The uniquely gifted khanjira maestro G. Harishankar passed away in Chennai on 11 February. He was barely 44 years of age. His untimely demise is a great loss to Indian music.
Harishankar was a khanjira artist who had no equal. His accomplishments were quite remarkable, especially so considering that the medium of his expression was a poor cousin in the percussion family, with limitations arising out of its small size and single playing side. Once seen as the cheap tambourine often associated with mendicants, the instrument gained in stature mainly through the efforts of the mridanga maestros of the Pudukotai school; Manpoondia Pillai in particular is given credit for popularising the khanjira as an upapakkavadya in classical music concerts, while Dakshinamoorthy Pillai was also hailed as a master of the instrument. Harishankar enhanced the status of the instrument further, adding dimensions which possibly did not exist before.
The Mad Mad Madras Season Of 2001-02 An Update
The final figures for the four month long festivals season are in and they clearly show that the madness is magnified. The total number of programmes at the end of February this year have crossed the 2000 mark and have just stopped short of 2100— at 2098.
In February this year, 14 organisations conducted festivals offering 107 programmes— 77 music and 30 dance programmes. Nine out of the 14 organisations had already conducted one or more festivals in the months of November 2001 - January 2002.
The total number of music and dance programmes presented between 1 November - 31 January stands revised at 1991. The accompanying table giving the updated figures is an extension of the master table published in Sruti 209.