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The arrival of young brigades
CHENNAI, December 24: They are sincere, passionate and clear. They are the new stars on the horizon. They represent a welcome change. As a set of six young Carnatic vocalists open up their minds during a chat-session on the morning of December 12, 2011 with Deccan Chronicle at the Rasam Restaurant in T. Nagar, held under the auspices of Sri Krishna Sweets, the changing facet of the Carnatic music world comes to fore in an expressive way. The Generation Young has truly arrived. They are set to redefine the contours of Carnatic music in a new world, which is coming under assorted socio-economic stress and where `classicism' is increasingly compromised. They are sure to ring in the new even while carrying forward the old to greater heights.

Amrutha Murali, Sriranjani Santanagopalan, Vidya Kalyanaraman, Bharat Sundar, Rithvik Raja and Ramakrishnan Murthy have many things in common. They are all young vocalists. Carnatic music is not a chance happening to them. Given their educational background, they could easily look for money-spinning opportunity. Despite assorted diversionary attractions, they want to delve deep into Carnatic music. Rithvik, a commerce degree holder from Vivekananda College and a disciple of T.M. Krishna, enjoys music more than any other job. Ask Amrutha, who had done masters in Financial Management. One gets the same answer. A student of P.S .Narayanswamy, Amrutha plays violin, too. Even as he is doing his CA (Chartered Accountant) course, Bharat Sundar, again a student of P.S . Narayanswamy, asserts he derives enormous satisfaction from music. For Commerce degree-holder Sriranjani, the daughter-disciple of Neyveli Santhanagopalan, and M.Phil student Vidya, a disciple of Padma Sandilyan and Suguna Varadhachari, music is above everything else. A B.E. student Ramakrishnan Murthy, learning music under Delhi P. Sunder Rajan, has come to Chennai for the sake of music. ``We are all into it for the love of it. Our passion is the driving force for us to take up Carnatic music as a profession,’’ they cut you short in one voice. How much has college education helped them in their musical quest? They all agree that college experience has helped them to learn a lot and get connected to outside world. For Vidya, going to the college has helped to hone her communicating skill.

They are acutely conscious of the fact that Carnatic music has only a niche audience. At the same time, they are also excited about the whole world opening out to them in an Internet-led new media world. Also, Net-based teaching is more convenient for students residing abroad, feels Sriranjani. Thanks to technological advancements, Bharat is able to listen to the music of yester-year greats and discover very many nuggets. Technology improves the sound production and helps one to access old albums, observes Rithvik, who is doing his sound engineering course. “However, technology is only an additional advantage,’’ he says. The musician must have innate talent to cash in on the technology developments, he points out.

With long-duration concerts becoming a rarity these days, Sriranjani, Amrutha and Vidya are convinced that they can adequately showcase their talents within a reasonable time-frame of say one-and-a-half hour. Quiz them on prime slot concerts, they have a unanimous view. ``You must earn the prime-slot,’’ Amrutha says sternly. Prime slots are allotted to musicians for their consistent performance over several years, point out Amrutha and Vidya.

What is the most essential quality of a professional musician? Sense of proportion, integrity, sincerity, conviction … Well, their answers reflect a sense of genuineness and feeling of responsibility. Indeed, they are a refreshing breed of youngsters. They have secular views on other forms of music. When it comes to Carnatic music, however, they are clear that one has to strictly adhere to the grammar and idiom. Any experiment within this is alright but any compromise on the core Carnatic values is a strict ``no no’’ to them. Notwithstanding the general perception about the music critics, they feel reviews play an important role in making the musicians. They just want to get on to the stage and sing well. Enjoy music and share the experience of joy with others. That’s all they want to do at the moment.
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