For the love of music

of melodious tunes

For the love of music

A  group of friends woven together by the common thread of music  travelled from place to place to witness classical music programmes in and around their place. While undertaking such journeys, they deliberated on bringing artistes to their place for the benefit of those music lovers who were deprived of time and other resources. This was when the Shastreeya Sangeet Sabha took form in Karkala in 1992.

In over two decades, the musical odyssey of this humble Sabha is illustrious. The Sabha’s main objective has been to promote Indian classical music through concerts and workshops and to bring about music awareness among common people.

Though the initial plan was to arrange performances of four artistes every year, in the first year itself, around ten programmes of upcoming artistes of the area as well as reputed artistes from other places were conducted. Since then ,the Sabha has conducted numerous Carnatic and Hindustani concerts. The programmes, in fact, cater to all kinds of music enthusiasts and the occasional festivals are a musical treat for many. The grand music programmes were an oasis in those days of rare musical events.

Encouraging the youth

In order to promote music amongst youngsters, the Sabha conducted district level competitions in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada in different categories comprising vocal and instrumental. The competition was called Kala Sadhana and the competitions were held in both Carnatic and Hindustani styles of music. The competition, which provided a platform for aspiring artistes, has received an overwhelming response.

The three-day National Youth Music Festival conducted by the Sabha in 1999 featured artistes from across the country. Artistes like Pravin Godkhindi, Salil Bhatt, Sandeep Chatterjee, D R Raju, Ranjani Hebbar, Chandan Kumar, Shounak Abhisheki and Sumedha Desai regaled the discerning audience at the grand event.

Prakash Shenoy, general secretary of the Sabha, proudly admits that all the then upcoming artistes who performed in Karkala are well known today. “Funds have never been a problem,” he says. Though entry is free for most of the programmes, the Sabha collects funds through the sale of passes and tickets for some of the programmes.

Shastreeya Sangeet Rasaratri is another programme organised by the Sabha. This all-night music programme was organised at frequent intervals initially. After a few years, the nature and schedule of the programme was changed, and now it is an annual event and the programme is organised on a Sunday from 9 am to 9 pm.

To mark the decennial celebrations, the Sabha organised Tataka Sangeet Mahotsava from 2010 to 2014. This week-long annual music programme was scheduled from evening till midnight. The oil lamps around the tank of Sri Venkataramana Temple lent a divine ambience to the event. So far, the Sabha has hosted concerts featuring more than 500 artistes. The fact that the activities of the Sabha inspired the birth of a couple of similar associations elsewhere in the vicinity speaks volumes about the impact of the Sangeet Sabha.

The significance of the Sabha is that it does not restrict itself to any one discipline and gives equal preference to both Carnatic and Hindustani music. The programmes organised by the Sabha draw music aficionados from far and wide. “Once, one of our patrons told me, ‘We were not aware of the enormity of classical music, but these programmes have made us fall in love with music once again,’” recalls Prakash. Currently, S Nityananda Pai, is leading the association, as its president.

Karkala has been a stop in the musical itinerary of well-known performers like Vidyabhushana, Ullas Bapat, Ajit Kadkade, Ronu Majumdar, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Zakir Hussain, Rajkumar Bharathi, Vittal Ramamurthy, M S Sheela, N Ramani, Srinath Marathe, Mandolin Srinivas, Sudha Ragunathan, Parvin Sultana, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shubha Mudgal, Yesudas, M S Gopalakrishnan, Nityasree Mahadevan, Nakod Brothers and Tarun Bhattacharya. The Sabha is known to have had a strong influence on Mahalaxmi Shenoy, an acclaimed Hindustani vocalist hailing from Karkala, during her formative years.

Though the Sabha’s main objective is to bring about music awareness among the general public, the Sabha which is at the threshold of a silver jubilee year, has achieved much more. For details, contact prakashenoyk@gmail.com.

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