It is a tough ask to learn the nuances of Indian classical music in order to throw your weight around as an expert. Far easier to pick up the incidental knowledge surrounding the Music season and put on airs. About the first set of incidental knowledge one needs to acquire is the location of the Sabhas, the schedule of concerts as well as when and how to buy the tickets for the concerts.
Even the Chennai dweller may well fail to recognize some of the sabhas since they tend to masquerade as school or college auditoriums till the Music season arrives and they throw off the camouflage and bloom into centers of culture. A huge cluster of these Sabhas are present in the Mylapore and T-Nagar areas, which have been my normal haunts during the season.
One can hardly fail to notice the
– one of the few non-masquerading sabhas – at the intersection of Music Academy Cathedral
Road and TTK road or the Naradha Gana Sabha on TTK
road. The Mylapore Fine Arts opposite and the Brahma Gana Sabha on
Luz Church road are just round the corner from the Narada Gana Sabha. Chennai’s
oldest Sabha is the Parthasarathy Swami sabha – if I am right – for which you
travel down Cathedral road beyond the Vivekananda
College and take the right at the
next flyover. The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan auditorium near the Kapalishwarar
temple also hosts concerts – even free ones during the end-November period.
Rani Seethai Hall near Gemini and Kalaignar Arangam in the same vicinity have
also taken to music in the season. T-Nagar is another area rich with concert
halls. Vani Mahal, Sri Krishnagana Sabha, Bharat Kalachar, Nungambakkam Fine
Arts, German Hall – a whole host of choices await the music lover. Music
You could choose to buy the season tickets for a sabha or two or you could choose to buy the tickets as and when you feel free to attend a concert. To the best of my knowledge, almost all the sabhas sell advance tickets for all concerts. The
however, sells tickets only in the morning of the day of the concert or just before
the concert starts. The Narada Gana Sabha starts selling tickets from the day
before the concert – again in the morning or just before the concert. Both
these halls, however, hold two programs in the evening – starting – and the ticket is valid for both
programs unless otherwise stated. Incidentally, the tickets can come as cheap
as Rs.100/= and, thus, is not really a
huge drain on your exchequer. Music Academy
If you merely want to check out the music – without incurring the expense of the tickets – you can try out the afternoon concerts in most sabhas where aspiring singers give free concerts. No need to sneer at those concerts – the current hot star, Abhishek Raghuram, was not too long ago singing in the afternoon. Some singers get the prime slot in lesser-known sabhas while still singing in the slots at major sabhas.
In addition, the
also has yesteryear stars singing in the morning slot for free. If you want to hear a T.N. Seshagopalan, Nedunuri
Krishnamurti, Vedavalli, Bombay Sisters or T.N. Krishnan for free, this may be
the slot for you. The cognoscenti also flock to the lec-dems in the sabhas but
most of them are more like post-doctoral courses requiring a very strong base
in the arts. Music Academy
Concert schedules are put up outside the concerned halls. Nowadays, they are available on the Internet and, I believe, there are even apps that help you schedule your concerts. How about a carnatic music concert this season, Chennaiites, instead of another visit to the multiplex?