Saturday, July 4, 2009


Lately I am thinking of blogging about assets. When I was in school, I used to hear a lot about stage artists especially when it is youth festival of schools. The rates they charge, for me was very high. Same stories about troups which comes for festivals. So it was natural to believe that people who are masters in their field, whether it is in singing or instrumental are well paid. I used to imagine them living in big bungalows, travelling in Contessa (that was the best I knew at that time: BMW was far from dream even). Later when I was doing my engineering or so, I read a news about Padmashree K J Yesudas.
Malayalis call him as "gaana gandharvan" or angel of songs. The news was, he demanded royalty for songs he sings. I was wondering, someone who is earning this much, is still after money than music.
When I joined IIT, I was thinking to understand this music and art culture of madras, the land who nurtured and made most of the legends in Carnatic music. To start with, I have attended a concert by Shrimati Bombay Jayashree and T N Krishna. The ticket costed me 200 Rs and hall was full. Another one attended was a stage show "heart beats" by Shankar Mahadevan, Usthad, U Sreenivas, Shivamani and Selva Ganesh. The show was awsome.
I am not an expert in Carnatic music, I just appreciate it, when I understand its rhythm. I used to hear instrumental music by Padmashree Kunnukudi. I just like the way he do the improvisations in violin. At this time, I happened to get acquaintance with Nadabrahman Shree V V Subramaniyam. I had heard of him because he did a concert in Saarang , IIT Cultural fest. But did not know how much talented he is. When I visited his house, it was not some kind of "showcase". It was simple. When I saw the way he use violin, I was dazzled. Here is another master, who live in violin.
Now as a reader, you might think, "what the heck? Where is it going?". Yep I am going after the money these people make. Apart from the top people like Usthad, others are simple. Just live as an ordinary person. Even in this internet age, hardly 3-4 web sites talks about these people. A natural question came to me. How much IIT paid for the programs in Saarang?. I do not know. But without going in to that, let us ask a few questions. "Any idea about the rate of band Opeth to play in a stage?" To compare it, just check saarang ticket rate "Rs 1000" per person whereas violin concert by Shrimati Kanyakumari A accompanied with 50 people, was ".............." ... you know f** "free".

Though I did not follow up these things, I happened to hear a few more stories. One was an incident in Kerala where Shree Harigovindan Njeralathuwas in news for trying to auction the Idaykka (a percussion instrument) of late Shree Njeralathu Raama Pothuvaal. His intention was genuine, to put an effort to make such instruments, and to promote an extincting musical form "sopana sangeetham".
Things of Michael Jackson, even his undergarments can be auctioned, and the people who bids for it will contain a few Indians at least. Unlike Michael Jackson who changed his color and was arrested for "playing" with kids; people who lived in music are in struggle.
We should appreciate efforts of people in premium institutions of India such as IIT to help Opeth to get a few $$$s and respect artists like Shree Kunnnukudi with a Padmashree and not even enquiring about how they live.
(Please note that "images are not mine, I just linked it for a flow)