Thursday, June 12, 2008

A musically charged environment

A musically charged environment is one of the main sources of inspiration for many musicians who has made it big. A classic example is that of GNB, who was and still continues to be my no 1 favorite. I have read in several places about how GNB grew up in such a musically charged environment. His house in Triplicane was a hub for musical activity. His father was a big connoisseur and a number of musicians like Tiger, Madurai Subramaniya Iyer and a host of others congregated visited his house and held musical durbars. GNB himself is said to have defined creativity as just a fusion of things he has heard in the past coming out in a new form. His example would be how he could combine a Tiger sangathi with that of Sabesa Iyer's and the phrase would seem completely new and revolutionary when heard in a concert. Of course GNB himself would have known how he had conceived that phrase but to the listener this was innovation!

Coming back to a musically charged environment, it can take different forms. Frequent get togethers of musicians and exposure to this is one such as in the case of GNB. Growing up with everyone in the family being musicians as in the case of the Dhanammal family is another. Look at the exposure Brinda, Muktha, Viswa and Ranga got in their formative years. Music all day long. Visitors thronging every weekend to hear grandmother play. A brilliant dancer in Bala who had some terrific singing from Jayammal. What more can you ask for?

Another type of a musically charged environment is the 'Rasika household.' Typically this has a family of crazy music fans. The radio/tape recorder would have been continuously playing music. People in the house discuss their favorite artistes all the time. a few in the family have learnt a lot of music but no performers here. Some families have a few musicians as personal friends. These musicians add value to the ambience with their own brand of music, talk and stories. The family typically is a regular attender of concerts at a local sabha or temple and children grow up being exposed to a lot of music.

The last is the kind of family I grew up in. But at the same time I did get to experience a lot of the other types as well. More soon.