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Carnatic gifts
Ever wonder what to give your Carnatic music fan? If you know someone is a Carnatic music lover, get them something they want! Here are some ideas:

  1. Make a collection of music

    A great personalized gift would be a collection of favorite songs. It shows you really put some thought and effort into your present. Don't be limited by just favorite or interesting songs - maybe you can make a collection of his favorite singer's live concerts, or songs in her favorite raga. A mridangist would appreciate a collection of thani avartanams. Use your imagination. You can create your own custom CD for a fee at Hamara CD, or burn your own.

  2. Music supplies

    Rather than give them music, why not supplies? Perhaps someone could use a new set of strings. Give them a neat new acid-free notebook that won't fall apart. Other ideas include pitch pipes, throat sprays, specialty rosins, refillable pens, and cases.

  3. Electronics and instruments

    With all the cool new electronic supplies these days, you're sure to find a hit here. Consider: tuners, voice recorders, text scanners, shruti boxes, CD and mp3 players, not to mention tamburas, violins, mridangams, cymbals, kanjiras, morsings, veenas, and every other instrument under the sun. Check for local secondhand versions and get a pro or teacher to test them out before buying.

  4. Books and media

    Fans of Carnatic music will love a collection of lyrics and notations, especially if they perform. Others might appreciate a biography, a simple book that explains the basics, or a detailed exposition of theory. You could get a set of volumes of a composer's books, a popular book of ragas, or the CD lists of compositions and lyrics. These days you can also find a variety of CD or DVD-ROM materials with interactive elements, or even music videos that would make great gifts.

  5. Photos, posters, and paraphernalia

    People who love music might also appreciate a symbol of it. You can now get posters of famous composers, photos of artists, and banners. Or make your own: take a favorite musician's photo and emblazon it on a tshirt with iron-on transfer paper. You could even use some fabric paint to make a tshirt that says, "Carnatic musicians are cooler," "Ananda bhairavi," "Violinists rock," or anything you like.

  6. Make your own kit

    The most personalized gift can be simple and a conglomeration of smaller gifts. Gather together a tote bag for a new student, and fill it with a notebook, pen, a voice recorder, headphones, and a sarali varisai book. Teachers would appreciate a handbag filled with stickers, attendance and homework sheets, a CD of rare music, and of course, cash. Vocal students could use music notation books and a tuner, along with some blank CDs. Give instrumentalis a case or cloth, rosin, a pitch pipe or a a metronome. For a rasika, collect some old tapes and put them in a carrying case along with tickets to the next concert. Pull different gifts together.

  7. Cards

    A few companies make cards in which you can record your own greeting. Try performing a part of a song for it in your own voice or on your own instrument! If you can't find one of those, use pictures from magazines and online to create cards of Carnatic moments. You could even use our kartoons for handmade cards! Be sure to recycle.

  8. Wrapping it up

    Before you wrap up your gift, consider using an interesting packaging. Use photocopied pages of a notebook or music book (they can use the lyrics later). TIe on a few stickers, or decorate with sa ri ga ma. You could also wrap gifts in pages of a music magazine or drop them in a bag from a genuine music shop. You can also use traditional carrying bags or coffee or jute bags for unique gift coverings.

When you've got the perfect gift, maybe take up a collection of things you have lying around the house that you love but have used too much. Someone else might appreciate them, so set them aside. The next time a Carnatic fan has a birthday, you won't show up empty-handed!


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updated on 12/05/2008