Nandan G Herlekar a musically gifted artiste
Life of man is a pre-destined path, rightly designed by the supreme power. He firmly believed in this. Since childhood he had a dream of becoming a stage singer. And yes, at this stage of his life he Says, yes! Mission accomplished! He is Nandan G Herlekar of Belgaum.
Nandan still remembers the day when he sang for the first time in front of many people. He was a small boy of eight years and sang a patriotic song in a remote village in Nanded district of Maharashtra on the republic day. It was appreciated by one and all and was very halcyon and on the wings of ecstasy. From that day his desire to sing grew and he was in search of occasions to sing. He anxiously took part in the musical activities in the school and then in high school. Fortunately some staff members of the high school were musically talented and they encouraged Nandan to sing and act on the stage on every occasion. He learnt a lot from one Shahir Bilgoji. They went to many villages to sing Powadas, Lawnis and other folk songs. During those years they staged a musical drama (Waga-Natya) “Pudhari Pahije” written by Pu. La. Deshapande. Nandan sang all the songs in the drama though they belonged to different roles.
Nandan’s college days were also wonderful. Prof. Arvind Yalgi, a very cultured man was the principal and he directed the same Waga Natya in college. Prof. Page, a Sanskrit scholar was the next principal. He sang “Geet Ramayan” beautifully. He encouraged Nandan a lot. He was very happy when he accompanied him on harmonium. They both used to sing on every occasion in college and also in private ‘mehfils’.
Along with music, he began his career as a sub-editor in ‘Belgav-Varta’ and then became an assistant reporter for Belgaum for newly started edition of ‘Sakal’s Kolhapur edition. It was a nice experience in writing columns and music reviews. He has also written hundreds of reviews and articles on music in ‘Tarun Bharat’.
Nandan was a student of Pt. Nehru Vidyalaya of Shahapur-Belgaum during 1970-73 (SSLC in 1973)
PUC in Govt. Chintamanrao Jr. College in 1974-76, B.A. in RPD College during 1976-79.
Nandan has passed ‘Gayan Kala Visharad’ exam from Bharat Gayan Samaj, Pune in 1983 and passed ‘Sangeet Vidvat’ with first rank in Karnatak state in 1984. At the same time he completed M. A. in History and Archeology. This made him a qualified for teaching music. During this period, he composed dance dramas on various topics and presented them with help of Mrs. Sandhya Hosmani, a leading Bharatnatya exponent.
He began teaching music to Bhajan groups and took some of them to AIR Panaji for broadcast. This was the time when he founded his music class in 1982 and began teaching vocal music and instruments like Tabla and harmonium. Eventually his institution became an examination centre of A. B. Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya of Mumbai.
In 1983 he accepted a job as a music teacher in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Air Force Station, Sambra. In the span of almost twenty seven years in K. V., he has enjoyed his job with hundreds of his own compositions, skits, poems, group songs, dance dramas and many other genres. Heepresented Bangalore region with twenty five students to Indore in 1990 and to Assam in 1998 for Cultural Exchange Programmes. He also had an opportunity to be a resource person for the in-service courses for music teachers for three times so far. He also has been a facilitator for oracle’s Thinkquest.org to teach the teachers to use websites for teaching music.
Nandan always think of composing new ‘Bandishis’, Taranas, Dhrupads, Dhamars and Chaturangs for the aspirants of classical music. He has written three books on music – 1: The Beginners’ Book On Hindustani Music 1998, 2: Revised Edition of the same in 2005 and 3: Tabla-Principle and Art. The books are popular among the music lovers of the country and also in music institutions in the U.K. and the U.S.A.
A small interview With Mr.Nandan Herlekar:
Tell us more about your initial training in music?
Nandan —–>In childhood my talent was tapped by my elder brother and sisters, who were good in singing. We belong to a heritage of traditional musicians. My great grandfather Pandit Damodarbuva Deulkar was a Dhrupad singer, a Pakhawaj player and a staunch devotee of Sant Manik Prabhu of Humnabad. He spent his whole life at his lotus feet. His son Vishubuva continued the tradition and I, as a child saw him chanting the ‘Gurumantra’ of Manik Prabhu and ‘Parans’ of Pakhawaj at an equal pace.
My father Govindrao Herlekar was a true lover of music. He took us to concerts where we enjoyed from the core of heart. He inherited the ‘Seva’ of music department at the Darbar of Maniknagar and we children were fortunate to listen to the great musicians of that time. Being Bapurao’s children (as he was popularly called!), we were treated with special attention by all at Maniknagar. The musical treat we received every year during Datta Jayanti festival of six days had been wonderful in our lives. I am immensely benefited by the music I listened there and have stuffed it in the inner part of my heart.
It was here that I met my first Guru in Tabla late Pt. Suryakant Gokhle, a talented Shishya of the great Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa. In presence of my father he taught me the first lesson at Maniknagar in 1973. Back in Belgaum I continued the ‘Riyaz’ and visited often Guruji’s house in Pune.
During that time I began taking lessons in vocal music from Pt. Sangameshwar Gurav in Vadgaon. After he went to Dharwad as a professor of music in Karnatak University, I was again in search of a Guru and I met Pt. Mrutyunjayabuva Puranikmath. Due to old age Buva was reluctant to accept anyone as a Shishya, but I was adamant and eager to learn from him. After a struggle of six months I could win his heart and he began to teach me. From 1979 to till his demise in 2002 he taught not only music, but the way of life.
Tell us more about your group during the Emergency days Madhav Vrunda?
Nandan —–>During emergency we formed a group called ‘Madhav Vrunda’ to spread the message of patriotism among the youth. Our group consisted of singers, orators, musicians and mimicry artists. Some names among them are Kishor Kakde, Avinash Vengurlekar, Dilip Deshpande, Bhalchandra Kalled, Ranvindra Karekar, Datta Jayade and many others. It was at this stage of life I began to compose music to the poems I liked. It was my duty to teach those songs to others and set music with musicians. I still wonder how I could compose hundreds of songs at that tender age. I have been doing the same till today with equal zeal.
How do you break the barrier of non-support from media to Indian Classical music?
Nandan —–> Let there be any support or not,I have been working in the field, many times swam across, followed the line of Rabindra Nath Tagore-”Ekla Chalo Re”. “Non-Support” is not at all a barrier to me.
Do you think electronic music instruments affect natural music?
Nandan —–>It is the person behind the instrument who is important. Electronic instruments are very smart. One must make proper use of them – artistically and yes, with brains! I puzzle myself by the use of them. I do not categorize music into natural and otherwise.
What would be you advice to the young aspirants who plan to take up misuc?
Nandan —–>“Go ahead, see, learn and conquer”. Music is unfathomable.
Can you tell something about Nandan Herlekar that the world doesn’t know?
Nandan —–> I do not think world is interested in me otherwise of music. Yes, they do not know that I am a history-lover. I traveled a lot on bicycle for the historical places.
Has being in Belgaum helped you in your musical career or do you think otherwise?
Nandan —–>Belgaum has made me whatever I am. Though the sphere is limited, I have done a lot (This is strictly confidential) musically and have done whatever has not been done by anyone earlier. So I am happy with my town.
What is that you wish Belgaum had for music lovers like you?
Nandan —–> Since earlier days, Belgaum is a heaven for music lovers. Music toppers lived in Belgaum. The “Samskara” done by the stalwarts have proved to be useful. The greats in the field made their Shishyas worthy of something. With the help of modern amenities and techniques, today’s artistes are achieving without much struggle. It is a very good thing. We, the old timers are happy about it, but sometimes are sad of lack of enthusiasm among the youngsters.
What is the best thing about Belgaum you like?
Nandan —–> “North-South, East-West” My Belgaum is the best! After you return from any place to Belgaum during summer, the so called “hot” Belgaum feels “cold”. YES! THAT IS BELGAUM!!!
What are your thoughts on this website?
Nandan —–> I liked the caption! ALL ABOUT BELGAUM! I think any topic, any subject or anything that connects with Belgaum is about this website. You and your friends (whoever has inspired you to begin it) are worthy to be appreciated a lot for this modern day necessity!