The giant arch in N.R. In the colony – next to the Rama Mandira – the celebrations for the golden anniversary of Ganakala Parishath begin. Long lines pour into the street; This is an indication that the main hall is full and the eager audience is trying to find a room where large screens beam the action. Dozens of volunteers are patient in their work as crowd managers. The President of Parishath, the well-known musician R.K., finds his way through the crowd and reaches the auditorium. Padmanabh sits in a corner of the stage and listens attentively to a lecture demonstration. It is his place every day, which intensely absorbs every moment that takes place on stage. The auditorium is full, you hear – musicians and connoisseurs alike – that the 16-day mega festival with 50 concerts, 15 lectures and more corresponds to what is happening at the Chennai Music Academy. "We have to be a role model for every other Sabha, be it the execution or the remuneration," says R.K. Padmanabh goes into the details of the composition of this mega festival. An author of several books, including a treatise NenapinangaladindaThe musician is a shining example of a follower of community life. "This space is for everyone, I just don't believe in borders of any kind – caste, class or religion. There is no hierarchy, the purpose of Parishath and my life is to spread and educate. Sangeeta jnana vihinulaku, mokshamu galada …He explains. Speaking of his book Vipra Vikramahe says that you cannot claim brahminhood just by birth, it is what you become through your deed. "A Brahmin is the one who loves everyone, that's my belief," says R.K. Padmanabh as we settle down for a chat.
Golden Years (Clockwise) Vidwan M.Cheluvaraya Swamy, President of the 16th KGP Musicians' Conference, was congratulated by Chiranjivi Singh, Secretary of the Information and Culture Departments, January 1986; Honnappa Bhagavatar, President of Ganakala Parishat, I.M. Vitthalmurthy, Special Dy. Commissioner M.P. Prakash, Minister, K.H. Srinivas, MLA, Dr. HMNayak, Vice Chancellor of Gulbarga University, Vidvan M. Cheluvarayaswamy, President of the Conference, Vidvan Seshadri Gavai and Vidvan TSTatachar (left to right) at the opening event of the 16th Musicians' Conference ;; R.K. Padmanabha appeared as part of the protest calling for the streets in Arakalgud to be improved; Singing in Rudrapatna on the banks of the Cauvery Photos: Bhagya Prakash K. AND THE HINDU ARCHIVE
Here are excerpts.
Ganakala Parishath has turned 50. It is a big milestone for every institution. If you sum up these five decades, how would you do it?
It is indeed a major milestone. Ganakala Parishath (GKP) was founded in December 1969. The bigger meaning is that it was founded by a team of musicians. One of the main reasons for founding GKP is to give preference to the artists of Karnataka. The general perception is also that Carnatic music is for the elite audience. But the idea was to bring it all to ordinary people.
The statute states that 80 percent of committee members must be musicians, making it the only institution in this country run by musicians. The first music conference took place in 1970 with B.S. Raja Iyengar as President. A special format has been introduced. For the first time, GKP organized special lectures, demonstrations, etc. Until then, it was believed that music was meant for a performance, and talking about it was not highly valued. But under the direction of musicologist B.V.K. Shastri, the pastor, recognized the importance of such discussions. He brought great artists S. Balachander, M.S. Subbulaksmi, Lakshmi Shankar, T.N. Krishnan, Prof. B.R. Deodhar, Siddarama Jambaldinni … it was a great lineup.
What was the trigger for the establishment of such an organization?
If you remember, the Kannada movement was at its peak during these years. Writer Aa. N / A. Krishna Rao, who was also at the forefront of the movement, apparently said, "What are you musicians doing? You never come together If you do that, it will be a revolution. “The surprise is that they came together: A. Subba Rao, H.V. Krishna Murthy, Anoor Ramakrishna, Honnappa Bhagavatar, Bangalore Venkataram, A. Veerabhadrayya, B.V.K. Sahstri, H.P. Ramachar, Raja Rao, L.S. Sheshagiri Rao, Tirumale Rangachar and V.N. Rao were the founding fathers.
Aa. N / A. Kru was invited to the first conference and how happy he was! Hundreds of musicians from all over Karnataka had come together for a noble cause. "This was my dream and I am so glad that it was realized," said the enthusiastic writer. The institution was never financially rich, but rich in talent.
What does it mean for you to run an institution that has such a long history?
My connection with the institution begins long before I officially came to it. It is part of the emotional memory of every musician in the state, a legacy that our older musicians have left for us. So it is a role that is associated with enormous responsibility. In 2001 I became Chairman of the Expert Committee, in 2002 I was awarded Ganakala Bhushana and in 2004 I was appointed President.
My vision and intense faith as president is to bring Carnatic music to the corner of Karnataka. I hosted the annual conference on places like Ramanathapura, Nanjangud, Holenarasipur, Siddapur, Tumkur, Gadag, Bijapur and Belur. The committee is also aimed at target groups of all ages while formulating its events.
The general attitude is what the villagers understand. We ignore them and therefore cannot educate them. Why should anyone know the intricacies of a form? Isn't it enough that they have musical ears and a heart that is touched by its resonances? I believe that anything that pleases the ear is enjoyed. It was the goal of Parishath and mine too. I think it has been a successful run so far.
Many of the places you mention, for example Gadag, Sirsi, etc., are Hindustani belts. What kind of reception did Carnatic music have?
You will be surprised to know that I traveled across the state at least ten times before the annual conferences were organized. I went to schools. I also went to Dharwad University. We – the students and I – had a conversation and I introduce Carnatic music to them. I even sing to them. When we organized the annual conference at these locations, the halls were full. I loathe the split – we have to be open to all forms of music. There is a madras Sambar and there is a Mysore Sambar, both are Sambar, Is not it? You can have different flavors, so what? Together they form what we call Indian classical music.
Did you get any feedback?
A lot of. Someone from Siddapura wrote to me. The person admitted to having turned off the radio when Carnatic music was broadcast, but after the GKP conference, she had developed a preference. There are many such examples.
In fact, there were wonderful examples of give and take between legendary musicians who practice Hindustani and Carnatic. In fact, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan had conversations with Mysore Vasudevacharya and is said to have taken lessons from Veena Dhanammal. He pays tribute to the Carnatic tradition by recording Saveri and Kharaharapriya for the gramophone.
Absolutely. There are many such examples. G. N. Balasubramaniam and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Bhatkande attended concerts at the music academy, Palghat Raghu and Alla Rakha … there are many of them. That has not faded. In fact, it's better now. Hindu musicians were a bit conservative and kept us at a distance, but now we're interacting and performing. We meet often and exchange ideas. Carnatic musicians had Gangubai Hangal, Pt. Jasraj or Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. Things have changed.
Since these are interactions, you hardly see Carnatic musicians who visit each other at their concerts. It is a rare sight.
GKP is a departure from this phenomenon. I am so glad that so many musicians come here. I looked for artists and personally invited them. Under natural circumstances, they should come alone. But somehow that doesn't happen. It is also true that we are not generous enough to recognize the good work of many. Honor their work, compliment them … treat them well. At least I believe in it. Every day, 2000 people show up here, musicians and non-musicians. Why? Because they feel welcome.
How is the audience composed when you take your festival to remote areas?
All kinds of people. Let me tell you that, those who are serious about music never talk about caste. What is important to us is their art, I see the goddess Saraswati in them and I even fall at their feet, regardless of who they are and where they come from. People of all castes and all religions come, and that is how it should be in the natural course of things.
You were a late musician.
Oh yes, 1974. But I worked very well. I couldn't afford any of the modern facilities, not even fees. My journey, which was full of misery, was an introspective one. In the absence of guidance, I developed my own methods to strengthen my voice, cultivate it … and I succeeded.
When I became an accomplished artist, I didn't want to deny anyone the opportunity to listen or learn. I trained thousands of students and took no money from anyone. Since I am self-designed, I fear no one. I'm not worried if they'll call me for a concert or not. I won't crush words. I recently said that the Minister of Kannada and Culture has no culture at all. People can bring it to him. The least is knowing how to treat an artist. I will never be washed out. I am under the huge roof of legends, as Tyagarja says in “Endaro Mahanubhavulu”. If you are part of such a great tradition, why should you fear someone?
Your book Nenapina Angaladinda is a breathtaking document of community life. There is this musician named R.V. Srikantaiah in your book who walks and speaks music until he dies.
His father Venkatarayaru was the guru of R. R. Keshavamurthy. Srikantaiah was a faculty at a university in Chennai. He was such a smart mind, but lost his senses in the late years of his life. He came back to the village. Young and stupid as we were, we threw stones at him. He would keep singing. The day he died, they had made him lie down on the stone pulpit in front of their house. He gasped but was still singing Rama Bhakti Samrajyam,It was an amusement for me that day, but now it makes me cry. What awesome people! Even Khovdaiah. He was God to me, I waited endlessly to take a look at him. Devendrappa was another phenomenally generous musician – he fed so many boys and taught them music. They are inspirations, people who have shaped my life.
There is an abundance of talent today. But we don't produce legends.
No field produces legends. That was a glorious time, it's over. We shouldn't even compare it to anything. Music has grown immensely, new directions, new experiments … that is the nature of the present.
But I want to say one thing: Do what you want, but leave the tradition alone. Don't manipulate it. Why should we merge the Quran with Bhagavadgita? Or Gurugranth Sahib with Ramayana? They are all great texts in themselves, they do not need support, they can stand alone. So let's not try to save tradition, but best leave it alone.