Monday, January 24, 2011

Black Magic

A unique workshop is coming up. A workshop on Black Magic!

Ah! If you have visions of revenge and harming your boy/girl friend who ditched you or your boss who did not promote you, you are out of luck.

This is black because it uses charcoal. And magic because you can learn to create something


with it!

The workshop is conducted by Priya Sebastian.

A Giant is no More - A Personal Tribute to Bhimsen Joshi

What a singer he was! (It hurts to use the past tense)

The first time I heard him live was in Bombay. 1980, I think. Until then my exposure to his music was only through the radio.

The concert was in Birla Mathusri Sabhagar. As I remember it, it is huge - at least compared to the smaller auditoria I was accustomed to in Mysore. The auditorium and and the stage dwarfed the man. My first thought was, "How is he going to fill this place?"

He took his time settling down. Fussed about the Tambura. Passed it on to the tambura player when he was satisfied. Then he sat facing the audience. Eyes closed. Back erect. Meditative, it looked. He cleared his throat vigorously, raised his right arm pointing N-W and elevation of 45 degrees and held Shadja.

It was time for the hall to be dwarfed. Make no mistake, there was electronic amplification. That amplified the volume, not the capacity to fill the auditorium.

I have forgotten what Raag it was. Purya Kalyan, perhaps. I remember that the petite girl friend of my friend closed her ears in awe at the first note, shivered, with eyes wide open in amazement. How the next three hours or so passed is not known.

That is what I will always remember whenever I hear him sing.

Another time, I heard his famous Daasa Vaani casette and in particular Karuniso Ranga Karuniso. When it ended, I noticed my shirt front was wet with tears. (1986, IIT Kharagpur, VS Hall)

Among the many greats that the small area of North Karnataka around Dharwar has given to Hindustani Music, the most famous was, perhaps, Bhimsen Joshi. I have heard some learned musicians say that he never achieved the real musical greatness that he was capable of and so on. His repertoire of Raagas and "chees" was limited, they say. For me and many many others none of it mattered. When he sang, we were transported. At least here, we can use the present tense. When he sings, we are transported, thanks to the many recordings we are lucky enough to have at our disposal.

Recently, someone mailed me about him referring to him by the community he belonged to. That reminded me of this I wrote about Gangu Bai Hangal some time ago.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Anna Turns Ninety

I had a very different and very pleasant beginning for this year - 2011.

My father (J R Lakshmana Rao) turned 90 today (21 January, 2011) and my mother 84 on 1st. We celebrated the occasion on 1st January. We had an informal get together. No speeches, no programme. All the invitees - mostly those in Mysore - met my parents and we all had dinner together.

My son Maitreya did most of the creative part and the hard bull work part of the website and his friend helped in going on line with it.

In some ways this is still WIP. We hope to add some more features by and by.

Here are some photographs from the occasion.

I have had a long break from this blog. I hope to write more in futuiure.

The url of this blog is safetvalve pronounced safe-t-valve to indicate that it helps me let off steam. I have a more regular valve now - my artisitc pursuits.