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Torch-bearers of tradition
It was refreshing to see Sudha Ragunathan’s concert for Kartik Fine Arts and Bombay Jayashri’s recital for Kalarasana draw a full house. We live in a stress-surrounded environment. Modern Indians are in a hurry. So, T-20 game is in. The test cricket is pushed into some sort a sporting event just for an empty stadium. Not surprisingly, `Why this Kolaveri di’ song is spreading like a wildfire. Are we Indians junking tradition? Are we losing sight of our culture? Not really, if one were to go by the huge response to the concerts of these two senior Carnatic musicians this December. The audience for their concerts comprised a good mix of young and the old. Close to 700-800 people sat for over 150 minutes to listen to these leading ladies of Carnatic music. Well, traditional music still has a huge following. That is why Dravids, Laxmans, Jayashris and Sudhas still enjoy the iconic positions in the society.

Artiste fans
She loves to return year after year to this auditorium. Season December 2011 has begun for her with a concert for Kalarasana. Besides common fans, artistes too are spotted among the audience for Bombay Jayashri’s concert at Rani Seethai Hall. Within a few minutes of the commencement of her recital, vocalist Ashok Ramani and violinist Shriram Kumar walk in to take their seats among the audience. Well, she has a new fan club!

Rising sisters
They are simple. They go about their business in an undemonstrative way. Indeed, they strike a genuine chord with the audience. In this mad world of more hype and less substance, they are a rare breed. Priya sisters have the uncanny ability to adjust, readjust and further adjust themselves to gain the tag `sincere sibblings.' Often times, they sing in step with each other. There is complete harmony between them. Their sense of humility and warmth towards the rasikas stand out all the time. Well, they shall too tower in the Mecca of Carnatic music.

A time well spent
If it is December, it is just music and music alone in Chennai. As one more season of festivity unfolds, close encounters with familiar faces have become normal. As Nithyashri Mahadevan begins her concert for Kartik Fine Arts at Narada Gana Sabha on the evening of December 4, 2011, comedian Kathadi Ramamurthi walks in to occupy a seat in the front row. A few rows behind him is seated the former Managing Director of Carburandum Universal (CUMI) Murugappan. These two were regulars at Bramha Gana Sabha concerts last season. Nice indeed to see these gentlemen relaxed and immersed in music after decades of hectic professional life.

A constant behaviour
Seasons may come and seasons may go. The audience attitude remains the same. As Nithyashri Mahadevan is well into a lovely recital for Kartik Fine Arts on December 4, 2011 at Narada Gana Sabha, people are constantly coming in and going out. Though the performers have stayed focused on their task, the frequent movement inside the auditorium has upset many a listener. To make the matters worse, the organizers, too, let the ticket-holders for the next programme in mid-way through Nithyashri’s concert. When will we learn?

One two many to handle!
As Nithyashri thanks the organizers of Kartik Fine Arts and the audience at Narada Gana Sabha and announces that she will end the concert with a thillana, the curtain suddenly starts rolling down. Visibly embarrassed, she blurts out, ``should I continue or end?'' The organizers appear to be in a hurry to start the next programme of the evening. One too many to handle at the same time!

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