articles by Lakshmi Sreeram

Arts & Culture

2020, a year in Indian classical music: How the pandemic impacted patrons, practitioners and the art itself

Cyberspace — the space where most of this new normal is playing out — has never before had so much happening; musicians and audiences approached the space with a mix of hope and misgiving.

Arts & Culture

TN Krishnan's music is a lesson in the aesthetic value of restraint, for Carnatic artistes to reflect on and emulate

Noted violin maestro and Padma awardee TN Krishnan passed away in Chennai at the age of 92, on Monday, 2 November.

Arts & Culture

As COVID-19 halts live performances, an opportunity for musicians to engage more deeply with their art

Concerts may be hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but it also offers musicians a chance to reach for their own light and find their roots without the demands of an audience and organisers.

Arts & Culture

TM Krishna's The Edict Project is a stunning endeavour that doesn't fully transcend its technical challenges

In the stunning Edict Project, TM Krishna has sung the lines that Ashoka engraved in rock and pillar millennia ago.

Arts & Culture

The experiments and flamboyance of Pandit Jasraj: Examining the celebrated vocalist's Khayal legacy

Pandit Jasraj handled well known and rare ragas with mastery which revolved around something that was a wondrous rarity in the world of Khayal – pronouncing the text of the composition right, and presenting the composition as if it mattered.

Lifestyle

On identifying ragas, and how the intoxicating and often frustrating challenge for a lay listener can become an obsession

Raga is a crest jewel in the world of melody, each raga offering possibilities for endless exploration with their limited melodic material.

Lifestyle

Kamal Haasan-Tyagaraja row: Carnatic community's ire is symptomatic of its insularity and excessive conservatism

The response to Kamal Haasan’s remark concerning Tyagarajar could have been more measured. The unbridled uproar is puzzling and reflects on the Carnatic world.

Life

The Pavlova Project: A unique exhibition presents the life and work of legendary ballerina through her costumes

In a unique exhibition, Peggy Turchette of Boulder, Colorado presents the life and work of legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova through Pavlova’s costumes and couture mounted on dolls.

Life

Dhrupad, across borders: American musician Jody Stecher on learning under ZM Dagar, taking up the sursingar

Jody Stecher is one of the very few Dhrupad exponents of the sursingar, the baritone predecessor of the sarod. His collection of instruments also features the beautiful sursingar that originally belonged to Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, his guru

Life

On embracing national pride in its many manifestations, and the notion of 'India, that is Bharat'

One should leave cultural pride open for anyone to celebrate while making no urgent calls for political action based on it. Like a flower, culture will bloom in its own time or not at all.

Life

TM Krishna on the importance of small sabhas in sustaining Carnatic music, performing pro bono

'I am convinced more than ever that it is these small hubs in smaller suburbs that need support and need to be kept alive. The big show will go on but unless these clusters of musical interest and energy are kept alive, sustainability and a larger reach for the art form will disappear,' says TM Krishna

Life

Poignant Song: Lakshmi Shankar's biography is affectionate but let down by its ordinary, casual storytelling

Lakshmi Shankar’s life holds great interest and Poignant Song outlines its broad contours, but the picture that emerges has not the excitement of light and shade, or depth and perspective.

India

Telling composers apart from posers

Some musicians don’t seek the creative spark. They find a success formula, and stick to it

Life

Odissi on High: A transnational production displays the dance form's synergy between male and female elements

Odissi is a young dance form, though it has assimilated and is born of ancient temple dance traditions, music, poetry, and devotion to Jagannatha. At a recent performance of Odissi on High, an all-male ensemble achieved striking masculine vigour with quintessential movements – movements that only easily lend themselves to execution with feminine grace.

Life

The Musician and His Art: Deepak Raja's essays on Hindustani music deserve serious consideration

Deepak Raja's book, The Musician and His Art, is a collection of essays and lectures published and delivered at various forums over the past seven years.

Life

Sound of music: With inadequate arrangements at Indian classical music concerts, what's lost in transmission?

The inadequacy of sound arrangements in classical music concerts is a fact reinforced too often.

Life

In search of a tiger: Wildlife encounters and the humbling, raw grandeur of nature

Madhya Pradesh boasts of many tiger reserve forests and the three on our itinerary were at Pench, Bandhavgarh and Panna.

Life

On S Rajam's birth centenary, remembering an artist who was as rare as he was gifted

The Chitra Sutra says that one can only be painter if you are also a musician, a dancer and a sculptor. S Rajam was possibly the ideal painter, as envisioned in this ancient text from which he himself drew inspiration for his art.

Life

Raga pianist Utsav Lal makes the piano sing — to Hindustani classical music's notes

“Raga pianist” Utsav Lal joins the long list of musicians gripped with an obsession to make European instruments sing ragas — only it is not any European instrument but what may be called their king: the piano.