Music at heart and spanner in hand...

Music at heart and spanner in hand...

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A strong passion makes one to follow it for his satisfaction though it is not a bread-earning profession for him. Here is C R Rajendra Prasad, whose passion for music has made him to practice and even teach children. Most interesting thing is he is a mechanic by profession who breathes music with art in his genes, finds out Shivaranjini S

for perfection: Drummer Prasad practicing at his home in J P Nagar, Mysore. dh photo by prashanth h g

Rajendra Prasad, who runs Gururaja Service Station in Mysore since 1997, was born in a family where art was inherited by all members. His father C V Ramarao was violinist, while his mother Gowramma was a singer. His elder brothers again musicians and his two elder sisters were Kathak dancers. Not to stop there, His wife Mangala is a singer, while his elder son Bharath R Prasad has completed his junior in flute and younger son Sumukh R Prasad is practicing drums. “Glamourous looks matter now, local live artistes are looked down,” he says.

Rajendra is a drum artist who started his venture when he was just 16. He recollects his starting days where he was paid something around 50 paisa per song by the ‘Anna Thangi Orchestra troupe’. After working for various orchestra teams and music bands like Jyothi, George Prabhakar, Mohan, City Entertainers, he started his own troupe ‘Rhythm Makers,’ which performs even now for selected programmes.

Their main concentration is on classical music related programmes along with old movie songs and strongly opposes modern ‘karoke.’ He opines that musical nights now-a-days have lost meaning with no live artists performing and regrets for lack of scope for such live performances in the age dependent on modern technology which has overtaken even music.

With ITI course at hand he worked for Rollon Chains industry but later stuck  to his passion and travelled to Singapore, Gulf, Malaysia, Italy, Bahrain and other countries for five years with Mumbai based band ‘Magnificent 7.’ Prasad was the only one from Mysore while the other six of the band were from Mumbai.

Known as drummer Prasad popularly, he is efficient of playing around seven instruments. Including the drum, he plays Cango, Thumba, Jambe, Dohlak, Tabla and Percussion, Rhythm Pad, Morching and Mridang. He was even teaching music for free as he thought ‘art should not be sold.’ But irregularity of students and negligence of parents forced him to collect some amount of fees.

Practiced for some time under guidance of Babanna, father in law of singer M D Pallavi, Rajendra has to his credit, played music for film artistes like Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan and others.

He has even worked with Jesudas, S P Balasubramanyam, L Vaidyanathan, G K Venkatesh, Sadhu Kokila, Janaki, Usha Uttup, Manna De for live musical nights. He recalls playing drum for actor Shivarajkumar’s first stage performance at Mysore exhibition grounds. He has even played for live performances of many kids of TV reality show fame.

Rajendra has worked as background musician for movies like ‘Ondu Muthina Kathe,’ ‘Kugu,’ ‘Shankanada,’ ‘Huli Hebbuli,’ and a few others.

Prasad remembers actor Rajkumar who called him ‘Abhimanyu.’ “Rajkumar was always a down-to-earth artiste who spoke to all music artistes on stage, inquired about their health and life before starting his live performance. Not all artistes have affection and consideration for artistes off screen.”

Inspiration

If for any musician, if their inspiration is any achiever, for Prasad, it is his house environment. On Thursdays and on festival days their house will be filled with bhajans in which the whole family participates. 

Prasad opines that money is not a matter for true artistes. “Recognition with just a garland and hands of audience for a clap is more than any honour. Spirit of artiste won’t lag behind for petty humiliations, but for sure would be a matter of discouragement. Many of them who know us well refuse to recognise us but people who know value of true artistes have always been kind with words.”

He opines many of present artists lack discipline on stage, respect for fellow artistes and most of them are ‘acting artistes.’

Along with his health problems, though finding it difficult, Prasad is playing his role as a responsible mechanic and a passionate musician with mechanical instruments in one hand and musical instruments in the other. He says if his service station earns him money for livelihood, music is the only thing on earth which soothes him.

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