Indian classical music, with its detailed and inclusive nature, is one of the country’s oldest possession. This form of music has been embraced and fused with others music forms from across the world. Artists, globally, have been keen on incorporating it with the music from their lands. Indian artists, too, have accepted music from across the world and developed new sounds.
The Indian classical music space can be broadly divided into two major sub-classes – Hindustani and Carnatic. Focusing primarily on Carnatic music, this ancient form of music has its roots set in the southern Indian states and is associated with Hindu traditions.
To deep-dive into this rich form of music, Music Plus spoke to popular Carnatic singer, Vidya Harikrishna, who began her musical journey at a tender age of five.
Vidya’s childhood was filled with Carnatic classical music thanks to her parents. Her father, N Balasubramanian, sings ‘Namasankeerthanam’ (bhajans) while her mother, Geeta Balan sings and plays the Veena. With music in her genes, she started her initial training at the age of just five under Smt Sampoorni Venugopal and Smt Radha Santhanam. In her early teens, she was already been groomed for concerts and live performances by Guru Smt T R Balamani. Currently, under Padma Bhushan Shri T V Goplakrishna, Vidya is seeking to learn new dimensions in understanding music, its dynamics, vocalization and its other aspects.
(pic : Vidya Harikrishna )
For nearly 20 years, Vidya was confined to participating in competitions known as the ‘Sabhas’ which aimed mostly at promoting classical music mostly within the city. She feels this has changed now.
“Youngsters now have a lot of opportunities with more organisations conducting performances and competitions. There are competitions on television where parents and kids can travel to other various cities for the same while managing their education which is again very important.” Says Vidya whose first performance in the USA was at packed Pandit Jasraj Auditorium in New York.
The monetary aspect in Carnatic music has seen a considerable change. With more television, radios and other platforms doing their bit to promote the music form. Many upcoming musicians now seem keen to pursue a career in classical music.
“Classical music should be mainstreamed. The younger generation need to be informed about the richness of our classical music. When provided with a wide range of opportunities, they can pursue this great art form with passion.”
Adding that monetarily too the musicians are more secured. Modernisation and the change in technology has helped the cause of classical music. Classical music’s reach can be magnified so as to help the growth of every artiste and individual involved with it. Through the availability of latest technology concerts and performances can be recorded and shared instantaneously.
“Modernisation has been a boon which has helped the connoisseurs of music enjoy concerts from any part of the world. The reach of Classical Music has widened and artists are invited for performances under various festivals throughout the world. Internet helps in the reach out of artists.” opines Vidya.
With the western forms of music making inroads into the remotest corners of the country, the number of upcoming Indian classical musicians has spiraled down. It has been widely perceived that the Indian classical music forms are running its course and the day wouldn’t be far when this form of music would end up being extinct.
To opine that there would be no future generation of Indian classical musicians is a far-fetched thought. Preserving its traditional value and proving to the new generation that the music is not a relic, is what the flag bearers, have to ensure.