Monday, 30 November 2015

Stage vibes . . . .

Artistes are not too stiff on stage this season.
Each one warmly applauds the other for a wonderful flourish or a deft touch.

Gayatri Venkatraghavan clapped often times for her co-artistes at her concert at Bhavans in Mylapore - to acknowledge their artistry.
As did Sikkil Gurucharan at the same venue.

And as Sriram Parasuram ended his violin concert at the same venue on Monday evening, and was greeted by the Bhavan's kendra head with a bouquet to wish him for his birthday, his co-artistes - K V Prasad and Alathur Raj Ganesh - shook hands and then continued to play the final song.

Climate begins to affect artistes

Expect surprise changes in concert schedules this season.

The excessive rain the past fortnight and the chill that will set in in December does affect artistes and their instruments.

But vocalists can do little when the voice is affected or a nasty cold or recurring infection spoils his/her plans for the season.

Already, a few artistes have said ' sorry ' to recover from minor illnesses and be fit for the busy season ahead.

One sabha has a back-up list drawn up.

On Monday, Nov.30 evening, at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore the Malladi Brothers decided to stay away since one of them was unwell - Sriram Parasuram, who himself has been unwell came in to play the violin - he too could not be coaxed to sing. ( photo is of Sriram's Monday concert)

Friday, 27 November 2015

Web site coaxes homestay registrations

The startups and online businesses are taking some interest in the December Season.

Today, Stayzilla, a web site which promises accommodation to travelers at competitive rates put out an advert asking owners of rooms, apartments or extra spaces to sign up so that these spaces could be booked by rasikas who seek such private accommodation.

Stayzilla says people who rent such spaces can not only play great hosts but also share experiences with like-minded people.

Outstation rasikas opt to stay in hotels, the favorite being Woodlands but some are keen to be with families who reside in the Mylapore area where most sabha halls are located.

But house owners have not been too open to the idea of homestay the way people in Kerala have -  when some efforts were made.

You can check out Stayzilla's site at  It also offers an app.

Cute moment at Gurucharan's concert . . .

This was a cute moment at Bhavan's auditorium this evening.

Vocalist Sikkil C. Gurucharan was in the middle of a Thyagaraja kriti when a boy who must have been about 8 years old walked down the main aisle, came right up to the front row where a few VIPs and Bhavan's honchos were seated, located a free seat and perched himself there.

He sat back to enjoy the rest of the song and when the next started, he pulled out a snack box from a bag he was carrying, opened it and began to pop in some dry food.

He kept snacking right through the song to the amusement of a few rasikas who caught the act. And then, in the middle of Gurucharan's next song, got up and doubled up the aisle and was gone.

Children are rarely seen at concerts.

At the Bhavan's festival opening evening, one of the guests on stage - Jayathasri Balakrishnan, a professor who teaches English Literature at a Coimbatore college and is a star Thamizh public speaker had one point to share - bring your kids to the concerts, let them to great music.

Timely suggestion.

But we don't see many teens at concerts. Though many artistes are nowadays people in their 20s.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Looking for 'season' accommodation?

If you are traveling to Chennai for the season and still have not booked your accommodation, there is a utility section on the Kutcheribuzz web site which you may find useful.

It lists all the hotels located in the Mylapore - T. Nagar zone of the city - since most sabhas are located here!

There is also a section which lists private accommodation offered by residents to rasikas for short periods of stay. Check this out too.

If you have any other need that KutcheriBuzz can help you with send a mail to - 

Rain. Amrithavarshini. And a chill December.

The severe monsoon has had its effect on preparations for the 'season'.
Perhaps the spring cleaning in auditoriums, the most.

Rasikas too who have begun attending concerts at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mylapore ( its fest was launched on Nov.20) stayed away on a few days when rain battered the city. Though some hard-core ones who live close to the venue made it - wading through knee-deep water.

At Kanyakumari's violin concert on Tuesday evening, a rasika stood up at about 8.35 p.m. and asked the artiste to play on though people were leaving the hall fearing another outbreak of rain though the sun shone well that day.

"Keep playing madam…I just went out and there is no sign of rain and we will stay on!", he said.

Kanyakumari smiled and assured the rasika she would play till 9. She closed at 9.10.

Rasikas on social media are wondering if artistes will ever play the amrithavarshini raga this 'season'. Chennai has had record rain in a short time, repeatedly flooded and says enough is enough!

The monsoon will fade out but December could be chill.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Sabhas take it cool releasing concert schedules

Sabhas will continue to play local. Though the December Season is global.

At least 3 leading sabhas still have not finalized their concert schedules, one pulled back the list that was released and is due to launch the fest on December 1.

One sabha's secretary is hard to get and another, which is well past 100 years of its life hopes to get the schedule out in early December.

And one sabha is constantly juggling artistes to fit them somewhere.

How does one expect rasikas from Bangalore and Kochi, USA and Singapore to make plans for their trips to Chennai?

KutcheriBuzz has been posting the schedules as they come.

'Give the stage to instrumentalists'; violinist Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari wants sabhas to schedule concerts for instrumentalists.
She said so in plain words and with a smile when she responded to felicitations at the Bhavan's event to award her and Neyveli Santhanagopalan on November 20 evening.

"The schedules are loaded with vocalists…sabha teams must keep a balance..else where will we all go?', she said.

And she reminded sabha heads that people like her were growing old and would not have much time to perform if they did not get the opportunity!

Many rasikas nodded.

The hardcore rasikas have found that this year, many sabhas have forgotten the veena.

Photo shows Kanyakumari with her students after she was given the award at BVB's fest launch.

Talk, talk, talk. At Bhavan's opening evening.

It rains when the Season begins. Perhaps a sign of good things to come!

It drizzled on Friday evening, November 20 as the curtains went up on the music and dance festival of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mylapore.

Having been renovated last year, this is a great place to listen to music - if impatient rasikas allow you to do so!

The evening though was a lot of talk, talk, talk. There were four speakers and all of them did not stare at the huge clock that sits on the balcony and faces the main stage.

If you are not a great speaker or you don't have much to say at the podium, then it makes sense to be crisp and close.

Yes, Prof Jayanthasri Balakrishnan from Coimbatore's PSG College, a guest for this occasion spoke well - she is one of the TV stars at extempore oratory events. "Bring your children to concerts ..let them soak in the music," she urged the audience - in the hall there were probably 10 teens.

The speeches ran for 80minutes and rasikas started to lose patience - Abhishek Raghuram's concert was to follow and they didn't want to miss that.
Word went around that the drizzle outside has started again.

This evening was focussed on two senior artistes - violinist Kanyakumari and vocalist Neyveli Santhanagopalan were decorated with lifetime achievement awards.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Sudha Ragunathan cancels concerts

Sudha Ragunathan has cancelled all her concerts this Season. Her doctor has advised her to do so following medical related issues.

Sudha herself has not made an official statement as far as we know. But the little birds at sabhas confirmed that she asked for her concerts to be cancelled. The Music Academy's office said they did not have any intimation yet.

Welcome to Season 2015!!

Welcome to Season 2015.
I write this on a day when the rains hold back and we wonder if we will have a true monsoon, which keeps its date at this time of the year in this part of India.

It broke on the eve of November but has been patchy and that is not good news for lots of people who depend on it.

We at KutcheriBuzz start out work, as if on cue in early October. We need to get going on the production of the two Season Guides that KB brings out - one for the music concerts and one for dance.

Thankfully, our advertisers respond fairly quickly. Our sabhas don't. So we call and call and hope the schedules reach us early to get the Guides out by December 5/7. Though these should ideally be out by November 23/25.

One must say this is boring work. But when it comes out as a Guide it is valued and that is what makes us devote time to this part of the Season's work.

There will not be any surprises between the covers. And if you are traveling to Madras/Chennai later in December there will be some copies left for people like you to pick up - at the KB office.

I guess in an age when people use smartphones at every turn, the Guides are irrelevant for some rasikas! But they have their place!!