The voice of the satvik veena

The voice of the satvik veena
There seems to be no trace of weariness in his voice. Though musician Salil Bhatt, who plays the satvik veena, carries the lamp of Indian classical music around the world frequently, he sounds fresh and resonates the same energy he exudes on stage. He will be performing with his father Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on June 6, 7 pm onwards, at Chowdiah Memorial Hall.

Supported by Round Table India and Sriram Properties, the event is to raise funds for the veteran Kannada theatre artiste, Malathi Saroj, who is currently battling for life.  Salil recalls his friendship with Malathi and her husband, which dates back to decades. “We knew that Malathi was suffering but it was only recently that her condition turned worse. So, my ‘guruji’ and I decided that we would put forward our expertise and raise funds for the concert.”  

He has planned nothing for the big day though — neither popular ‘raagas’ nor unique compositions but he assures music-lovers that they will enjoy themselves. “Our presence on stage is very spontaneous and our performances are impromptu. We decide once we analyse the audience and the ambience. It may be a concoction of classical, folk or a Western embellishment.”   Salil likes the audience who mirror his personality — bold, confident and energetic. He analyses his audience at every place he performs and feels that this City has a musical ear.

“I don’t like grim people, who listen to my songs like statues,” he says, bluntly. “I like a crowd that screams and sings with me. I find a very rapturous audience in Bengaluru. This City gives me hope in music and I love coming here.”    Brought up in a family of musical luminaries, which mostly acted to his advantage, he is quick to retort that he wanted to carve a space and surrounding of his own in the musical world ever since he was a child.

   “I did not want to be the shadow of Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. He is a legend and will always be.” Though Salil attended military school and finished his MBA, he took the element of risk and decided to pursue music as he thought that he would “die of boredom” if he takes up a conventional job.  He was brought up in a fiercely independent household where he was left to tread on his career path alone and he finds himself imparting the same system of upbringing on his son, Satvik. Extremely proud of his son is stringing his melodious journey as well, Salil says, “Satvik is ten steps ahead of me.” 

Even today, Salil’s invention, the ‘Satvik Veena’ continues to evoke rhythms that dance.
This musical signature of his was a concentrated effort to lure the younger generation into the concept of western instrument and introduce them to the tone of the traditional sound; so that they feel connected to the universe. The man with a finesse in his notes, it is his dedication to music that has rendered him a stalwart.

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