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Svanubhava: The Music Student’s Staple – Day 1

We bring to you the best of the best from the Question & Answer Session at Svanubhava, Day 1. Q & As of the day – students who asked the best or most interesting questions given prizes (2 per session)

Flute Concert: Shri N. Ramani  

Q: How does one improve lung capacity required to play the flute ? 

A: Yoga and Pranayama

Q: Is it the same sound wherever you touch the Ghatam? (directed at Ghatam Suresh)

A: Audience was in splits. Ghatam Suresh tapped on the different parts of the ghatam and let the boy decide for himself.

Q: How to master difficult raagas such as Yedukula Kamboji on the flute? 

A: Practice practice and more practice.

As T.K.Murthy puts it, in his day he used to go to a temple at 6 in the evening and practice till 5 in the morning. Attend every concert he could, but not just attend the concert, pick up on nuances from the artists performing and implement them in his playing immediately upon going home. 

Dance Recital: Yakshagana

Q: Why are there no women in a yakshagana troupe ?

A: Strong body movements required , high physicality. There are seperate women yakshagana troupes that have only women or some that have men and women. But traditionaly it was performed by men and in any case – when it is a question of Abhinaya – there is no female or male. 

Q: During the performance, you shot an arrow , but where did it go ? (asks a confused young boy, who thought the artist actually shot the arrow)

A: Shivananda Hedge patiently explains that the arrow never leaves his arm and that it is left to the imagination , and TM Krishna adds that its a mark of great artist that he managed to convince the audience that he actually shot an arrow.

Q: Why did the performance stop with the death of Vaali ?

A: Because the performance was Vaali Moksham, thats why the death of vaali scene was prolonged as well. Usually just upto here takes 5 hours in a traditional all night Yakshagana performance, but because of time constraints it was cut short.

Q: How long does one train to become a Yakshagana artist ?

A: In one year you can learn that physical forms of the art. but it will take you five times that to understand it . All dialogue is improvized, and character establishment and other such nuances take a true in-depth understanding which cannot happen over night.

Q: Why is it called Yakshagana ?

A: The way the Yakshas sang; the name of this form of theater thus was Yakshagana Bylatta. 

Q: In other dance forms, the singer and percussionists sit on the side of stage, how come singers in a Yakshagana performance sit in the middle of stage ?

A: Because the singers are part of the performance, in Yakshagana there is real communication between singers and dancers and the entire performance and the audience. The music is for the artists and is the backbone of the performance, energy coming from behind the dancers . also there should never be a vacant stage in a Yakshagana performance. 

Q: TM Krishna asks the singer how he manages to sit still and sing full throated, without loosing his voice, becoming tired and not even fidgeting in the slightest for hours together ?

A: Just hard work, practice and my Guru’s Aashirwad comes the reply. 

Shiva Hymns: Thevaram

Q: What is the origin of the word Thevaram?

A: Thevaram comes from the love for God – having given, mind, heart and soul away to God. 

Q: What exactly is the Sivapuranam?

A: Sivapuranam is the first chapter of the thiruvasagam  – is generally not sung in short recitals or performances

Q: Is Thevaram sung with thaalam and without thaalam ?

A: Layaangam is when it is sung with thaalam and Shudhangam is when it is sung without thaalam.

Thevaaram sung in front of the deities in temples is different. Nowadays pakkavadhyam is not used for such singing but in the times of raja raja chozha the saarangi and the madhalam were used as accompaniment. 

You can catch the final chapter of Svanubhava Chennai for 2011 today at Kalakshetra from 9 to 4pm.

The line-up includes The Malladi Brothers (vocals), Bengali folk music, Shri T N Krishnan & lots more!

Svanubhava is the brain child of classical musicians T.M.Krishna and Bombay Jayashree. The festival puts together phenomenal artists for hour long concerts followed by question & answer sessions – a platform for debate and interaction that is unique to this youth festival.

A personal invite from the man himself!

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As Shri N.Murali (ex Managing Director of The Hindu) who along with Dr. T.N.Krishnan inaugurated this year’s festival puts it, Svanubhava is a fantastic idea that has become a movement which showcases the rich diversity of our performing artists.

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