There are many pointers to this continuing vitality of Carnatic music. One of the first signs that it was not a dead canon came in 1985 when top musicians like Bombay Jayashree, P. Unnikrishnan, Sanjay Subrahmanyam and others came together formally (under the Youth Association for Classical Music) to cater to a new generation in non-traditional ways. It proved a successful guiding force in discovering new talent, facilitating regular interaction between performers and listeners, and kindling interest among children.
The cash-rich NRIs who descend on Chennai for their annual dose of culture every December-January too are not an insignificant factor. For all their excesses, they offer not only a new source of patronage, but have spurred Carnatic musicians to link up with global audiences as well. In the 1980s, violinist L. Subramaniam ploughed a lonely furrow, cutting fusion albums and exploring global sounds, departing from the conventional 13-item, three-hour concert format. It is a path that younger instrumental wizards N. Ravikiran (Gottuvadyam) and U. Srinivas (mandolin) have followed with success.
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