Chennai’s Carnatic Music Tourism

Carnatic music has been gaining acceptability and popularity among the masses and has become an industry in the last two decades. Carnatic music is not just about devout singing of kirthanais any more. There is lot of hype, glamour and all the trappings of the entertainment industry of the world. New stars are born, awards conferred, new albums and books released, new concert venues added to the ever increasing list of concerts.

The dull, cloudy, rainy days of December, known as Margazhi in Tamil is livened by the strains of carnatic music spilling from the concert halls all over Chennai. It’s something like the Mardi grass of Carnatic music. The crowds descending on Chennai in the month of December for the world famous Music Season stands testimony to the name Chennai has acquired, “Mecca of Carnatic Music”.

Chennai’s December music season is instrumental in creating a new industry, the carnatic music tourism,  which is now a major  contributor to economic growth like many other industries. It has helped create allied industries and create job opportunities to thousands of people.

I know of lot NRIs who embark on their annual music pilgrimage in December, travelling to Chennai to immerse in music. They plan their trip months in advance, book tickets, not just air tickets but also tickets to the innumerable concerts in the innumerable sabhas – concert venues in Chennai. They book rooms in hotels, rent apartments or choose paying guests accommodations, if they do not have relatives in Chennai to host them for a month.  It’s a great time for hospitality industry in Chennai at this time of the year.  Most hotels in Chennai do not accept any corporate bookings during this time of the year, so that they could cater the ever growing demands of the carnatic music tourists.

The following articles make an interesting reading that highlights these developments in carnatic music.

Here are some news, articles, snippets on Music Season 2010.

Listen to Sanjay Subramaniam singing Sadhachaleswaram of Muthuswamy Dishithar in the ragam Bhoopalam

In the days to follow I will highlight the impact of carnatic music tourism on Chennai, its economy,  the people, artists, music lovers all over the world and the status of carnatic music itself.