We, the Carnatica Brothers K.N.Shashikiran & P.Ganesh, are South Indian Classical duo singers. We live in Chennai, but hop around the world for most part of the year, performing concerts, lecture demonstrations, conducting workshops and camps and teaching our students around the world! If you'd like to contact us for performances or if you'd just like to say hi, feel free to mail us at carnaticabrothersatgmaildotcom! :)
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Money Matters in Carnatic Music

There were times when Carnatic music teachers, also known as ‘paatu vadhyars’, were mostly mamas chewing betel leaves, with an old and tattered ‘jolna pai’ slung over their shoulders, house-hopping to teach students. Today, the ‘pattu vadhyars’ are tech-savvy musicians who teach shishyas from all over the world, over the internet! And, they don’t house-hop anymore, they cyber-trot! From the concept of gurukul, we have progressed to ‘guru-cool’!

Gone are the days when music as a career offered very limited choices. Today, there are a plethora of opportunities – from audio/video engineering and teaching to performing. With sabhas mushrooming in every nook and corner, most Carnatic musicians perform on an average ten concerts every month. Besides, there are TV shows, radio recordings, album recordings and several other performance opportunities. Most performers are also teachers. There are musicians like Sanjay Subrahmanyan, Sowmya, Sriram Parasuram and L.Subramaniam who have other professional degrees but they have chosen music over law, management, engineering, medicine and other fields! In fact, several Carnatic musicians, these days, fall in the higher brackets of income tax payers!

With the world becoming a global village, Carnatic music has gone global too! There are Carnatic musicians who travel abroad every year, to places like the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. The top performers even travel abroad several times a year! On each tour, they have hectic schedules and perform about 20 concerts in various cities.

“Music is certainly a lucrative profession,” says vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan emphatically. “For a person with sound training, a good temperament towards people, the urge to innovate and a little bit of luck or God’s grace, it is a very rewarding career.”

So has Carnatic music changed over the past few decades? Well, Carnatic music has evolved over the years but the basic framework has remained the same. What has changed, however, is the way we package it, to suit audiences’ tastes and preferences. Just like fruits and vegetables that come in coloured wrappers, these days, to keep them fresh!

The late violin maestro Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan used to say that he was like a departmental store. He had different styles of music on offer. All one had to do was choose what he/she liked best! But these days, Carnatic musicians are more like mega malls than departmental stores! Choices have increased, so much so that it has become difficult for audiences to choose what they like best!

Has the media played a role in bringing about this transformation in Carnatic music? “Well, Carnatic music is featured almost every day on the TV channels. That has definitely helped,” Gurucharan acknowledges.

But all is not rosy. After retiring from their concert careers, some artistes take to other activities like teaching and composing. Yet, unlike actors, musicians do not have a common forum and no pension scheme for retired musicians. There are talented musicians who go unnoticed for want of concert opportunities. It is high time we got our act together, so that the unlucky ones don’t remain unlucky.

K.N.Shashikiran

3 comments:
Anonymous

Sir,

Hope all well at your end. Good one. I agree with you that either government or the public to take care of the senior musicians (who are retired from the profession) and their families and help music to reach the world in a better way.

Srini.


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Welcome to the Carnatica Brothers' blog!

Read our views on various music-related issues, get updates on our concert schedule and see our latest photos. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to listen to our music. Comment on the blog posts and keep in touch with us through our blog!

Concert Schedule

  • July 29th - Aug 26th (Mon-Fri) - Carnatic Summer Course (Middlesex Community College)
  • Aug 14th - Aug 16th - Chicago (Workshop for Akshaya)
  • Aug 27th - Sept 11th - Carnatic Summer Camp (Novi, Michigan)
  • Sept 12th - World Peace Concert (Detroit)
  • Sept 18th - Oct 13th - Europe tour (Details will be put up soon!)

Tracks from our albums

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Shashikiran's solo renditions & his musical score for the dance-drama 'Silappadikaram'

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Concert Recordings

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