Thursday, June 08, 2006

Music world

As Chennai-bashers keep saying, the city has only three seasons, ‘hot, hotter and hottest”. Unfortunately, this criticism is well-founded. The weather here can get oppressive. Why, meteorological records show that, on certain days, even the minimum temperature has been so high and actually exceeded the maximum temperature by a few degrees..

So, to cool down my nerves, I attended a concert last week by Bombay Jayashree at the Music Academy. What stage presence! What a lovely saree she was wearing ! What a mellifluous voice ! It is said that one when listens to soulful music, the brain produces more gamma waves that help in cooling down the body. The exact medical explanation is not clear, but the aesthetic appeal of the sari and the therapeutic effect of the gamma waves made the musical evening a truly ‘sari gamma’ experience.

Bombay Jayashree was accompanied on the violin by G.J.R. Krishnan , the son of the eminent Lalgudi Jayaraman, who has spent six decades in perfecting the violin. In this respect, he is completely different from Mohandas Gandhi, who, if you recall was a sworn non-violinist.

Carnatic Music and Hindustani Music are alike in all respects, except that the percussionist in Hindustani Music uses a desktop device called the tabla while his counterpart in Carnatic Music prefers the laptop version called the mridangam. Some experts have also told me that Hindustani singers use a different pitch, while Carnatic singers stick to the regular 22-yard one. Also, Carnatic musicians like to arm themselves with titles like “ Kalaimamani Sangeetha Kalanidhi” to impress the audience, while Hindustani musicians use shorter honorifics like Ustad and Pandit, depending on whether he is a Muslim or Hindu. Sandalwood smuggler Veerappan was an exponent of Hindustani Music. Sorry, sorry, he was a Bandit, not a Pandit. .

I remember a concert I attended in the ‘70s. Pandit Ravishankar with his sitar, accompanied by an Irish guitarist known as Ritchie Blackmore. The duo became so popular, that a movie was made, with them as heroes. It was called “Sitar Aur Guitar” and also featured Hema Malini as the heroine who was torn between her love for Indian classical music and western rock music and finally ditches both to marry Dharmendra. Incidentally this mix of Indian and western music was called“ Fusion’ music. This is not the same as some of these modern ensembles involving a cacophony of sounds. Which is not fusion music but ‘confusion’ music.

Film music is, of course, a completely different genre. Composers like Naushad, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, R.D.Burman dominated the scene in the ’70 s and ‘80s. Though, if he were alive today, R.D.Burman would be referred to as R.D.Myanmaran. More on film music in my next post. Stay tuned.


Shruthi said...

RD Myanmaran!!!! :))))))
I'm laughing so much my colleagues are giving me strange looks :)) Ha ha ha aha!!!

Casement said...

sari-gamma experience!!:))

Raj said...

Shruthi, thanks. 4 exclamation marks and 6 smiley curves - huge compliment.

Casement : A contrived pun, but glad you liked it.

Anu said...

hehheehe! are the madrasas now called chennaias?

Raj said...

Anu, yes. Not to mention that mad rascals are now called chen naiscals.

Usha said...