Archive for April 17, 2013


Gift of Grandparents

“I miss him still today: his long, whiskery eyebrows,
his huge hands and hugs, his warmth, his prayers, his stories,
but above all his shining example of how to live and how to die.
Bear Grylls, Mud Sweat and Tears

I hope the day isn’t far off for an exhaustive online library tracing the roots of Indian film melodies ….both old and new…..to carnatic raagas and folk music….the folk songs of India are a dying tradition , and its futile to google the raaga on which the song is based , because nothing  turns up even after 20 pages of searching…….doesn’t really matter to me …….but makes a lot of difference to traditional music aficionados like my dad .

A rare musical library in town – The Hindu.

The collection is a treasure trove for classical music lovers.

They can read articles, books, journals on Carnatic music and listen to rare audio and video recordings of renowned musicians, thanks to Saptaparni, which launched ‘Swara Raga Nidhi’ – Musical Archives library on Ugadi. “The inspiration for preserving the treasures of our Carnatic music came from the late Palagummi Viswanadham,” says Rajani Vakkalanka of Saptaparni and adds, “The maestro didn’t want the books to be confined to individuals and book shelves. He would say, ‘We have this treasure, it should not end with us. It should go to people and we should pass it on to the next generation.” “One can sit in a peaceful atmosphere here amidst books and continue reading. The ambience creates the mood,” he says and adds, “It is a humble start. We don’t want to be greedy and accumulate thousands of books.”

If you are done with reading, one can even listen to the audio recordings of legends like M.L. Vasantha Kumari, Voleti Venkateswarlu, Srirangam Gopalaratnam and M.S. Subbulakshmi amongst others.

“There is a big collection of rare recordings in the form of audio cassettes. We are in the process of digitising these audio tapes and it is quite a big project,” smiles Rajani. Nevertheless, some recordings have been digitised.

A user-friendly software SMILE (Saptaparni Musicals Interactive Library and Encyclopaedia) installed by Chamarthi Radhakrishna, a retired scientific officer at Thumba helps music lovers to listen to the recordings. “At present we have the recordings of Carnatic vocalists and instrumental artistes. We will eventually have the Hindustani music recordings too,” says Anuradha Reddy who signs off, “We have taken a small step and hope to take it positively forward.”