Indian classical music generally has a limited audience. Pune’s popular vocalist Suhas Vyas feels that it is because classical music is for a certain class of people.
Asked why the genre is mostly restricted to the elite audience, Vyas told IANS in an email interview: “As it is called, it is classical music. Therefore, it is for a certain class of people. Surprisingly, our music has been received with extreme love abroad.”
“In India too, the audience is opening up and the newer generation is learning and taking the art to their generation too.” He is doing his bit to promote Indian classical music by training students, conducting lectures and performing in India as well as abroad.
Earlier this month, he experienced “nothing short of extraordinary” when he performed in China. “The show was in Xiamen, China for the BRICS Summit cultural conference. To represent our nation and culture on foreign soil was a great experience. The auditorium was packed to its complete strength and we received standing ovation,” he said.
What about language barrier? “As they say art has no language, it is all about emotions. The entire audience connected with the music. I performed a very rare composition by S.N Ratanjankar (scholar and teacher of Hindustani classical music).
“One delegate came backstage after the concert. As we both didn’t understand each other’s language, he kept on pointing at his heart and then mine. I got the message.” There is another reason why, he feels, the audience connected with his music at the event where artistes from other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) also performed.
“Among all other performances, which were more opera style, ours was the only one which had a seating arrangement and percussion so, it fascinated the audience and was very well received,” said the artiste, whose music is about peace and spirituality.
People often use music as a means to promote peace, but when things go politically wrong, it’s the artistes who first get affected. Why? “Artistes are usually the first ones to take the brunt because the reaction from artistes are the least damaging politically and gives maximum political mileage to parochial political parties and pressure groups during conflicts.”During peace time too, due to the public connect of artistes, it is the thing that gives most political mileage.”