Posted by: cochinblogger | March 31, 2018

Music at the Krithi Book Festival

The Krithi International Book Fest held earlier this month was unusual in that it was as much an art festival as a book fair. Apart from literary events at a separate venue on Bolghatty Island that featured eminent writers (including some from overseas), there were music programs every evening. Below are pics I took when I attended three of those concerts.

I do not know anything about Carnatic music, but I know the Carnatic vocalist T.M. Krishna through his writings. He is a prolific and sometimes controversial writer. The first piece of his that I read was an in-depth profile of the famous singer M.S. Subbulakshmi in Caravan magazine, which created a storm because the writer suggested that MS had to Brahminize herself to find acceptance in the rarefied world of classical Carnatic music, which is something of a Brahminical preserve. Anyway, I had to see him in the flesh. His singing was mesmerizing, and I was happy to have captured the photo below, which gives some idea of the intensity with which he sings, though conditions were far from ideal, especially the weather.

The next day there was a Dhrupad sarod concert by Debanjan Bhattacharjee, seen below. This was much too technical for me, despite the musician’s occasional explanations — but as a non-musician who listens to mostly rock, classical music was a pleasant change.

Debanjan was accompanied by Nishaant Singh (below), who has a magnificent stage presence, on the pakhawaj.

And on the last evening, there was a concert by the Carnatic progressive rock group, Agam. I’ve been a fan since I heard their debut album, The Inner Self Awakens, which is a masterpiece and a favorite of mine. I even got Harish, the lead vocalist, to autograph my copy of the album, which made my day.

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  1. In the photo of T.M. Krishna, the face of the sitar (I think?) player is also eloquent. Good post!

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