Music venues and audiences
As the Darbar and Alchemy Festivals become memories (with points of intense pleasure) at Dartington Hall in South-West England, the Tagore Festival mounted by Satish Kumar of Resurgence magazine is in full swing. For those who live in the surrounding areas this is a gift: the eminence of the speakers and artists from the likes of poet Andrew Motion, life-style guru Deepak Chopra, writer Amit Chaudhuri and dancer Aditi Mangaldas gather to celebrate the influence that the poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore continues to exert over us today.
For a change, Londoners used to having the best of the arts on their doorstep have to dig deeper into their pockets to make a journey down to Devon to be part of this rich experience. Just to tempt you to make a last-minute booking, click here to see what you would be missing http://www.dartington.org/tagore150/the-tagore-festival
Over the weekend I tried to make-up for having missed Kadri Gopalnath’s Carnatic saxophone recital at Darbar, over which Jahnavi Harrison waxed lyrical. Making my way to Hatch End High School Hall, where the car park was a sea of Mercedes and the foyer crowded with mobile phone and catering sponsors booths, the Programme Fusion Dreams promised an exciting line-up including the maestro Kadri Gopalnath, violinist Jyotsna Shrikanth, Bangalore Praveen, RR Prathap joined by drum kits and guitars. Well and good, the show opened with numbers that the ensemble had rehearsed and played at Darbar. The sound set-up however was a challenge: the ear piercing shrieks of the mike and the constant to-ing and fro-ing to adjust the mikes on the stage.
The choice of pieces gradually became more and more populist with film numbers played to the crowds by these prodigious musicians. Kadriji was hardly left alone to play even a couple of minutes up and down the scale for a hungry audience to savour the quality of his sound. Jyotsna Shrikanth whose organisation the Dhruva Foundation that promoted the event was evidently the conductor of the ensemble. She is a huge talent who can dictate the artistic standards instead of feeling the pressure to please.
This got me thinking how important it is to have the Darbars and the AMC’s to present high quality music at proper music venues. However could we not draw at least part of this audience of the Tamil community- families with children, our audiences of tomorrow, to pack out Kings Place?
This reminds me also that we need to show our collective support to the axing of Arts Council funding for Asian Music Circuit. I am off to write my letter of support.
Till next week,