This contest may have been a low-profile one held at a hall alongside the verdant Nageswara Rao Park in Luz, Chennai. But the people who backed it can now sit back and relish the effort.
Perhaps for the first time a contest was held to spot some great talent among young nadaswraam and tavil artistes. And the people behind this effort were the ones who run Parivadini and Brahma Gana Sabha.
Parivadini's Lalitha Ramachandran has been hosting scores of young such artistes for some years now at his festivals / concerts. Also, he has developed a genuinely close and serious relationship with the maestros.
The contest, whose finale was held a fortnight ago in Chennai, had a purpose. As Ramachandran says, " There is no dedicated competition at the moment for nagaswaram and tavil. A twenty year old promising youngster in vocal or in veena is well known among rasikas today. Whereas in nagaswaram only established artistes are in the limelight. We wanted to hold a competition to change the situation at least in a small way."
Some 70 artistes responded to the contest which ran a preliminary level at some centers across Tamil Nadu. "I think this event gave them an opportunity to benchmark their artistry as well as learn from the interaction with judges (who were well known names), " he says.
Four judges including senior, well-known vidwans like Thanjavur T R Govindarajan and Thiruppamparam T K S Meenakshisundaram at through the final round. And they were encouraging in their responses when most contestants were stiff and somewhat challenge dby the occasion.
The winners will be featured in concerts through this year.
Says Ramachandran, "We also plan to conduct workshops where all finalists will be participants. Since this was the first time, we were tentative in our approach (in this contest). I think we will be more confident next time. The big plus is that we now have a talent pool to dip into."