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.

1 comment:

Sampath Sowrirajan said...

Very good point raised. My appreciations for that.
1 Whether we like it or not, “music runs in families”.
Many children of artists become artists too. Nowadays with better sponsorship, volume and consequently income, many juniors choose carnatic music as career. This is an improvement over earlier situation where musical career was not thought to be rewarding enough and thence even protégés of artist stryed to other fields for sustenance.
In the case of rasikas the thread is being broken. Because of too many other attractions. The oldie rasikas do not listen to much music openly at home (so that it falls on junior ears). The oldies also see TV and other things most of the time. They do not take children to concerts too.
Outside December season, many of them do not attend much concerts at all.
2 Carnatic music is enough to retain good rasikas once they get the taste of it. It takes some time. So frequent exposure is a must. There must be concerts at school (one hour is enough, but not as part annual day or such things which might dilute the effort)
Senior artistis and famous personalities should attend sabha and school concerts and spread sweetness in terms of appreciation and encouragement. Their presence will enhance the seriousness of youngsters in paying attention.
3 Extensive contests at schools should be organized to encourage participation and enhance appreciation.

Sampath Sowrirajan


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