- Panns: The Tamil region since ancient times has had a well-developed music system, mentioned in the Sangam literature and extensively discussed in the 2nd century epic Silappadhikaram. The Tamil bhakti texts (circa 7th century AD) such as the Thirumurai and the Devaram were set to panns (ancient ragas). Unfortunately, large parts of this music was lost after Malik Kafur's raids in the south. Whatever remains has been assiduously preserved by a dwindling number of odhuvars, who traditionally sing these hymns in temples. The panns are believed to have had considerable influence on the development of the Carnatic ragas.
- Abhang, the bhajans of the Marathi saints, Namadev, Jnaneshwar, Tukaram and others, who were bhaktas of Vitthala. To this day, their itinerant followers, called the varkari panthis, celebrate the names of the Lord in these songs of intense devotional fervour. The abhangs even spread to the Thanjavur region (which was ruled by Marathas) and were merged into the divya-nama tradition of Tamilnadu.
- Vachanas: In the 12th century, a Shaiva movement was founded in Karnataka by Basaveshwara. A revolutionary, he fought caste, glorified manual labour and condemned ritualism. The ideas of Basava and his followers (cutting caste and gender) are expressed in Kannada poetry, called vachanas. The original melody of the vachanas are probably lost; they are now sung in the Hindustani style.
Recently I met a gentleman who has recorded such music, but is unable to find anybody willing to market them. He has produced the Thirumurai sung by an odhuvar in the original pann system, abhangs by varkaris as well as basava-vachanas. Marketing people expect a well-known name on the label for reasons of commercial viability, but the authentic sources of such music are unknown and poor persons languishing in remote villages or temples. The gentleman I met is very commited to such an undertaking; he has set up his own studio for this purpose; he also has a keen attention to detail evident even in the aesthetically created jackets for the CDs.
Do readers have any suggestions as to what could be done to market such productions? I was thinking along the lines of setting up an e-commerce site. Probably Yahoo! Store is an option to consider; does anyone have experience with such stuff? Or better ideas?
Suraj Kumar, a Carnatic enthusiast and guitarist who works at Amazon, suggested:
I talked to folks. Seems the Amazon Advantage Program will fit you right. BUT... are you trying to sell only to India? or Will this include global audience as well?More suggestions from Shivku and Sivaram in the comments below.
The good thing is the kind of systems that we have in place that would help you as a seller. Firstly, when you decide to sell via most online stores, the route is quite long. You as a publisher / producer will have to go to a distributor and the distributor would place your product on a lot of different places (amazon, barnesandnobles, etc.,.). But you end up paying up a lot of cuts. This would be advantageous if you expect a whole lot of audience purchasing your product (like you are selling iPods).
This is why the amazon Advantage program is beneficial for small sellers.
Thanks a lot everybody!
Update 2: The details of the pann recordings: (These were produced by him for Kosmic Music, not for his own fledgling company.)
1. Pann muraiyil Thirumurai (3 volumes - audio cassettes)
2. Pann muraiyil Pasurangal (2 volumes - audio cassettes)
Both by Muthukandasami Desikar, the odhuvar at the famous (Rock Fort) Thayumanavar Temple, Trichy.
The panns covered are:
Nattapadai (Gambhira Natta), Sigamaram (Malavagowla), Thakkesi (Kambhoji), Kolligouvanam (Navaroz), Megharagakurinji (Neelambari), Pazhamthakkaragam (Arabhi), Vizhakurinji (Saurashtram), Thakkaragam (Kambhoji), Nattaragam (Panthuvarali), Sevvazhi (Yadukula kambhoji), Kausikam (Bhairavi) and many more. (I am too lazy to type all of them.)
These cassettes are also listed on the Kosmic Music site.