Kaushiki Chakraborty: The attention span of the youth is a concern - Hindustan Times

Kaushiki Chakraborty: The attention span of the youth is a concern

Apr 05, 2024 02:09 PM IST

Kaushiki Chakraborty says technology has benefitted musicians, but the excessive use of social media takes away the ‘privacy’.

As someone who has been around in the music space for over three decades, singer Kaushiki Chakraborty has seen the Indian classical scene undergo several changes. Talking about the most recent ones, she says, “I started singing on stage with my father, Ajoy Chakrabarty, as a child, almost 30 years ago and a lot has changed. Some very positive changes and some that we are yet to understand. Some changes were obvious due to the advent of the internet. Every concert is recorded and streamed live on social media and YouTube now and can be watched by anyone from anywhere in the world. So, concerts are no longer localised like they used to be. Also, the YouTube archives that none of the younger musician could have access to previously when I was younger is really helpful now.”

Kaushiki Chakraborty
Kaushiki Chakraborty

Kaushiki recently performed at a concert in Mumbai, where she paid tribute to six legendary female vocalists -- Gauhar Jaan, Noor Jahaan, Begum Akhtar, Kishori Amonkar, Shobha Gurtu and MS Subbalakshmi. She goes on to share how technology has impacted the listeners, which is not really a positive one. “To me, the attention span of the younger generation is a genuine concern. Classical music is not just a mode of entertainment. Yes, it’s entertaining and transports the audience to a blissful state of mind, but it requires a certain kind of attention, devotion and commitment to the craft, for both the artiste as well as the attendee. I see audiences coming to concerts and when the music unfolds in a slow tempo in the beginning, they scroll through WhatsApp and Instagram, which doesn’t help,” says the singer.

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She adds that even students of music aren’t able to focus on their sessions, thanks to the excessive use of technology and the distraction that comes along: “In a class – online or offline -- where students are supposed to learn music, checking your phones frequently diverts your attention. I’d request the younger generation to educate themselves about the power of technology and to use it to their benefit. But we shouldn’t lose ourselves to doomscrolling.”

Talking of social media, the singer feels that sometimes, “it becomes very difficult to maintain the privacy and personal space that creative artistes desperately need”. She explains, “I sometimes need to be alone to focus on things and be on my own. But, somebody will post a picture or a video or do something that takes away the solitude. I have seen a very nourishing musical space, where musicians would sit together, jam and learn from each other. To find that necessary privacy has become a challenge nowadays. I don’t remember my father or other musicians of that time being so concerned about what kurtas to wear, what colour they’ve been wearing lately and not repeating concert outfits. It’s become such an issue now (laughs).”

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    Soumya Vajpayee is the Senior Editor (Lifestyle & City) for Hindustan Times HT City (Mumbai and Pune) and writes on music, entertainment and lifestyle.

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