Young artists at Chennai music festival
Representational image: iStock

For young Carnatic music artists, all roads lead to Chennai

After two years, sabhas in Chennai are crowded with young artists from across the world getting a chance to perform in front of the public and music judges during the music festival

Anirudh Raja, a young Carnatic vocal artist from the US, is among several such artists from the US, Australia, Canada and other parts of India who have landed in Chennai to perform in the Margazhi Music Festival this year.

After two years, sabhas in Chennai are crowded with young artists getting a chance to perform in front of the public and music judges.

“This year, we have chosen around 130 young artists and all sabhas have given them chances to perform,” Parthasarathy Swami Sabha secretary M Krishnamurthy told The Federal. “During the COVID years, we asked them to send videos of them singing or playing any instrument. Senior artists, who were judges, chose among the youth and gave them awards.” 

Also read: Chennai’s Marghazi music fest is back, but sabhas struggle with poor ticket sales

Parthasarathy Swami Sabha held a test for all those who wanted to perform in the music festival. “Each year we are seeing an increase in the number of young artists wanting to perform in the December Music Festival. We held the Yuva Sangeet Festival, in which youth send their videos to us,” said Krishnamurthy.

Awards in the offing

The sabha also gives awards for the best performance at the end of the music festival. “This year we will give two awards to the best vocal performance, two for violin players, and two for mridangam players. The upcoming artists are provided a chance in the afternoon slot. Most of them get a chance to perform either at 12.30 pm or 2 pm,” said the secretary.

(It’s an unwritten code in the Chennai music festival. The less experienced artists and amateurs get morning, afternoon or early evening slots. It’s the top artists who get the 6 pm slot.)

Recordings of the young artists’ videos were done in Chennai, Bengaluru, New Delhi, Pune and also abroad.

Interest among youth

Anirudh Raja was born in San Francisco’s Bay Area and his Carnatic music journey began as a disciple of Sandeep Narayan. He also learns Hindustani vocals from Sri Nachiketa Yakkundi, a disciple of Pandit Basavaraj Rajguru.

Similarly, Samanvi and Archana performed in the afternoon concert at Parthasarathy Swami Sabha. Those present in the hall were all praise for the two young artists deftly handling ‘tough’ ragas.

Also read: Check out the most exciting music festivals happening this December

“This year we have youngsters coming for lectures with notes and pens to record senior artists explaining ragas and thalas. It shows that interest among youngsters is still increasing in not only seeking a chance to perform but also knowing Carnatic music fully,” said Krishna Gana Sabha secretary Y Prabhu.

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