Tuning the Millennials for the Indian Music


This morning when I made the first phone call,a bolt from the blue made me think about the conversation which I had with Prasanna two weeks back.In one of his posts,he had upbraided about the present generation moving away from the Carnatic and Hindustani music.Like he laments,there is a prejudice prevailing in the society that the Carnatic and the Hindustani music are for the oldies.

Today I made a phone call to the Shakti Foundation for their fundraiser show by the universally acclaimed music group ‘Remember Shakti‘ comprising jazz exponent John McLaughlin, tabla wizard Zakir Hussain, mandolin maestro U. Shrinivas, popular singer and music director Shankar Mahadevan and kanjeera artiste Selvaganesh.After blocking my pass,the woman on the other end asked for my age.Though I wondered about the question,I replied instantly.She askedme whether the pass was for my parents for which I gave her a hard NO!!May be because I sounded boorish,that she flooded me with the reasons for asking those questions.

The reasons were

1)Only 1% of youngsters come for the Carnatic and Hindustani concerts.

2)Most of the youngsters made the bookings for their parents/grand parents.

3)From the experiences,bookings made by youngsters did create problems as most of them don’t turn up for the concert,and made losses to the foundation.

Now before making the rest of my generation culpable,let me take you to my childhood.My parents being hard-core fans of Carnatic and Hindustani music,played keerthanams and albums very often.My brother and I developed a natural scunner as we always had conflicts about which album to played at home.Such an insurgentism led to a stage where we played two albums at a time.Once you come home,you can hear the soulful voice of Dr.K.J.Yesudas from the ground floor and once you escalate to the first floor my brother and I will be head banging for some metal rock music.But since our life at home had a background score of Carnatic,Hindustani,Instrumental music and ghazal,a twist happened making me realize that I was falling in love with the Indian music.During school days,knowledge about English albums made me put on a pedestal in my friends gang.After the revelation,I started liking a varied range and genre of music; yes,I was in love with music.From then onwards,the type of music never mattered to me ,it just depends on my mood swings.

Now coming back to the post,I feel youngsters take the western music as a status symbol than a sincere liking for it.It gives them a place in their social circle.Some say that if they don’t have an enviable playlist of English songs in our phone,then they are abashed in front of the others.People including my dear ones are very reluctant to avouch that they like the traditional Indian music.What Prasanna says,”Indian youth consider classical music to be too old for their taste.” is a serious issue.A change to such a mentality is necessary.I have heard parents bragging about their kid’s liking of “only” English albums.So I would say,it all depends on how parents bring up up their kids.If my parents had never encouraged us to listen to the Indian music,I am sure that today even I would have made attractive playlists of songs and would have laughed at people who go for classical/ghazal nights.

Last weekend when I attended the classical night of Dr.K.J.Yesudas,my friends gave me weird looks.But after getting inside the auditorium,I felt weirder.Why?I could not find ANYBODY of my age in the crowd.In between the concert,Yesudas sadly repined that the younger generation is behind fame and glamor.He added that most of the kids learned Carnatic music for competing with the peers in reality shows without the passion for it.All he wanted was an upcoming generation to carry over the tradition of Indian music.

Now if we lack a generation to inherit the Indian music,then looks like my grand-kids and the coming generation  may not even know what Carnatic music was or who Yesudas was.

Now what can we do for generating interest in Indian music?

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14 thoughts on “Tuning the Millennials for the Indian Music

  1. of course .. i think the young generation as you say is too much into english music and its a status symbol to have the latest album or song as ringtone to your mobile .. Maybe when i was growing up i too did the same thing, but with age and all I have gone back to listening to indian music, I hardly listen to english songs anymore ..

    we in india have such a huge talent I mean even foreigners want to listen to our music but we indians are somewhat away from it ..

    I hope you had a great evening at the concert 🙂

    take care and also tell us how it went

  2. I think better than blocking the passes for the people like you, they should have a advance payments or some similar arrangements so that people don’t back-off at the last moment…

    anyways…hope you get the pass…all the best…

  3. mmm..english music and status symbol..have seen quite a lot of people showing of with that,but you cant label the whole crowd like that..but the point that people do not develop a liking to carnatic music is a fact..just the singers and their family seems to do it 🙂 but of late,these reality shows have brought in a change is what i feel…

    1. I would say people don’t develop a liking to the Indian music because they are not getting exposed to it.It is not true that only singers and their family like Indian music.But there are people who are reluctant to admit that they like Indian music.When their kids go away from it,all they can do is to sadly watch it and tell themselves that they are helpless.

  4. Interesting post… I think I too started listening to popular English music just so that I dont look an idiot in my peer circle… But I never much enjoyed Backstreet boys, Spice Girls, Britney and the likes… Since Papa z a huge fan of Hindustani, Persian and western classic, it was always there…
    And youngsters do revere Indian music… When I was in Delhi there used to be these spic macay concerts where big names (& small names :)) like Chaurasia, Pattammal, Zakir H, Anoushka, Gangubai, Ravi Shankar, Pt. Sharma etc etc etc perform. And thousands of students and youths used to attend… we even requested for particular ragas and keerthanams… this shows we not only enjoyed but also z pretty knowledgeable abt it…

      1. By d way, Pattammal and Gangubai passed away in 2009. I was fortunate enough to listen to one of their final performances. Pattammal’s journey to fame is an incredible one. A true source of inspiration to Indian music and Indian women.. See if you can get some of her records.. You wont regret it 😀

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