Sunday, August 26, 2012

An artist's inspiration - Do we need to know?

In the book "Death in Venice" Thomas Mann has this to say

" it is well for the world that it sees only the beauty of the completed work and not its origins nor the conditions whence it sprang; since knowledge of the artist's inspiration might often but confuse and alarm and so prevent the full effect of its excellence"

So many times there is a need to know the source or origin of a work of art. In Carnatic music, the lineage usually explains this to a large extent. The choice of songs, ragams, sangatis, paataantharams etc show this clearly. The problems crop up when this is not very visible. An artiste does seek multiple sources of inspiration. Sometimes the final output  is a combination of so many different things that it is virtually impossible to trace any source of inspiration directly. The "knowledgeable" cannot hold it any longer and has to immediately find out where this came from.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Margazhi Tamil Isai 2011 - Available for download

A new album "Margazhi Tamil Isai 2011" has been uploaded on

The details of the album are

Sanjay Subrahmanyan - Vocal
Nagai R Sriram - Violin
Trivandrum Balaji - Mrudangam

List of songs

1. Undran paada (Varnam) - Sankarabharanam - K ata - Madurai Subramania Iyer
2. Yaar poi solluvaar - Todi - M chapu - Ghanam Krishnayyar
3. Ongi ulagalantha - Arabhi - Adi - Andal Tiruppaavai
4. Sivakamasundari - Mukhari - Adi - Papanasam Sivan
5. Yedayya gati - Chalanata - Adi - Koteeswara Iyer
6. RTP - Gopikatilakam - K Triputa
7. Mannupugazh kosalai - Ragamalika - Rupakam - Kulasekara Azhwar
8. Appan avadaritta - Karaharapriya - Adi - Papanasam Sivan
9. Dikku teriyaatha kaattil - Ragamalika - Adi - Subramanya Bharati

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Interesting take on criticism

Here is an interesting take on criticism by the writer Bernard Malamud in an interview given to the Paris Review in 1975.

" I dislike particularly those critics who preach their aesthetic or ideological doctrines at you. What’s important to them is not what the writer has done but how it fits, or doesn’t fit, the thesis they want to develop."

This can also be seen in Carnatic music where the "knowledgeable" are always keen to try and impose their value systems on the musician. Sometimes the reaction to the music is so determined by the already existing assumption that has been made on how or what should be performed. Every generation of artists keep throwing up the odd rebel who shatter these existing notions and make the "knowledgeable" redefine their expectations. Then the new generation of artistes will suffer from not conforming to this recently formed set of values and so it goes on and on.