Vainika K. G. Vijayakrishnan’s determination to get the younger generation interested in Veena Dhanammal’s soulful music resulted in a documentary on the legend. The documentary, conceptualised by Vijayakrishnan and directed by Avinash Prakash, was recently launched at the Music Academy. […]
Vijayakrishnan’s father had all seventeen of Dhanammal’s 78 rpm records. He recorded them in his Grundig spool recorder. Except for the Kapi javali ‘Sarasamulade’ by Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar, Vijayakrishnan has digitised all the others. He presented the entire set of recordings to the Music Academy. […]
N. Murali, President of the Music Academy, said that Dhanammal was a mystical genius, who played for herself, and not for an audience. HMV, which cut all Dhanammal’s discs had difficulty marketing them, because only a few had the knowledge needed to understand the nuances of her music. […]
K.G. Vijayakrishnan has performed in leading sabhas in Chennai and in Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and the U.S. He is the author of The Grammar of Carnatic Music published by De Gruyter Mouton, Germany.
Aparna Karthikeyan, The Hindu, April 11, 2015 | To read the full story and view more photographs, click here >>
It takes many days to make a block of wood sing. And it takes exceptionally talented craftsmen to do it. The four families who still make the nadaswaram by hand in Narasingapettai (a village near Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu) are so skilled that they almost make it look simple. […]
Selvaraj tells me about his village’s long association with the wind instrument, without which no Tamilian wedding or temple procession is ever complete.
“Nadaswaram is a ‘mangala vaadhiyam’ (auspicious instrument). It originated in this area, in a village near Mayavaram. My great-grandfather, Govindasamy Achari, went there and learnt the craft. “ […]
Traditionally, nadaswarams are made with aacha maram (Hardwickia binate, Indian Blackwood). “But you can’t use fresh wood; it has to be at least 75-100 years old. Young wood will bend and bow. All this wood was once lintels and pillars of old houses.” He points to the pile in his backyard. “But we face trouble transporting the wood. We’re stopped at check-posts and asked for a bill; but which seller will give me a bill for old wood?” Even worse, they’re accused of smuggling sandalwood.
Their worries don’t end with procuring the wood. “You need three persons to make each piece. After deducting all the costs — wood, labour — we are left with Rs.1000-1500 per nadaswaram,” rues Selvaraj. […]
But every morning, they wake up with worries: will they find some acha maram, will their sons sit down and learn from them, will the government recognise their contribution to music…
This article is part of the series ‘Vanishing Livelihoods of Rural Tamil Nadu’ and is supported under NFI National Media Award 2015.
S.Rajam is a multifaceted genius with creative talents in a variety of fields such as music, musicology, classical painting and acting. In the field of music, S. Rajam is an unparalleled authority on Vivadi ragas and has done much to popularize Koteeswara Iyer’s kritis. He has the distinction of being the only musician to have recorded all the 72 compositions of Kanda Ganamutham, most of the kritis being accompanied by Raga, Niraval and Kalpana swaras. He was also well known for keeping the Classical Indian Painting style contemporary. He has immensely contributed to enrich our cultural heritage for over six decades.
Launch and screening of the movie: 11th November 2012 at Tatvaloka, Eldams Road, Chennai (2.00 PM)
Madras is one of the most musical cities in the world, where thousands of concerts of South Indian classical music every year. Most Madras musicians begin their training in the nurturing environment of the home. In this series, several top musicians are seen in family settings as they teach their children and students, discuss their views of Karnatak music and its spiritual dimensions, and demonstrate elements of this unique devotional classical tradition.
Volume 1: T.N. Krishnan (violinist)
VOLUME I follows a day in the life of world-famous violinist T.N. Krishnan, beginning in the private space of his home where he teaches his two remarkable children, Viji, age 14, and Sriram, age 8, both now acclaimed violinists. He then delivers an elegant and charming demonstration of Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi, and guides us through his photo album. After interviews with Viji and Sriram, we enter public space to take a drive through the sights of Madras with TNK’s narration. We then arrive at Shastri Hall, where he performs a public concert, with his daughter Viji and the century’s greatest mrdangam drummer, the legendary Palghat Mani Iyer (1915-1981).
Volume IV: South Indian Classical Music House Concert with M. D. RAMANATHAN (vocalist), T.N. Krishnan (violin) and Umayalpuram Sivaraman (mridangam)
Manjapara Devesa Ramanathan (1923-1984), the disciple of “Tiger” Varadachariar, was a gifted vocalist and composer remembered for his uniquely creative, sensitive, and unpredictable style. “MDR” was awarded the Padma Sri by the Government of India in 1974 and the Sangit Natak Akademi Award in 1975.
VOLUME IVManjapara Devesa Ramanathan appears in rare video footage recorded by Fredric Lieberman and Amy Catlin in 1977. He presents with consummate artistry a one-hour concert of carefully selected gems covering a wide range of materials in Telugu and Sanskrit by the greatest classical Karnatak composers.Completing the trio are the esteemed accompanists Padma Bhushan T. N. Krishnan, violin, and Padma Sri Umayalpuram Sivaraman, mridangam.
Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy’s research, writing, teaching, curatorial activities, and multi-media publications often have an applied focus, aimed at community development of minority traditions, especially in diasporic settings. She served as curator and presented the first concert and lecture tour outside India with a group of African-Indian Sidi performers from Gujarat, in September 2002, traveling with them in England and Wales. Her recent publications include Sidi Sufis: African Indian Mystics of Gujarat(Aspara Media 2002: 79-minute CD), the volume co-edited with Indian Ocean historian Edward Alpers, Sidis and Scholars: Essays on African Indians (New Delhi: Rainbow Publications and New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2003) and the DVD, The Sidi Malunga Project (2004). Funding for her research has come from such agencies as NEA, NEH, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the American Philosophical Society, Fulbright, the Indo-US Subcommission, and the American Institute of Indian Studies.
Her most recent publication is the DVD, Music for a Goddess, a continuing applied ethnomusicology project concerning Dalit (formerly known as Untouchable) Devidasis (women musicians dedicated to the Goddess) of the Deccan (India’s central plateau, where the most severe rural poverty reigns in many regions).