Sign-up for Newsletter

Music > Review
Margazhi Migrants
24 January, 2015

- Sukanya Kumar

The season is almost over, music, dance and the margazhi, a cultural potpourri that keeps the city ticking for near two months.

Performers, learners, connoisseurs all flock to this cultural capital to catch up with culture.

Besides visiting friends, catching up on the temple visits, buying silk and cotton, real and artificial jewelry, sambarpodi, pickels and thattai, murukku, poli and so on the main agenda is visiting sabhas clad in silk sarees and kurtas; the ethnic Indian fare.

“Though we are well versed in Western music, we take great pride and learn Carnatic music as well and come as often as possible to listen to live concerts. It is an expensive venture but worth it,” says S.Ashwin from United States who comes with his siblings to appreciate the art forms and reconnect with Indian cultural scene.

Such is the magic of themusical season that once a visitor you become addicted.

“It is a beautiful experience, year after year. The first time I came a couple of years ago, I visited many cultural venues, like Music Academy, Kalakshetra and other sabhas. From then on I come whenever I can and more particularly during the season to enjoy the concentrated entertainment,” says Celine Kraus, a French student who lives in Italy and learns from Meressa Noglia, a disciple of Krishnaveni Lakshmanan. Celine is thirty seven years old and a very enthusiastic fan. 

Reckoners, websites and mobile apps help the rasikas to know the happenings and choose the venue for the day.

“Though I am a qualified doctor by profession, I opted for performing art. It was a difficult decision and I decided after months of contemplation. My parents both doctors were very supportive and it made my journey easy. I come to Chennai from Canada both to learn and perform during season,” says Sujit Vaidya, disciple of A Lakshmanaswamy.  “Coming to Chennai has opened my eyes to the abundance of talent and I am both amazed and motivate to strive to be one of them,” adds Sujit.

The trip to Chennai is akin to a pilgrimage, an opportunity to reconnect to the roots.

Daksha Rajagopalan, young dancer from Singapore shares, “I travel a lot and have visited many countries. I am curious to learn anything that’s new and have had many wonderful experiences. Yet, no place equals Madras during Margazhi. The variety and verve is contagious making each of my trip a memorable one.” She regrets that she had to miss this year’s visit as she is busy with her submissions.

We can describe the mood of Madras margazhi in great detail and it is an often spoken subject among art connoisseurs. Even so the proof of the pudding is the eating and one mustn’t miss having the firsthand experience.

About Sabhash - Everything about classical music, dance, drama and a platform for inclusive entertainment is the one-stop destination for the latest news and information on the performing arts of India - classical music and dance, theatre, bhajans, discourses, folk performances, and other lesser known art forms. Institutions that revolve around the performing arts have exploded in numbers, and thanks to the Internet which has made information easily accessible, the number of rasikas has grown too. Corporate patronage has played a big part in increasing the world-wide reach of the Indian arts. Sabhash wishes to be a platform for inclusive growth giving an equal opportunity and recognition to not only the main performer but also the artistes who accompany them on stage, and the people who work backstage and play the role of unsung heroes.