If you live in Mylapore, considered to be the hub of the cultural activities in the south Indian city of Chennai, you can now spend time listening to the music of the masters of Carnatic music.
Step into the local branch of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan which is a neighbour of the famed Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple, sign up for a fee and step into a cabin where you can sit down, put on the ear phones, choose from a huge choice of Carnatic music that is digitized and sit back and enjoy it.
The Bhavan's TAG Digital Listening Archives unique facility was launched on Sept. 12 evening by N. Murali, President of The Music Academy here.
For now, you pay two hundred rupees as subscription for the facility which offers over 1000 hours of music of the masters.
And if the facility gets a huge response, it could be expanded.
Officially, this is an initiative by TAG and by the man who heads this business corporation, R T Chari. Chari joined hands with The Music Academy, shared his huge collection of music on all kinds of formats and after digitization, launched the TAG-Music Academy Archives in 2008.
Rasikas, researchers, students and musicians can sign up here and enjoy the recorded music. The Archives have now been shared at about 9 centers, some collleages and some sabhas.
This week, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan launched the facility in what is certainly a central space for rasikas. Mathew Chacko, Managing Director of Precision Informatics (Madras) Pvt. Ltd., Chennai has developed and donated the software.
The digital equipment for the archives have been donated by Ramu Endoments, Chennai.
Chari, an engineering grad and successful entrepreneur caught on to Carnatic music much later and says he was enthralled by it. He went on to organise concerts in Chennai's suburbs where his factory is located, and recorded the music.
Further, he joined a closed band of rasikas who had huge collections of music on spool tape, cassettes and on LP records. In time, Chari's collection ran to over 8,000 plus hours. And he collaborated with The Music Academy to showcase the collection. In doing so, he ensured Carnatic music of the ages was preserved and it was easily disseminated.
In time, many private collectors have donated copies to the TAG-Academy's archives and Chari says the team is at the hard tast job of cleaning the taped music, digitizing it and releasing it.
You can contact the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Chennai at 91-44-2464 3450