Fly easy, fly cheap!
Need a veena teacher?
Rotating the stars
With all the outcry over evening slots for musicians
during the December season -- Mylapore Fine Arts Club
has had four of its regular artistes opting out because of squabbles over prime slots -- the prestigious Music Academy has set in place what they
call a rotation system.
An artiste who sang in the 7.30 pm slot last year has
to shift to the morning slot this year, while those
who were in the early evening position in 1999 will
move to the late evening, and so on.
They say they have no option but to go in for such a
system with the number of artistes steadily burgeoning.
Some big artistes who refused to comply have simply been
dropped this year.
Well, what these artistes are asking is,
how come there are some who are never disturbed year after year?
The answer seems to be that all artistes are equal but
some are more equal than others!
Sibling revelry and rivalry
With all the dazzling sibling duos occupying the Karnatak
music stage today, one would think it's a family business running on the smoothest of wheels.
Not so, aver one of the senior-most among such pairs
who have been together for nearly 40 years now.
They say that among today's deadly brother-brother or
sister-sister combos, there exists an underlying
rivalry, which can be noticed on stage by a keen eye.
Most often, one among the two, either because of more
talent, better presentation or sheer strength of
personality, will dominate the kutcheri. This is
seen in the singing or playing of alapana,
neraval, swaras, etc.
Why does the subordinate partner not object? It is
because he or she wants to keep the act going at all
As for the said pair, they say that between them they
take immense care to see that no heartburn arises. For
instance, if one sings the raga for the pallavi in
this year's Music Academy concert, the other would
have sung the main raga in last year's concert. Each
sings according to personal strength. Since one prefers the weightier ragas and the other the more "glamorous ones", it is a good symphony
Missing the drone acharyas
Musicians no longer carry to concerts the unwieldy tambura, difficult to accommodate on flights or even trains. A tambura player is becoming a rare sight even in local concerts and has been replaced by the ubiquitous electronic sruthi box.
Musicians going abroad, one hears, carry anything upto 10 sruthi boxes and sell them there to Indian and non-Indian music students. The boxes, which cost Rs
2,000 in the retail market, are sold in the US for 100 dollars, and the profit is split between the retailer and the musician.
There is already a substantial margin for the retailer in these "sruthi pottis", as they are obtained from the manufacturer at wholesale prices. One also hears that retailers often ask customers to go in for cheaper imitations, which copy the original circuits but make some minor alterations to escape patent laws.
The most popular manufacturer of these sruthi boxes, based in Bangalore, is a registered small scale unit conforming to regulations of the government, while an imitator from Mumbai is reportedly violating norms merrily.
Naturally then, when the Bangalore maker opened his own showroom in Chennai last Sunday, not many retailers or musicians were seen singing to his
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