Ramakrishnan Suryanarayanan 0

Let the Thyagaraja Aradhana not become a circus

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The Thyagaraja Aradhana is supposed to be an Aradhana i.e a musical homage paid to a great saint composer on his death anniversary. With so many decades of musical fervour built into the Thiruvaiyaru Aradhana, it has reached a hallowed status where musicians shed their differences and unite to pay homage to the most famous among the trinity of composers whose compositions are now almost considered canonical in classical Carnatic Music. Thats how it was for a long time till recent times when a new group of so-called musicians started reducing it to a cacophony. In the recent 2008 Aradhana, we had to witness what we could identify as an "(un)musical celebration" of the demise of a great composer. This involved among other things, drumming that is more popularly used in rock and death-metal concerts in the west. Such kind of mindless drumming in South India is more used in funeral processions than in classical concerts, and thats exactly what we could glean here too. Is that why the Aradhana is held Is it held to celebrate the fact that Thyagaraja is no more Was it not supposed to be a homage and remembrance of Thyagaraja Our request is to have a complete overhaul of the way the Aradhana is run. The people who are at the helm should be those who respect and be sensitive to the history of the event and the reason it is being conducted. Specifically: 1. The Thiruvaiyaru Aradhana is not the occasion or place for musical acrobatics that have mushroomed lately in some Aradhana performances - it now looks like a show of noise. 2. Musicians should not be allowed to show up in the attire they please regardless of their background or musical affiliations. Decent attire should be mandated and it should fit the solemnity of the occasion. 3. The type and standard of music that is expected of musicians should conform to some minimum standard, specially for established musicians. They should not be allowed to get away with anything on stage. 4. The same should go for on-stage behaviour of the musicians. The aradhana performance should not be hijacked by personal or behavioral mistraits. 5. The organizers should be held legally accountable to the public at large if they fail to enforce and uphold the sanctity of the Aradhana, or if they treat it like their personal fiefdom. Unless this happens, there is no hope for the memory of Thyagaraja to be perpetuated. Nor will it come to be identified as an "Aradhana" in the future.




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