Ganesh and Kumaresh - The tech savvy classical musicians
By R. Sreenivasan
Natyataringini, an institution to propagate Kuchipudi dance form which originates from the coastal regions Andhra Pradesh, has been established by Guru Raja and Radha Reddy, anchored fabulously by Kaushalya... For little over a decade Tarangini, has been organising Parampara, a festival that brings doyens of Indian dance and music to celebrate the various forms. Some time back, I had the opportunity of attending a festival of dance and music, Parampara organised by Natya Tarangini. Parampara 2010 was focused on contemporary interpretations of dance and music. It featured distinguished exponents – Guru Raja Radha Reddy’s Kuchipudi dancers, Guru Gangadhar Pradhans’ Odissi troupe and Kumidhini Lakhia’s Kathak group. The musical jugalbandhis were presented by – Pt. Vishwamohan Bhat with Pt. Ronu Majumdar; Violin brothers Ganesh and Kumaresh; Sitar and Veena Jugalbandhi between Sitar Maestro Gaurav Mazumdar and Veena
Vidhwan Jayanti Kumaresh.
Every performance was an enlivening one. While the group performance of dancers explored the boundaries of the dance forms, the jugalbandis in the second half had been a revelation of pure enchantment.
One of the jugalbandis that stood out was of Ganesh and Kumaresh. Being brothers, their understanding of each other is so deep that you can even see the mannerisms reflecting from one to the other. If you get to see them performing live, there would be many instances when you watch both of them having same expressions on their faces even while they are not looking at each other. The music was so melodious and the play between them was entwined. If one would listen to the audio, one may not even realise that there are two players. They started off at a wonderful pace that mesmerised everyone in the audience in a single go.
I soon realised that Ganesh and Kumaresh did not stand out because of their renditions on violin only, but also because of the way they use technology. The stage was full of electronic gadgets. Their personal MACs took inputs from their respective violins, going on to record the entire performance, modulate the sound that is given as input to the audio system in the auditorium etc. So, unlike other artists, Ganesh & Kumaresh just plug in their laptops and gadgets and start playing. They were not worried about making any adjustments, as their laptops are configured to give the output with the pre-adjusted settings. The jack of the audio system was just plugged into the amplifier/ mixer connected to their MACs and Voila and lo! It is time to go on air…
I even shared the idea with Ganesh & Kumaresh, that they could conduct a workshop for all open- minded musicians on how to use technology to enhance the experience for themselves and the audience at the same time… After all, technology always helps you to grab attention from the
public. While I was busy photographing the event, with Ganesh & Kumaresh sitting just a row ahead of me, I suddenly heard a familiar buzzing emanating from under my chair.
I slowly pulled up my camera bag and realised that the voice synthesizer of my mobile was busy reading all messages from my inbox. I calmly switched the mobile off…
Kumaresh, sitting a row ahead of me, then narrated an interesting episode of how technology may also play truant at times. Kumaresh talked about one of the concerts in the US where the brothers had performed. The show had just begun when Kumaresh’s laptop control started declaring that the show is about to end! He had to fix it manually as the show was still in progress…
All in all it was a great weekend and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
You can check out the pictorial documentation of the Parampara festival, including those of Ganesh & Kumaresh at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sreenivasan/sets/72157624553865259/with/4870939853
— The writer is the director at Indus World School of Business, Greater Noida