Saturday, December 28, 2013

Big Crew Change and the Carnatic Music World

I work for the Oil and Gas customers and observed that their universal pain area is “Big Crew Change”. What is Big Crew Change all about? In simple words, it is nothing but a wave of retirements that is bound to happen over the next few years in the Oil and Gas industry. The industry is trying several ways and means to retain the talent base of the retiring workforce and also planning to recruit and train the young force in large scale. I could find an analogy of the big crew change phenomena in the carnatic music world, by observing the carnatic music concerts for the last few decades. Here the rasikas are analogous to the retiring workforce of the industry.

Of late, many youngsters have shown great passion towards carnatic music and really worked hard to give their best. Many of them come and perform on stage with great confidence. It shows a good positive trend. But how about the evolving trends of the rasikas? Are we able to spot out any teenager among the audience of the academies and sabhas.  Though the concerts of the popular singers and artists go houseful, if you see the profile of the audience, the average age of the rasikas of carnatic music concerts would be closer to fifty or sixty. It looks like that the same old rasikas keep attending all the concerts for the past few decades.

What will happen tomorrow, if the scarf clad mamas and mamis with the walking sticks refrain attending the concerts? The picture looks gloomy. The mamas and mamis are so passionate about music, that they talk music, walk music and eat music. In that process, the Gen Y lost complete interest in fine arts, unless they want to perform. If at all, the next generation shows interest in music, they want to be performers on the stage rather than a rasika among the audience.

The popular artists and sabhas may be happy with house-full concerts, but they need to remember that big crew change would be an imminent threat. Day is not far off, to look for the audience in each concert hall. The artists need to be mentally prepared for the wave of the retiring rasikas. They shall not only teach the Gen Y, but also find ways and means to create a new set of rasikas.  Sabhas need to organize more workshops on “Appreciating carnatic music”, facilitate more “raga identifying discussions” and conduct more quiz programs. Mama and mamis shall encourage their sons and daughters and grandchildren to attend such events, rather they participate in such events.  Again the whole purpose of the initiatives shall be not to produce more artists on stage, but to nurture more rasikas for the floor.

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