Don't we need gaana concerts in the music festival?
were to define music in the simplest of terms, it is merely a well-arranged
interplay of sound and silence.
To an ordinary music lover such as this
reporter, any sound that is soothing to the ear is great music and needs to be
celebrated. Going by that yardstick, the gaana songs that originate
in the ghettoes and poorer neighbourhoods of Chennai, and were popularised by
Tamil cinema, are just as good as any other genre of music.
December, the city comes alive with the annual month-long music festival,
claimed to be one of the longest in the world. Even as the numerous sabhas andkutcheri halls
reverberate with renditions of the centuries-old genre of music, Carnatic music
remains a mystery to the vast majority of citizens and receives patronage of
only a few who are able to appreciate the nuances of this form of music.
comparison, the gaana songs are easily accessible to the
regular music aficionado despite the crudeness of the rendition and the
local Tamil that could be argued is its USP.
the word ‘gaana’ simply means 'song' in Hindi, none of the gaana singers
of Chennai seem to really know how it came all the way down south. Despite
being sung at funerals and other social occasions in the poorer neighbourhoods
for decades, gaana songs came to a mainstream audience only
after music director Deva, popularly known as the father of thegaana genre, composed them
for Tamil cinema.
Over the years, several gaana singers
emerged in the city whose music CDs are extremely popular at wedding receptions
and other public events.
“But, we have seen the gaana song emerge as a
major form of music entertainment and is now much sought after by several film
makers to enthuse B and C class audiences,” says music director Siddharth
Vipin, well known for the gaana hits in the recent flickIdarkuthane Aasapattai Balakumara.
“It is the favourite music of the poor in Chennai, much like jazz music is to
the oppressed blacks in the United States,” he says.
Music industry experts in the city point out that these songs are no longer
restricted to B and C class audiences as is claimed. “These days, we see that
many of gaana songs receive appreciation from all sections of
society and many shed their inhibitions and rush to the dance floors even in
posh nightclubs when it is played as a teaser in between rock or salsa music,”
says a city-based DJ.
music genre that is gaining such popularity, the gaana songs
still do not find a place in the December music festival. When this reporter
asked one of the topgaana singers
in the city about his genre also getting recogntion at the music festival, he
says, “I do not even want to comment on it. We are just ordinary people trying
to make a living." It is all about ‘Kaasu, Panam, Duttu, Money Money’.