Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wikispaces for Veena

Ever since I heard about this, I always refer to myself as an Air Vainika. My theoritical fascination with the Veena probably started due to the charismatic figure of Dhanammal. Dhanammal to me represents all that the Madras Carnatic Patriarchy was not. I find it gleefully satisfying that there was someone who did not pander to the egos of the head honchos. Ironically Dhanam did have certain proscribed rigid gender views as to how women should sing without sounding the tala loudly. Despite this, she seems to me a woman who led her life the way she wanted it. My practical fascination of course started with this incredible lady.She brought to life several compositions that existed only as notations in my mind. When I listen to her render Dikshitar's compositions in ragas Navroj or Neelambari I have a feeling that this was how the composer intended it to be.The way she weaves vocal and veena alternating with the right stuff to be highlighted is remarkable.

So finally in 2000 I took upon myself to learn the veena. As it so happened, at the end of the first day of my class I ended up having an intricate argument about Veena, Dhanammal and Banis and depth of gamakas with my music teacher who was from the Mysore School. Thus ended my tryst with attempting to learn the veena.Some people say that as a student learning the Sarali Varisai the above argument was uncalled for but I disagree with them.

Now I recently had an opportunity to work on making a Wikispaces for the Veena.My lesson learnt after building this wiki is that wikis are addictive.