By Shrimathi Devi
‘Nadapiya project’ is the child of our dream to compile and publish the bandishes composed by my Guru Pt.Narayan Panditji. Being trained violinist in Gwalior tradition, Panditji had acquaintance with legendary musician Pt.Kumar Gandharvaji and he was very much influenced by his Guru Kumarji’s ideas on Sur, Lay and Raag. And he was trying to bring out these ideas through his violin. But, later in his journey after returning back to his home (Gokarna, Karnataka) from Mumbai, he started composing the bandishes with this fresh, new, thought provoking ideas which are embedded with full of bhava.
When he became unwell to play the violin because of spondylitis problem, he thought about teaching music for aspirants. That time he found that many traditional bandishes are unfit to teach little students because of their lyrical contents and some are poor in defining raaga and expressing bhava in their construction. So, with all his knowledge and thoughtful understanding of ‘Raag sangeet’, effortlessly the compositions started coming out as per his need and wish. His very first bandish is in Kalyan, ‘Mayi tu janat ho”. I t is in the form of prayer to goddess Saraswati requesting for ‘flawless voice, lightning tans and for thinking mind’. If we think about this line, we will understand his stand behind his music. And this ‘thinking’ or ‘being thoughtful’ was his main idea which makes him and his compositions unique. He referred his bandishes as 'Abhinav Khayal bandishes'. And his theory or the thought as 'Bhava soundaryavada'.
It is my fortune that I got the opportunity not only to learn from him but also I had great time listening to his ideas on music on its larger context, Kumarji’s music, philosoply etc. I used to stay with him for a week and so on my every visit to Honnavar for nearly 5-6 years, and this gave me rarest opportunity to experience and feel how any bandish takes its form. Panditji used to hum a single phrase the whole day by tapping his writing table while searching to get a next good phrase to develop it. And he would be so much happy after completing the bandish that he would call any of his students to share this.
Narayan Panditji has composed close to 200 bandishes which includes Vilambit, Madhyalaya, Drut bandishes in Khyal, Taranas, Tap Tarana, few Tumris, beautiful Tappas, Dadra, Gazal ect.
When I was learning from Panditji,(I used to call him fondly as ‘ajja’) I did’t have any voice recorder with me. I was practicing and trying to understand the intricacies of the compositions that I have learnt from him. Later it happened so naturally that Sri.Ravikiran Manipalji, the foremost disciple of Narayan Panditji accepted me as his student which made possible to learn further more compositions of him with its underlaying ideas. I should thank my Guru Ravikiran Sir for this.
Ravikiran Sir and myself and few other students of Panditji are performing Panditji’s bandishes in our concert since quite a few years now. And these compositions are getting much appreciation from the music lovers and the students of music are showing interest in learning them. Panditji’s compositions have got published in Kannada by his another disciple Dr.Sharada bhat in 2010. 150 bandishes written by Panditji are included in this book. But now this is out of print and because of the restraint in language this could not be of much use outside Karnataka. So, the idea of publishing all 200 bandishes in Hindi with recorded CD or pendrive came to our mind. My father in law, Sri.Aravinda Hebbar, the founder of Ranjani Memorial Trust, who had the long association with Panditji, took this initiative of present project. And he has been there with my each and every step of recording the bandishes, making the videos and writing on Panditji. And thus the work is here.
My husband Saranga devoted his time for all the technical works related to this project including making the videos, out of his love and respect towards Panditji. Without his technical assistance I would not have done this. I have got unconditional support from my mother in law, Vasanthalaxmi Hebbar which made me engross completely in my work.
Well known Harmonium player, composer, musicologist Dr. Chaitanya Kunte is a constant supporter and guide since the day I am introduced to him in Pune in 2009. After listening to Panditji’s compositions from me, he and his friends Swapna Datar, Ravi Joshi came to Manipal to interview and discuss with Panditji and this is well documented by them. As it is a precious treasure now, we are also going to use them by publishing it in several parts to bring Panditji, much closer to music lovers. Kunteji has written article on Panditji back in 2011 has got published in ‘Sangeet Kala Vihar’. And now he revised it and translated it to English for us. Kunteji has listened to my bandish recordings and gave important suggestions. My heartfelt thanks to Chaitanya Kunte Sir.
Vid.Apoorva Gokaleji, renowned vocalist has a great admiration for Panditji’s bandishes. During my visit to Bombay, she asked me that ‘do the musicians have to learn Kannada to learn these wonderful bandishes or you all students will do something for that?’. Definitely I can say that her words have increased our speed. Appreciation from many such learned musicians, made us to understand that it is necessary to publish the bandishes to make it reachable to more people. Swapna Datar, violinist from Pune has given her constant support and guidance for this project. My humble thanks to Apoorvaji, and Swapnaji.
We have published close to 30 bandishes of Panditji now which includes one recording by Panditji himself. We aim to publish more such recordings in future along with other available sources related to his life and music. We need all of your support to move further.