I've not written in a long while which is so typical of me. I've been quite busy being lazy that I couldn't find time to blog though I've had quite a few interesting thoughts come to my mind in the past few months.
MDR - M.D.Ramanathan
MMI - Madurai Mani Iyer
GNB - G.N.Balasubramanian
Ariyakudi - Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar
SSI - Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer
KVN - K.V.Narayanaswamy
TMK - T.M.Krishna
TRS - T.R.Subramaniam
I think I may be a little too prejudiced when it comes to Carnatic music possibly influenced by my propensity to sing along with the music most of the time. I'm at a stage in Carnatic music where I'm not 'qualified' enough to understand the greatness of GNB, Ariyakudi or Alathur's music but have gained sufficient listening experience to abhor (extremity is a passion of mine) the music of Yesudas, Aruna Sairam et al. The latter stems from being a passionate listener of MDR, MMI with frequent visits to SSI, TRS, KVN, S.Balachander to name a few. MDR and MMI were stalwarts in their own right with MMI having a mass following then and now. MDR, on the other hand, has come to be appreciated only recently though he did have a few dedicated fans then. Regardless, both these musicians were unorthodox in their own right. MMI developed a distinct style of his own, introducing 'la la' phrases in his alapanas, predominantly singing sarva laghu swarams and from my observation, not laying too much emphasis on the krithi rendition. MDR distinguished himself by his slow pace (when speed was the name of the game), nonchalant and laidback approach to music using the krithi itself as a vehicle for manodharma.
This is just a theory and I'd be glad if people can prove me wrong. The common factor in both their music is that, from a musician's perspective, it's difficult to learn from them. Though MMI was successful as a performer, his success was primarily due to his ability to present complicated music in a simple manner thereby making it appealing to the layman (depends on the layman though :-) ). It is difficult for someone to mimic his style and become as successful. The fact that TVS has done a fairly good job of it is laudable but he is still considered by some to be a poor copy of his uncle. Again, I don't blame him given that he had the unenviable task of carrying on his uncle's bani and trying to be different at the same time. The same logic applies to MDR and in his case it's fairly obvious that no musician is going to succeed singing at his pace. I have heard people criticizing TMK for singing too slowly. (D'oh!! Just when I was thinking that that was the best part of his music).
So, this alienates me from people who are learning/have learnt music since they tend to listen to say GNB, Ariyakudi more. But having listened to MDR, MMI, I also cannot listen to Yesudas, Santhanam since they don't sound very good to my ears. This alienates me from a lot of newbies and people who seek less from music than me. Understandably, it's difficult for newbies to appreciate MDR or MMI. Due to the reason mentioned in the beginning of this post, I also do not tend to listen to female artistes much except MLV. This puts me in a position where the number of people I can relate to, in terms of music, is a handful.
Well, I forgot the point I was trying to make. I leave it to the reader to make his own conclusions. :-)