Madras Season Reports
It was music, mostly Carnatic classical music, that dominated the scene during the festival of festivals. The 53 festivalmongering organisations in the field scheduled as many as 1306 concerts. Only 18 of these were by music ensembles,- the rest were performances by soloists, a term which in a few cases encompassed two musicians performing in tandem as well. The soloists included vocalists as well as instrumentalists and they were accompanied by musicians playing the violin, the mridanga and upapakkavadya-s like the ghata, khanjeera and morsing, not to mention tavil. Allowing for the probability that many of the same individuals took part in more performances than one, the total number of musicians participating in the 1306 concerts was possibly several hundreds, if not a couple of thousands. This is a figure which is not easy to comprehend, but it is one of the features of the festival factiile that makes everyone, in India as well as in the worldwide South Indian diaspora, sit up and take notice of "the Madras season". The Chennai festival season is indeed an extraordinary event; it is unreal only if one looks beneath the bubbly surface.