Performers, Performances, and the Performative: Transcultural Approaches

Performers, Performances, and the Performative: Transcultural Approaches

Indian classical music is rooted in devotion and divinity. It is an art form which is very complex and difficult to master. Undoubtedly, it is a performing art, whether it is in temples where it started, in the courts of kings and patrons, or at the concert stage where it is now performed.

Classical music requires many years of practice and what musicians may call hours of chintan manan; thought and deliberation. The performer must develop her idiom while staying true to her baani. Besides, there is the audience who are intrinsic, if not, the central part of a performer’s craft. How a performer approaches her concerts is a matter of great intrigue and interest, which makes one think about the relationship between the performer and the audience.

Is the audience like a passive bystander, or a compelling force that propels the musician forward? What is the role of the sahrdaya in taking a musical performance forward?  How does a performer see each performance- unique or exactly the same as before? Does a performer perform exactly as she did during her practice sessions or does she improvise on stage?  These are some questions worth pondering.

Popularity matters in every cultural genre; so is the case with classical music. Some musical genres may not be as popular as others. Even the name of the performer is instrumental in deciding the head count of the audience. How does the proponent of the less popular genre approach her music? Does she do anything to attract more people as the audience? Or is that not a matter of concern?

This series is a look at some performing artists who will take us through their journey as performers – of finding one’s own voice, interacting with the outside world, their equation with their gurus, their trials and challenges in the learning-performing process, about the organisers and festivals, the gender divide, music activism and several other aspects of classical music which is performed. A mix of artists-vocalists and instrumentalists, both old and young, will talk freely and share their experiences and acquired wisdom on the art of performing classical music which will enrich the understanding of music and musicians for both rasikas and aspiring performers. There will be talks and demonstrations by the participating musicians along with sample music which will be made available to those accessing the e-journal. This will be a unique series – an in-depth study of the performance aspect of music, straight from the voices of the artists themselves.

Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124