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Sankaran Namboothiri enthrall’s audience – but is time an essence in music festivals? A corridor controversy erupts…

Submitted by on September 26, 2012 – 5:10 pm3 Comments


There was a slight chill in the air to the otherwise beautiful day at New Jersey as I drove excitedly to the Ruthers student center for the 2nd day of fall concerts.

Excited ofcourse to catch the first performance of Sankaran Namboothiri, the young stalwart with a beautiful voice.

I am always excited when I see a decent crowd, as I feel it to be critical and important to sustain the centuries old traditions and culture of our music.

Yes this was a fairly good turnout, with just one grouse.

For a change this is not directed to the organizers but the parents of youngsters and the students of the very many carnatic schools here. Where were they? This concert had the least younsters in this session for sure.

Organizers like CMANA take great pains to get such reputed artists, its a shame for us not to take advantage of this.

I really wish there were more younsters in these concerts, as they really are missing some superlative performances.

Anyway, Sankaran Namboothiri thrilled us with some very well rendered ragas and kirtanai’s. His RTP on Karakharapriya was very pleasing to the years, so were the compositions in devaamrithavarshinin and Nattai.

His varnam in charukesi set the tempo high at the start.itself and then there was no going back from there on.

Smitha Krishnan (Violin) and Sri T S Nandakumar (Mridangam) accompanied the artist. Sumitha seems to have come a long way. Last year, I found her performance below par, this year she showed tremendous growth. Her voilin sounded very good, she accompanied skillfully and her solo elements showed that she has come a long way.

There was a lot of corridor talk on the incident, where the artist repeated requested the CMANA organizers to give him a few minutes extra to conclude with a Bhajan or Thillana. The organizers refused publicly stating that the next concert needs to star on time and the auditorium needs to be vacated for sond check.

It certainly felt bad saying no, so some listeners argued and felt that the organizers should have accepted, as the artist asked and even pleaded. Well, this is my point of view.

I think for any artist planning is key, that discipline is strictly followed at Sabha’s in Chennai. No exceptions are made as there is an extreme time constraint. So artists need to plan th concerts carefully, and all f hem do. For CMANA organizers, they are obviously very constrained, as they have multiple concerts planned in a day. In addition they need to encourage their sponsors who sell food and music. This is a fall festival, so concerts, networking, food and music shopping all go hand in hand. It’s important that schedules are kept so the entire Eco system benefits.

So even though I too felt bad that the artists request was not accepted, in this case I think CMANA did the right thing.

My next post will be on the final concert by Sanjay Subrahmanyam.


  • K.Rajasekar says:

    Mr.Dileep, you are forgetting how late the concert started. CMANA said it was to start at 11.00am. But, there was a felicitation which went on forever. The worst part was they made all the artistes sit on stage and wait for nearly an hour before the concert started. There was not even a sound check. So, who is at fault here? Certainly, not Sankaran.

    Also, there was no RTP that day. CMANA hurriedly concluded the concert after the main piece.

    CMANA made all the hype only about Sanjay’s concert to pull crowd. Not even TVS concert was given that much focus and attention. They should learn to be less arrogant and treat all of these artistes equally.

  • Sundar says:

    I beg to differ with your comment on the artist not planning his time properly. Please remember that the concert was supposed to start at 11.00am. CMANA made the artists sit and wait on the stage for about 45 minutes until the felicitation/award function was over. I don’t think they would have made Sanjay’s team wait like that. So, the comment of “not managing the time properly” applies to the organisers as well.

  • Both you and Rajsekhar have commented on CMANA starting the concert about 45 mins late. This is certainly true. The concert did start late, and the organizers to have a share of blame on this.

    If i recollect the event, i have two points to make;
    1. The concert was delayed i believe due to some of the artists arriving late, in fact atleast 2 of the 3 performing artists were late to land up. Now, i dont know the dynamics of who arranges what relating the the artists and their accompaniments, but I think every artist must coordinate and plan to be atleast 30-45 mins before their time. I saw the organizers really worried and scrambling all over trying to trace them. So, the team as a group lost valuable time.

    2. Yes, the concert was to start at 11.00am, with a break at the end for lunch, i think the gap was supposed to be about an hour. This was reduced to about 30 mins, so artists did get most of the time allocated to them.

    I understand the my blog may sound biased towards the organizers, but truly not so. I think the faults are certainly with both sides, but

    I fully agree with both of you that the organizers do have to also take some blame for this, dont get me wrong here. But, in this case, there was ample time provided to the artist, even after some artists were late for their show.

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