In Mumbai over the last two days on some work, I decided to turn over a new leaf. Instead of doing 18 meetings in one day and flopping tiredly on to my hotel bed, I did a bit less of work and decided to take in a show. A quick glance at what was happening in Mumbai took me to a Carnatic music show, Dakshinayan, run by Banyan Tree at the Nehru Centre. It must have been at least 15 years since I last went for a Carnatic music concert and boy, did I enjoy it.
There was music in the air in my childhood, what with a mother deeply interested in it and a sister learning it for many years. I even had a minor & not very productive brush with Mridangam, although it did leave me with a deep and abiding interest in percussion.
Shashank S played the flute that evening. Shashank is among the young, new breed of Indian musicians. He spoke to the crowd in English, educated us a bit on the connect between Carnatic & Hindustani, played extraordinarily versatile stuff and generally gave us all a great time. For far too long, with a few notable exceptions, India’s classical music virtuosos have not felt the need to communicate to a wider, more cosmopolitan audience. I think that is about to change. Shashank and artists of his ilk will do it. It is this breed that can eventually connect Indian music to the wider world.
The next time you are on work in Mumbai or Delhi or Bangalore or Kolkata or Chennai or Pune or…, take time away from your schedule to figure what is on in the city. I wonder why I never did it before.