Tanjore/Thanjavur Veena - the best?

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Tanjore/Thanjavur Veena - the best?

Post by glorplaxy » Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:51 am

I am planning to go to India in the not-too-distant future and will be flying into Chennai. I will be there for a while so I thought I would head over to Thanjavur to try to find a veena, as I really want a veena and I hear that the best are made in Thanjavur.

Can anyone tell me about buying a great veena in Thanjavur? I'm trying to figure out how much it will cost and it's look like it should be somewhere around rs10,000 . Is that right? Does anyone know of any good shops? I don't need a shop with a website or anything, just an address/location, name and some sort of general comments about the place.

Also, I hear Thanjavur is a good place for Carnatic music in general. How easy should it be to find some great performances in comparison to, say, Chennai?

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Re: Tanjore/Thanjavur Veena - the best?

Post by musicslug » Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:49 pm

even if the best vinas are made in Thanjavur, I'd be surprised if the best instrument shopping wasn't in Chennai - it's the NYC of S. India. I can't give you specifics - it's been too long since I was there - but I think the 'snakepit' aspects of buying an instrument in places like Delhi and Varanasi are largely absent in the south, for the simple reason that you don't have many (any?) gullible, uninformed westerners looking to buy instruments there. that being said, you're probably better off if you buy your vina with the involvement of a guru. I'd just do some research into who's considered a good teacher and approach him/her with your situation.

as far as performances go, you will undoubtedly be deluged with great music in that part of the world. my experience there was that the music there is far more 'democratic', in the sense that there are lots of public concerts and festivals - the 'southies' LOVE classical music!

and don't miss the 'temple music', nadashvaram/thavil ensembles (usually two of each instrument) - this music has gotten next to no exposure in the west, a situation that I hope changes soon.

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