Saturday, September 13, 2008

Artist ?

The 'Youth revolution' in Carnatic music is witnessing certain imbalances today. Concert artistes are always denoted as Vocal (Main) and accompanists (Supportive) artistes. The paper advertisements also feature the concert in the order of the Vocalist (or Instrumentalist in an instrumental concert), the violinist and the mridangam. Remuneration for these artistes also follows the same trend, i.e, the vocalist gets the lion's share with the accompanists getting less. It so happens today that concerts of many of the young, crowd pulling artistes who are in great demand, feature senior accompanists who have been dominating their field for decades. In this case, these stalwarts, who are so responsible for bringing up the level of the concert to great heights, are paid less than the young 'main' artiste who may not have even been born when the concerned accompanist was on his way to the peak. Such a discrepancy seems unjust. Is it fair to pay a top level, world famous, senior, experienced, crowd-pulling violinist or mridangam vidwan less just because he is 'not main'? Should there not be acknowledgement of his senior status, by virtue of which the concert reaches unprecedented heights? The organizer should surely take cognizance of such stature and seniority and give the supportive artistes their dues.

In the All India Radio, artistes are paid according to their grading, irrespective of their position as 'main', 'accompaniment', etc. Remuneration is fixed and thus there is no differentiation between a main artiste and otherwise. If such a stand was taken in the Sabhas, one could well imagine the controversies that would be stirred up! The only solution seems to be to acknowledge that all the members of a concert team play an equal part in the success of the concert and give payment without differentiating between their roles. Otherwise, it would be like paying the batsmen more, the bowlers less and the wicket-keepers much lesser for the same cricket match the team has won together!

1 comment:

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