A song for every season

A song for every season

Music matters

A song for every season

Unlike most performers in the concert circuit who like to stun the audience with their expertise, Subhashini Parthasarathy prefers to look beyond the arc lights and value the efforts her audiences take to attend her concerts.

Recently in Delhi for the centenary celebrations of her famed guru T Mukhta, this celebrated disciple not only mapped out a concert evening exclusively of javalis and padam compositions, but also expressed her gratitude to her listeners for braving distances and inclement weather to travel across the city to her concert.

With her impeccable qualifications for being both an academic and a concert artiste, Subhashini finds no dichotomy between the somewhat divergent fields of performance and academy. “The old world belief that academically-oriented musicians cannot be performers does not satisfy today’s generation, who now believe in downloading music on their IPad, rather than attending live concerts.

Hence, I am a musician who is interested in extending myself to that young group of eager listeners, where academic achievements and performances are not mutually exclusive.”

Reminiscing about her late guru who had instructed her, along with her mother, Subhashini said Mukhtamma had a close insight into both her musical acumen as also the individual herself. “Her methodology of instruction was avant-garde for her times. She readily adjusted to youngsters and was not always rigid and demanding.

She was passionate when it came to music, but was never strict and authoritarian.” As for her  belief in the emphasis on javalis and padams, Subhashini said these genres helped in raaga exposition according to the revered guru. “Her music was scant in phraseology, but with gamak-laden music phrases,” she surmises.

To continue the work of her guru and attract younger enthusiasts, Subhashini has harnessed several electronic support systems to her advantage. “I am happy to teach youngsters. If face-to-face classes are not feasible, then students can learn from my tapes and videos.” Thus distance is not a barrier in the learning process.

This practice was ably brought home at the recent Cleveland Music Festival in the US, where for the last six or seven years, students have been performing after learning their concert pieces via Skype.

“Although the music on Skype reaches the student a split second later, than a live session, that is hardly a hindrance,” she admits. “They end up learning 30-40 compositions and I have added special compositions of padams and javalis which I make part of the programme wherever I go.”

Thus Subhashini has brought concert audiences from Cleveland to Delhi into her ambit with remarkable ease.

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