From India to America, England to Mexico, Australia to the United Arab Emirates, in France, Germany, Italy, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia-wherever Indian classical music is played, the Tabla player is in demand as a soloist and as an accompanist. Meet Tabla guru from Belgaum Santosh Kulkarni who now spreads the sounds of percussion even in Qatar, who is in Skills Development Centre.
Santosh is a young and a versatile tabla player from India who is known for presenting a variety of music forms on his Tabla, right from the very authentic Peshkar, Kayda and Bandish to Fusion Music. Santosh also has done his M.A in History and L.L.B. Presently he is doing Doctorate in Tabla. Son of the noted Tabla player Shri. Gajanan alias Bandopant Kulkarni, He has breathed in the Bol of Tabla all his childhood and made his tender fingers suitable to his rhymes. At the age of eight, he gave his first Tabla performance on the stage of Sangeet Kalakar Sangh and also of Arts Circle, Belgaum. Pt. Sureshji Talwarkar of Mumbai has groomed Santosh into a performer who not only plays Indian classical but also fusion and has been the sole Indian in the Desert bridges Music Album series in which the world’s best performers participated.
Santosh has developed his own unique style int he traditional way for presentation. His “Peshkar” sings, while his “Gat-Kayadas” ance with his fingers impatiently. His albums, Taal Sadhana, and “Journey” have been well received by the Tabla aspirants. He has supported the music direction of the Malayali films ‘Om’ and ‘Aryam’ with his melodious Tabla.
The fusions with the apt compositions of Shri Santosh Kulkarni has been a great composition to himself to the new music. Some of his fusion compositions include, ‘Taal-Yatra’, ‘Rhythm’, ‘Taal- Sadhana’, ‘Sur’, ‘Manasollas’, ‘Speed’, ‘Jod-Taal’, ‘Naad’, ‘Trinity’ and ‘Dhun’.
Santosh has accompaned many top vocalist and instrumentalists with his Tabla. Smt. Suhasini Koratkar, Pt. Nityanand Haldipur, M Venkatesh Kumar, Pt. Ganpati Bhat, Prakash Sangeet and Sanjay Deshpande to name a few.
Other than Tabla Concerts, he runs an academy of his own to teach the Tabla at the Narayan Tabla Institute Belgaum and also in Doha.
Speaking to AAB, Santosh shared some views on his musical journey – Santosh – “ I started to play the Tabla when I was four or may be even earlier. The sur of the taal and the tri taal was on my ears the day I was born. So as a small kid I used to play with the Tabla just like any other toy and never realized when I learned the tabla. My first Guru was my Father Gajanan alias Bandopant Kulkarni and later I learnt from Pt. Basavaraj Bendigeri & Suresh Talwalkar.”
“Even after making so many performances with the World’s best performers, still doing a performance in Belgaum is no match to anything. But the lack of a good auditorium hampers our inspiration to even perform in Belgaum. Belgaum has so many good musicians who are doing so good to the music fraternity but very sad that they hardly perform in Belgaum due to non availability of an auditorium.”
“ The upcoming talent of Belgaum is very promising. Parents are eager to see their child do something more than studies. And as it is said “ a factory is different from the showroom” Belgaum is a factory where talent is groomed and then the talented artists go all over the world and spread the sound of music.”
“I have performed lately in Bharian at the world cultural conference, in Doha at Taal yatra music lovers club started by Santosh himself. I have also performed at Indian business council Kuwait along with Belgaumite Pt.Sanjay Deshpande.”
“The Desert Bridges album has been a big success for me. For the same I got to work with the best such as Cheo Jeffery Allen Solder, USA-Switzerland-Qatar: Poet, Writer, Playwright, Musician; Anna Grichting, Switzerland-Qatar: Architect-Urbanist-Musician; Shadi Fauzi Alashoush; Syria – Qatar: Oud, Rababa; John Sass, USA – Austria: Tuba; Frank Wilkins USA: Composer – Producer – Keyboards; Taoufik Mirkhan, Syria – Qatar: Qanun; George Oro, Syria – Qatar: Tabla, Percussion; Eliana Burki, Switzerland – USA: Singer, Alp Horn Player; Béatrice Graf, Switzerland: Drums and Percussion; Amal, Qatar: Singer; Abeer Soliman, Egypt: Storyteller.”
“ In Qatar I take a 3 months course for Tabala and have given basic lessons of the tabla to more than 1500 students there.”
“ I firmly believe in the Guru-Shishya parampara and I believe sternly that music needs to be taught in this fashion alone to make one a maestro.” Santosh plans to hold a special program on 17th August, 2014 named “Paramapara”, derived from the 3 Paramaparas he has lived with – this is the 8th generation of the Kulkarni in performing arts, the Guru Shishya Paramapara and also all the students of Pt.Narayanrao Chikkodi would ensemble at the Lokmanya Rang Mandir Konwal Galli to give their performance and also felicitate.