Some additions and thoughts

Added a bunch of recordings of K V Narayanaswamy. I have added a heading to indicate the location of the new additions.

I have been spending a good amount of time digitizing some of my tapes and also organizing/cleaning/consolidating my recordings with the intent of adding them to this blog. Since I am able to do this only over the weekends, it has been a slow process but I am listening to a lot of music however of the artist for long periods of time (days and weeks)!!

As a result some rambling of sorts – please bear with me or ignore the rest of the post.

Though it is common knowledge and perhaps in the sub-concious of most music lovers, musicians have a set of compositions and ragams that they pick from in their concerts; in listening and digitizing my recordings, it was striking to see this pattern so clearly and also that this set changes over time. I wouldn’t call it cyclical but more like new ones replacing some, but some staying put. It is clear that they are ensuring that they render the items that they have polished over years and are favorites of the listeners. One cannot ignore the fact that as humans we gravitate towards and favor the known and beaten path and rarely deviate much. And that reflects in our listening habits for sure – definitely for me.

I have read and heard people complaining about musicians visiting the USA, that they tend to sing the same set of compositions as they perform in various cities. From the musicians perspective they are looking to making each concert and the visit a success plus catering the requests from the audience at each venue – so they have every reason to work with what they believe is the collection that they excel at.

In this regard, let us look at how they western classical orchestras perform when they on a tour. For starters they don’t pack their scehdule with 25 concerts in a 2 month period, but work with no more than 2 concerts per week and that too spread it over the week rather than just the weekend. And almost always the program is exactly the same in all the venues – may be some smaller items would be rotated, but the major pieces are all the same. Do people complain? No. The simple reason being that everyone involved wants the best of the performing and listening experience. Also the fact that the audience is difference in every venue and people are not poring over the reviews and complaining that ‘hey they performed the exact thing here – why the same there too?’.

Going back to the point about people favoring the known, acceptance of new ideas, new ragas, new styles etc have all faced the same resistance – now people go gaga over the likes of Balamurali Krishna, M D Ramanathan, S Balachandar, M S Gopalakrishnan etc, it took a long time for them to be considered the norm – i may be ruffling feathers here, but that is my view. Kunnakudi by all means with fantastic virtuosity even today remains an outsider to so that called the core CM music lover, which is a sad state of affairs; has anyone thought about how he was able to connect with audience (large ones too) and get a much wider group of people to enjoy the exclusive CM music.

So, I do get ticked of when I read reviews by people whining about musicians repeating items, being different from their gurus, not being a copycat of their gurus (parents in some cases) etc.

End of rambling for now 🙂


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