Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Composers, composers.......

To the vast hordes of non-learners of Carnatic music, and sadly, even to some learners, "composers" as a term generally refers to the musical Trinity, and a select few others. To be frank, that was the case with me as well till about two years ago, when I began exploring lesser known composers. And stumbled upon a mine!
It took me another year to realise that these were not really lesser known composers, it was just a question of my own ignorance. A humbling, educational experience!
Among the composers I "discovered" were Subbaraya Sastri and Annaswamy Sastri, both descendants of Sri. Shyama Sastry, eldest of the musical trinity. In particular, the compositions of Subbaraya Sastri interested me, and though I did not learn many, I collected a number of his works from books on the subject, chiefly from Smt. Vidya Shankar's book on his compositions.
Anyway, getting back to where I began, I can perhaps answer my own statemnt-question: the very fact that the Trinity continue till date to hold their sway over all other composers of calibre explains why they do!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hmm. I wonder why.

I have a question for people. No, several, actually. One, is Lakshana important or is Lakshya important when you consider Carnatic music? Or, to put it this way, which is more important??

And the second: Why is it that there are always fewer female Carnatic singers than males? Now, I know you're going to point Aruna Sairam , or MS and say "Hah!", but then Ill have TNS, and TMK and Sanjay and .... well, you get the point. Also,why is it that 99% of composers are men, as well, not to mention the Trinity. Let's get something clear here, it isnt that Im complaining. Anyone, anyone who loves music will love the Trinity, and Im part of that list. But then, where are all the women?

To elaborate, a large number of girls, probably more than boys, start out learning music. Every third girl child here in Chennai attends paattu class. What happens somewhere along the way? Is it just that they lose focus, or that they face opposition at home to performing, or just that they outgrow the childish earnestness to learn and to sing?