the cheri pasangal?…”

    Konga proles may need this;but our own ‘Mannina Magas/Magalus’ have been enriched by bhaavageethes, janapada songs for many decades. Since we invented ‘Karnatic’ music we also has the smarts to invent other forms of light music and singing for the ‘Magas/Magalus’.

    Also it is best if Kannada and Sanskrit elocution lessons are made compulsory for Konga muscians simply because their ‘konga’ language lacks some basic but sophisticated sounds… So they will actually be seen singing the ‘sahitya’ correctly rather than muddling thru in ‘kongu’…

  48. B.S.Nagaraj Says:

    Before we explore the possibilities of using Carnatic music for larger social good, we will do better to see how the main performers treat the accompanying artistes (pakkavadya kalavidaru — sorry, I don’t know the Tamil phrase for this).

    Instances of shoddy treatment of accompanying artistes by organisers and the main performers at concerts are aplenty. In a recent article in The Hindu, T.M.Krishna wrote: “Many of us main artists do not pay our accompanists well. We expect the organisers to pay us handsomely but care very little about our accompanists. Why? Is it the arrogance that we are the main attraction in the concert? That people buy tickets to hear us, not the accompanists? May be. How right is this? There must be some balance between what we make and what we give the accompanists. We cannot accept Rs. 50,000 and pay our accompanist Rs. 500! This is nothing but exploitation. Even among organisers, there is a very lackadaisical attitude towards accompanists. Even today some organisations pay Rs. 400 to accompanists who accompany a star performer. This is honestly terrible. Sometimes we even make sure we ask a very junior accompanist to accompany us not necessarily because we see the greatness of his/her talent but more because we need not pay them much.

    “… Many times the hotels that are provided for the main performer are of a higher class than that of the accompanists. Cars of a better class are given to the main performer. This is as discriminatory as it can get and we don’t complain. We are as much party to this as anyone else. Therefore, the main performer is all who matters . This has to change. We cannot produce music alone, it is enhanced and embellished tremendously by our accompanists and we need the humility to accept it. ”

    He goes on to say the accompanists too are not always angels themselves, but adds that their unacceptable behaviour probably stems from a feeling of being given short shrift.

    Let Carnatic music clean up its own act first.

  49. rasika Says:

    Musicians belong to ‘musician caste’!
    See here:

  50. Venkatesh Says:

    I don’t quite think it’s a caste thing as much as it is a change in the tastes of the general public. Back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, film songs were all Carnatic based. Giants like MKT, KBS, Papanasam Sivan etc. were much sought after for their ability to reach the masses with their music, which was steeped in tradition, although simplified for easier consumption. Back in the days, Chettiyars, Mudaliars, Pillais were big patrons of Carnatic music and used to host and encourage many budding artistes as well as stalwarts.

    Over the years, through the influence of Rock/Pop and other forms of Western music, this has changed to the point where movies are no longer made without 1 or 2 “Item” numbers. Mastaana-Mastaana is a popular SunTV show – why?

    Is this a bad thing? I don’t necessarily see it that way. It’s different no doubt. Appeals to a majority of the audience (if not, why would they bother filming that in the first place). Just because I personally think that it’s noisy, cheap, tasteless crap, doesn’t mean that it’s bad. I see a lot of people listening to it and feeling happy and elated – although the same can be said of alcohol consumption. Anyway.. I digress.

    The point is that Carnatic music has been introduced (in a very effective manner I must say) to the masses and is not the realm solely of Brahmins. Over the years though, the masses have discarded it and turned their attention to “different” tastes. So let’s stop blaming Brahmins. In fact, the least we can do is be thankful to them that this ancient and exquisite art form is being preserved and nourished by them. If not for them, this art form would have been lost and all we’d be left listening to would be dappAn kutthu – not that there’s anything wrong with that ;-)


    Now regarding this whole Kannada vs. Thamizh thing in the above discussion:

    Before reading further, I encourage you to read:

    Sure, Carnatic music was nourished and nurtured in the Vijayanagara Kingdom, and that’s exactly why it flourished there. However, after the fall of the Mysore Kings, the patronage for Carnatic Music was mainly from the Madras Presidency (present day Tamil Nadu). That continues to be the case today. Musicians (all artists) for that matter, gravitate towards the place that offers them the most patronage (audience, encouragement & of course $$$).

    So this whole thing about Madras artists feeling superior over Bangalore artists is based on a false premise. If the environment was right in Bangalore for a budding Carnatic artist, why then do they all migrate to Chennai?

    So, instead of complaining about Chennai artists, I would encourage my Bangalore friends to establish a solid base for the art in their city, so they can keep their own from moving South. Open new halls, arrange for large-scale music festivals, pay the artists more, increase awareness in the media etc etc – instead of whining about Madras.

  51. B.Nagendra Says:

    Dear Friends, Real music should be beyond the language and caste barriers. It is not the time to list the famous Non BrahmIn Musicians in our country. My mother tongue is Kannada but only because of being grown up in Chennai I can enjoy all kind of music and try and experiment to sing in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, Sanskrit, Bengali and even Marathi abangs, songs Gajal and bajans. All Chennai based carnatic muscians are having ability to sing in any language. So do not draw a small circle around you and criticizing the people beyond the circle. I hope now you can realise why Chennai stood front for music beyond the caste or any language. Maestro Ilayaraja is non brahmin and his student A.R.Rahman is muslim. They have changed the entire music world by sitting one point in Chennai. So again I am request you all do not bring caste and Language in any music. Thanks.

    Nagendra. Chennai

  52. Kathir Krishnamurthi Says:

    When we ask,’Why push something that they do not need’ or ‘Why do we think it will help or liberate them’… English education may help them better..A.R. Rahman has a better program… He identifies the underprivileged kids, lets them choose what they like and funds their journey… If you have watched a documentary on that project.. you will see it is very unique

  53. Kathir Krishnamurthi Says:

    kuththu is wrong kooththu is right.. it is not derogatory.. kooththu is music that has dance plus acting component and it requires more than music skills… It is performed from ancient times in functions… One needs to be versatile to perform kooththu. koothu forms are mentioned in ancient texts like silapathikaaram and still performed in villages

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