Sunday, January 18, 2004

Proportion of thani - 2

This tendency of voluntary suppression of talent for years leaves them without proper identity. Since they are professionals they are forced to accept such compulsions. Every artist who has given his soul & heart for nurturing his talents must have freedom of expression at the first instance. For years they toil creating some original aesthetic rhythm not for self enjoyment alone but also for presentation to the general public.

Another question one has to consider here is whether the center performer really likes the mridangist getting special attention from the audience. Many of the center performers would signal the mridangist or keep staring at their watches to indicate him to shorten his Thani. Some even do this explicitly. They would claim that it makes their throat dry to sit quiet for half an hour & would not be able to sing with the same power after the Thani.

A true professional would not like to control the freedom of expression of another. It is saddening to note that some of these enter performers extend the same treatment to even established percussionists An established artist who presents tradition based, acceptable innovations has to be respected & allowed to present the same to the audience. Then only true professional atmosphere would prevail. Music cannot be monopolised in concert platforms. We should also note that in Carnatic music a performer will have more of mental strain than physical. Mental strain will not tire a performer but physical strain will certainly prevent him from giving the required effect. Even today we see that while accompanying some artists even for three full hours you will not fell tired physically, while accompanying some others, one would be totally exhausted within the first half an hour.

To say something more on the duration of Thani, it is said that the great Plaghat Mani Iyer used to say " what is there to play in a thani beyond ten minutes?" But we should wee the period of his statement. It was during his last years. Firstly, it has come out of his experience. Second factor is ageing. So without seeing the time & context of his statement we cannot use it to criticize the rest. Because, I have listened to Sri Mani Iyer playing Thani for 30 minutes & 40 minutes in his prime time. He has also played 2 to 3 Thani Avarthanams in a single concert, each for about 6-7 minutes. So to say that there is nothing to play beyond 10 minutes is unacceptable.

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