Trying to save a fading instrument

Trying to save a fading instrument

With an aim to promote the harmonica, artistes and students gathered for the ‘Bangalore Harmonica Festival 2013’ held at Jain College, 9th Block, recently.

The event was organised by the Bangalore Harmonica Club in association with Sonido Musicals. The day-long event comprised performances by well-known harmonica player Saitejas Chandrashekar and ‘By2Blues’ band. The highlight of the day was the performances by Hamsanada, a group of more than 50 young harmonica players.
The event kicked off with a presentation on the early history and development of the harmonica in India. It traced the major benchmarks that have taken place in popularising the instrument.

Elaborating on the idea behind the festival, Nidhi, a member of the club, said, “We felt there was a need to save the harmonica as the instrument has been dying. There is a need to bring more attention to this instrument and make it popular. After holding many shows, we decided to have a festival to promote this cause.”

The musical show, which began with Hamsanada’s performances, included Shaktisahi Ganapatim, a European melody performed in Sanskrit lyrics and Vande Meenakshi, a recital based on an Irish folk song, among others. Explaining how the children became a part of this event, Nidhi said, “Saitejas is a member of this club and when we decided to have a festival, making his students participate in this event was everyone’s choice. They are all students of Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir.”

The show also set the stage to introduce the young players. Saitejas said, “From Carnatic to polka and from Bollywood to waltz, these students have performed all. Participating in this show is just another feather in their cap.”

The Carnatic vocalist took the opportunity to thank all the parents for their support. He said, “It’s wonderful to see the responses from parents and the efforts they have taken to bring their children on a weekend. Each kid has performed very well.”

The music festival had an element of glamour too. Kannada actress Shubha Poonja was present among the audience. She said, “I am thrilled to be a part of this show. It was an honour to be present among such talented children. I was told that such a festival has been organised for the first time in the country. If these kids could put up such a great show, I am curious to know what more they are capable of.”   

Performances by Ananth Menon and Vasudev Prabhu from ‘By2Blues’ were held during the later part of the day. Other events included a workshop on the types of harmonica, its maintenance and a narration on the versatility of the instrument.