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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

G Pramod Kumar

The author is a former journalist and UNDP Senior Adviser in Asia Pacificl who is presently a writer based out of Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.

Silenced by pandemic, going digital is only way for Carnatic music… but that’s no easy raga
Mon, Jun 29, 2020

What the Covid-19 pandemic has thoroughly exposed is Carnatic music’s existential vulnerability arising out of a limited socio-cultural infrastructure that sustains it. The moment this infrastructure, which unfortunately seems to harbour a strange resolve not to scale up beyond its extremely limited universe, faces some vulnerability, both the art and the artistes take a massive hit.

Why selective testing and lockdown are more suitable for India than WHO’s ‘test, test, test’ doctrine
Tue, Mar 31, 2020

Given India’s resources, the current testing policy and lockdown to cut down transmission seems to be appropriate. On paper, it must flatten the curve, reduce the epidemic momentum and even almost stop it from becoming a generalised epidemic.

Chennai Margazhi Season 2019-20: Here are the highlights and lowlights
Sat, Jan 25, 2020

What’s mind-boggling about the Margazhi season is the number of musicians that Chennai, or rather a community with a certain socio-cultural ethos, churn out. Despite an extremely low probability of making it big, youngsters seemed to be heavily invested in it and more and more are making debuts every year.

Ramakrishnan Murthy Interview: ‘Hitting the perfect note, even for a fraction of second, is worth entire struggle’
Sun, Jan 12, 2020

Known for his absolute adherence to classical values and purity of music, Ramakrishnan Murthy is one of the top Carnatic vocalists today who is treated almost on par with his much celebrated seniors.

The Sandeep Narayan Interview: ‘I want my concert to be as genuine and as real as possible’
Sat, Jan 04, 2020

Carnatic classical vocalist Sandeep Narayan believes in contemporary values even while practising what’s considered a conservative art. Curious to know who was the star-musician who trained him and shaped his perspectives in art and life? Read this engaging conversation.

Abhishek Raghuram interview: ‘There’s no right and wrong in art. For me, it’s about self-expression’
Tue, Dec 24, 2019

Abhishek Raghuram is one of the few Carnatic musicians who draw large audiences both in Chennai and other cities of India. Despite his strong classicism, he is not a conventional traditionalist and hence doesn’t mind associating himself with other musicians, artists and genres.

Audiences come to enjoy music, not to see your mathematical wizardry: Neyveli Venkatesh
Sat, Dec 14, 2019

From a nondescript industrial township where he was once pushing the wheelbarrow, Venkatesh has travelled the world with his percussion instruments, performed with leading Indian and international musicians. Excerpts from his interview.

Akkarai Sisters: ‘Carnatic music is a spontaneous art, not something that can be rehearsed to perfection’
Fri, Dec 06, 2019

When Swamynathan saw that his daughters had an instinctive interest in music as small kids, he was elated. He told himself that what happened to him wouldn’t happen to them.

Sharad Pawar and Bhupinder Hooda should inspire Congress, also lead it beyond the dynasty
Fri, Oct 25, 2019

These election results must be a late wake-up call for the Congress that seemed to have given up without a fight after its decimation in the recent Parliament elections.

Why Tamil Nadu will again offer maximum pushback to Hindi
Tue, Sep 17, 2019

In a culturally autonomous Tamil Nadu, Hindi and Sanskrit are not some languages, but inter-changeable metaphors of north Indian domination and that’s precisely why it instantly unites people across party-lines, including those who ally with the BJP from time to time.

Kerala floods: Why people are showing signs of ‘donor fatigue’ and why it’s time for government to introspect
Wed, Aug 14, 2019

Following the last floods, when people contributed all they have, has Kerala government conserved its own resources, which are obviously paid for by the people as taxes, and spent them wisely?

What the CPM can learn from the Congress’s spectacular victory in Kerala
Thu, May 23, 2019

Only once in Kerala’s political history has the Congress and its allies have done better - in the post-emergency elections in 1977 when it won all the 20 seats.

Away from Chennai’s margazhi season, Carnatic music finds a welcome home in Kerala’s temples
Sun, May 19, 2019

If on a winter’s night, a raga: Even before the sound of the procession recedes, Subrahmanyan begins to sing a varnam, the customary introductory piece in a Carnatic concert.

Why lone rangers Kamal Haasan and Dhinakaran are the side story in Tamil Nadu
Fri, Mar 01, 2019

While the main story is about alliances and how their synergies amplify chances of electoral success, there’s a side story too: It’s about two emerging and charismatic leaders being stranded. This story is about Kamal Haasan and TTV Dhinakaran. Both of them will be contesting alone.

Kumbalangi Nights movie review: A new breakthrough in Malayalam cinema
Sat, Feb 09, 2019

Kumbalangi Nights movie review: The movie is primarily about three young men and their school-going brother living a pathetic life in an incomplete hut in a small island near Kumbalangi on the Western coast of the state, which otherwise looks breathtaking.

Sarvam Thaala Mayam: This Rajiv Menon-AR Rahman musical plays up politics of Carnatic music
Sat, Feb 02, 2019

Here, Rajiv Menon is dealing with an extremely tricky subject, but has pulled it off remarkably well. Sarvam Thaala Mayam also looks like a dedication to the limitless forms of percussion in India and a vivid expression of unity in diversity.

Why Rahul Gandhi was right in his criticism of Kerala’s health sector
Thu, Jan 31, 2019

There are multiple studies that show a very high share of household income -- particularly among the poor -- going to medical expenditure, which also leads to catastrophic expenses.

After Kaala, Rajinikanth’s Petta too has a political message that was hard to miss
Wed, Jan 23, 2019

Beneath the entertaining surface, Petta’s storyline too is intensely political and here too, besides their villainy, the antagonists embody majoritarian politics.

Mahagatbandhan easier at macro level than on ground; here’s why
Mon, Jan 21, 2019

Political observers are justifiably cynical, because once again the uniting common minimum programme is a menacing rival who they find as a threat to Indian democracy and constitution. 

The Magic of Margazhi: Five musicians on their experiences this year
Mon, Jan 07, 2019

For music lovers and musicians, Margazhi in Chennai is magical. It features about 2000 classical concerts by all types of singers, instrumentalists and percussionists - ranging from veterans to young aspirants.

The Kunnakkudi M. Balamurali Krishna Interview: ‘Most of my music happens in my mind’
Wed, Jan 02, 2019

In the third edition of the Indian Express Margazhi special, we feature Chennai-based carnatic musician Kunnakkudi M. Balamurali Krishna

The Brindha Manickavasakan Interview: ‘Involved singing is an uplifting magical experience’
Wed, Dec 19, 2018

In the third edition of The Indian Express Margazhi special, we feature Chennai-based carnatic musician Brindha Manickavasakan.

The Saketharaman interview: ‘Bhava is very important in music. My ultimate goal is spiritual’
Thu, Dec 13, 2018

Known for his virtuosity and classicism, Saketharaman is an innovator who finds immense possibilities within the grammar and framework of Carnatic music.

The Sanjay Subrahmanyan interview: ‘When I am on the stage I am on a high. It’s worse than any other form of addiction’
Sat, Dec 08, 2018

Sanjay as a music icon is not an overnight sensation, but a rare gem that emerged through more than three decades of relentless pursuit of classical music. By his own admission, he is a purist, but he is also an innovator and unsung reformer par excellence.

Will Sabarimala rewrite the Kerala secular story?
Fri, Oct 19, 2018

The BJP’s only chance for any upward mobility from its present stagnation in Kerala is by gaining the support of more Hindu votes and the Sabarimala agitation offers a tailor-made opportunity to whip up communal passion.

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