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Violin brothers Ganesh & Kumaresh want music to be a subject in school
CHENNAI, January 2: They are young. They are veterans, too! These young veterans have a `young fan club' of their own. Violin brothers Ganesh and Kumaresh, not surprisingly, argue strongly for wooing youngsters into the Carnatic music world. In an interaction with select readers of Deccan Chronicle at the Rasam Reasturant here on a chill Thursday morning (December 31), they fielded with aplomb a range of questions.

Ganesh and Kumaresh felt that more and more youngsters should come into the world of Carnatic music. ``This is very important for any art form,'' Ganesh argued. There was, however, a catch. A 16-year-old singer, for instance, would connect only to listeners of his/her generation. ``A feeling of a singer in the age group of 16 to 20 will be different. He or she will lack in repertoire. It is not possible for them to relate to an audience which is much older,'' they pointed out. The brothers explained that it was incorrect to expect a 16-year-old to be aesthetic and mature while performing on stage. “Maturity should not be the priority. A raga has many dimensions. The feel for a raga can change as one ages,'' Kumaresh said. In this context, they felt that one needed to play the facilitator role in harnessing young talents. This could be done by providing positive encouragements to these youngsters, they said. ``Youngsters should be given encouragement. Don't spoil a child who sings well. Music means pure and pragmatic reporting,'' Ganesh said.

In this context, they narrated their own predicament when they were young artistes. While they got huge response from the younger audience, a few older generation listeners would always find fault with them on some counts or the other and question their ``bakthi''. ``We did not change our approach. Today, we have audience of our own - young ones at that,'' Kumaresh said. Film music director A.R.Rahman was successful since he was able to inspire the entire young generation, they pointed out.

``Arangetram is a process. All of a sudden, one can’t sing like MS. One needs a period of time to mature in music,'' they said. ``We do look out and listen to youngsters,'' they said. In this context, they singled out names such as Abishesk Raghuram, Sikkil Gurucharan and Malavika among the upcoming artistes.``They are bright and promising youngsters,'' they pointed out. They were of the view that `nursing young talents' should begin at the college level itself. That way the `generational issue' between young artistes and older audience could be tackled, they felt. To a question, Kumaresh said the present format for December concerts was good. ``Perhaps, you can add more instrumental concerts to it,'' they said.

Ganesh and Kumaresh gave their first concert in 1975. Born in Kanpur, they had lived in places such as Delhi and Bombay before coming down to Chennai.

Practice was most important for them. ``One could somehow get time if one wants to do something,'' they said. ``Life is different for a musician. Performing music teaches us different aspects of life. More you are into music, more you get spiritual,'' they said.

Nada Brahmam was the foundation on which music was built, they felt. Sahityam was only an extension. ``Swaras are pure sounds. One can hear the sound of pranava or omkara even from the silence and from within the anahata chakra situated in the heart,'' they said. The brothers were keen to create a bank of instrumental compositions, which went beyond languages. ``We want to create many chitta swaras for compositions. Instrumental skill is very important while presenting a music,” they asserted. ``Gamakas are emotional outpourings. They can be felt but not written. Vocalists use the prayogas according to the sahityam or lyrics,'' they pointed out. According to Kumaresh, a good musician ``is the one who sings with shruti alignment, laya shudda, correct sahityam and bhakti.''. A good rasika ``is the one who is a good listener sans prejudice'. A good critic, according to him, `` should have a good amount of music knowledge.''

They were of the view that the Government should come forward and introduce music as a subject in school. This would help to sustain the art and also give it a status. Further, it would help artistes who were not performing ones with income-earning opportunity. Also, this would go a long way in building up rasikas for the art.

Ganesh and Kumaresh said that they were keen to start a music institution. They, however, clarified that this was still at a conceptual stage. The brother-duo presently was doing an album on global warming. They were also engaged in doing an interesting project on codifying the art of playing the violin. Ganesh was keen to see Carnatic music presented as a band, where all artistes brought out their creative talent. Though they had visited many countries, they said they always had an urge to return home!

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