Classical contests - a mega boost

Popularity of classical music rising through high voltage reality shows.
The last few years have seen a rise in high profile contests for classical music in India as well as in countries like USA. While established or­ganisations like The Music Acad­emy, Krishna, Nar­ada and other sabhas in the city have been active over years like the Cle­ve­land Festival in USA, what is heartening is TV channels like Jaya, Raj & Vijay have joined the fray in giving a very different slant to the arena of competition, turning them into high-voltage reality shows with established and legendary artistes validating or critiquing hundreds of talents. Of the lot, Raj TV te­amed up with a jeweller to offer excellent cash incentives of Rs 5 lakh, Rs 3 lakh and Rs2 lakh to the first three wi­nners, after testing their all-r­ound skills over 13 rounds.
The latest entrant to this electrifying field was Doorda­rs­han SPIC MACAY combo, which cond­uc­­ted Naa­d-Bh­ed with the bigg­est incentive in this field so far where 6 first pri­ze winners (a vocalist, one melody instrumentalist and one percussionist ea­ch from Carnatic and Hind­ustani) receiving Rs3 lakh and two Super First prize winners (one from each system) from the above receiving a bonus of Rs7 lakh, taking home a whopping Rs1 mi­llion! Naad-bh­ed thus became the first mega contest to give equal opportunity to instrumental music, a move that hopefully will be emulated by all other reality shows, since the country’s musical face among non-Indian listeners across the world have been inst­rumentalists for the most part over de­cades.
Naad-bhed was held rigorously until the deciders in Bombay, where some of India’s greatest legends with unimpeachable credentials like Prof T. N .Kr­ishnan, Pt Hari­prasad Ch­au­rasia, Sh­ri R. K. Sh­r­ik­­a­n­than, Beg­am Parv­e­en Su­lt­a­na, Smt R. Vedavalli and Smt Prabha Atre jud­ged the final and super-fi­nal ro­unds, after other dis­tingu­ished juries had eliminated some of the most well-known names of the younger generation in earlier rounds held in Che­n­nai, Delhi, Calc­utta, Be­ngaluru and other cities.
The winner’s name can’t be revealed (at least in my article!) before telecast. While the standards of the contest were fairly high, it was commendable that a final list of three from each category made it to the su­per finals, slashing thr­ough their co-contestants. It is interesting th­at in Car­natic vocal, all three were girls, including a pre-teenager.
That the Tavil got represented in the percussion category is a healthy sign for that instrument.
While each of the super-finalist deserves kudos for making it nationally, it may have made the event fairer all around had each be gi­ven prizes, something th­at the organisers must look into in subsequent editions, if they need to consistently attract quality parti­ci­pa­nts.
(The writer is a slide in­s­trumentalist, vocalist, co­m­poser, author and innovator of concept Melharmony in world music.)
( Source : dc )
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