For the torch-bearers of south India’s rich legacy of nadhaswaram music, Subhan Kasim and his younger brother Subhan Babu, winning a joint prize in the Carnatic instrumental music genre at the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards 2018 this week has been a pleasant surprise.
“We are proud to have received this recognition. It is an added honour because our grandfather and guru Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sheik Chinna Moulana received this prize in 1976 and I was fortunate to perform with him at the post-award concert,” Mr. Kasim said.
Srirangam-based Mr. Kasim and Mr. Babu are among the 44 artistes chosen by the General Council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi, for the prestigious awards this year. Nominees for the award, which carries a cash prize of ₹ 1 lakh were selected from the field of music, dance, theatre, traditional/ folk/ tribal arts, puppetry and overall contribution/ scholarship to the performing arts.
Originally from Karavadi in Andhra Pradesh, the Chinna Moulana family has over three centuries of experience in playing the nadhaswaram. Despite emerging as a noted performer in the Andhra style of Carnatic music, Sheik Chinna Moulana decided to explore the Thanjavur ‘bhani’ (school) which allows for greater variations in presenting ragas. He settled down in Srirangam after his career took off in Tamil Nadu in the 1960s.
Kasim and Babu trained under their grandfather from a young age, and as founders of the Dr. Chinnamoulana Memorial Trust, have been encouraging the growth of traditional nadhaswaram music and supporting aging artistes since 1999. Both the brothers are the special nadhaswaram artistes of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.
Winning the award had added to their responsibility, said Mr. Babu. “We have to maintain the purity of the form, and take the music to the next generation. Technological innovations are slowly diluting traditional arts. The award will help us to focus on nurturing talent in the right manner.”
The Akademi honours will be conferred by the President of India at a special investiture ceremony later this year.
(source : The Hindu)