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Friday, June 1

Carnatic Music & Business Creativity

Odd combination but this is precisely what the workshop was all about! As with many such lateral diversions from my routine planner life, this workshop participation too was triggered by my friend Ram!

Organised by R. Sridhar( an Ogilvy veteran of 25 years and now an Innovation coach who runs IDEAS - RS), Bombay Jayshree(amongst the most sought after Carnatic musician and concert artistes) and T M Krishna(one of the leading figures of Carnatic music - a performer, teacher, composer, researcher)

When it comes to workshops in general. I am quite a cynic...I think they are largely corporate 'tamasha' and not much! But more about that in some other post...This one was different.

Between TMK and BJ, they played great soulful music. Even though I am a cipher when it comes to classical music, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The loose agenda was to learn from the lives of 7 great Carnatic Music maestros - Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar - who introduced the current day crisper concert format!!

TN Rajarathnam Pillai - who fought to give the nagaswaram it's rightful place

Semmangudi Srinavasa Iyer - who influenced not only Carnatic music but also its organisation and administration.

GN Balasubramaniam - whose style and bani generated a new kind of audience fervour.

Palghat Mani Iyer - the first and last word in percussion

MS Subbulakshmi - who gained Carnatic music a place within India and in the International arena!

and TR Mahalingam - the maverick and the genius who gave a completely new dimension to the flute!

What I loved most about this workshop was the music and the erudite articulation of TM Krishna. Among the finest communicators I have met in along time...

Some nuggets from the worlshop:
1. Ariyakudi's strategy of 'Stop the concert when the audience wants more"...I guess all news channels, most celebrity endorsers cam learn from this insight LOL

2. TR Mahalingam's strategy of 'Changing the instrument'. He made the 8th hole in the flute to enhance the music...I guess often we get trapped in models and the rigid structures of our business. This advice is handy to tool around with rigidity in thoughts!

3. To me Ariyakudi appeared to be a great planner!! As he understood the shift in the audience and culture in the 1930s...

From few listeners to many
From exclusive royal patronage to mass patronage
From elaborate improvisation to briskness and brevity
From eight items per concert to almost twenty!!
From pure reverential listening to concert ticketing.

4. The story of the ever learning MS Subbulakshmi. She would go to listen to a relatively unknown musician in Mylapore if she felt there was something to learn from him/ her...

A great attempt at an unusual mishram of music and business creativity. Hats off to Sridhar and team for pulling this off! The prototype beta version would definitely evolve over ver 2.0!

All in all I loved the humility of these wise musicians. There is a lesson for all of us in the larger marketing and communication community who are often arrogant in our ignorance!!The life and the lessons of the maestros has been captured well in the coffee-table like book Voices within Carnatic Music. Worth a read!


Smiling Dolphin said...

Hi Manish, I attended the worskhop, it was too good and your blog has summarised it so well, my homework report is all ready made! Sridhar's bit was however just a rehash of all his earlier workshops and nothing to write home about. Pity, we could have met over lunch (I was with Shilu Srinivasan), next time.

Manish said...

hey thats really a pity! well i am now quite anxious to meet you in person...

whenever, wherever:-)

meraj said...

very nice post!

EGC Traders said...

Very Nice.


Anitha said...

WOW :) Ho boy!!! Its feel spooky and great to see not just the VOICES WITHIN book but the entire campaign has reached out. I was part of the team that had worked on the entire VOICES WITHIN stuff, and all of a sudden to see it in your blog and read about it sure did bring a looooong smile :) eeeeeee (grinning from ear to ear) THANKS! :)