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Nandan Herlekar a musically gifted artiste

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Life of man is a per-destined path, rightly designed by the supreme power. Since childhood, he had a dream of becoming a stage singer. And yes, at this stage of his life, he says, Yes! Mission accomplished! Meet music maestro and Guruji of many Nandan G Herlekar of Belagavi.

Shri Nandan Herlekar
Shri Nandan Herlekar

Nandan still remembers the day when he sang for the first time in front of a crowd and when he was only eight and sang a patriotic song in a remote village in the Nanded district of Maharashtra on Republic Day. It was appreciated by one and all and was very halcyon and on the wings of ecstasy. He took part in the musical activities in the school & fortunately, some staff members of the high school encouraged Nandan to sing and act on the stage on every occasion. His first Guru was Shahir Bilgoji. Together 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. Deshpande. Nandan sang all the songs in the drama.

Nandan was a student of Pt. Nehru Vidyalaya of Shahapur-Belagaviduring 1970-73 and then his PUC in Govt. Chintamanrao Jr. College in 1974-76, B.A. in RPD College during 1976-79.

Nandan Herlekar passed the ‘Gayan Kala Visharad’ exam from Bharat Gayan Samaj, Pune in 1983 and passed ‘Sangeet Vidvat’ with first rank in Karnataka state in 1984. At the same time, he completed M. A in History. All along this time he composed dance dramas on various topics and presented them with the help of Mrs. Sandhya Hosmani, a leading Bharatnatya exponent.

nandan herlekar

Nandan’s college days were also wonderful. Prof. Arvind Yalgi 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 and also accompanied him on the harmonium.

Along with music, he began his career as a sub-editor in ‘Belgav-Varta’ and then became an assistant reporter for Belagavi for a 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’. He even today writes reviews on music and also articles on music in the current generation.

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He began teaching Bhajans and eventually founded his music class in 1982 and began teaching vocal music and instruments like Tabla and harmonium and today this center is 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 two and half decades in K. V, he has enjoyed his job with hundreds of his own compositions, skits, poems, group songs, dance dramas and many other genres.

Nandan always thinks 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 chat 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 that we enjoyed from the core of our hearts. He inherited the ‘Seva’ of the 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 the Datta Jayanti festival of six days had been wonderful in our lives. I immensely benefited from the music I listened to 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 the presence of my father, he taught me the first lesson at Maniknagar in 1973. Back in BelagaviI 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 at 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 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 the 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 your advice to the young aspirants who plan to take up music?

Nandan —–>“Go ahead, see, learn and conquer”. Music is unfathomable.

Has being in Belagavi helped you in your musical career or do you think otherwise?

Nandan —–>Belagavi has made me whatever I am. Though the sphere is limited, I have done a lot musically and have done whatever has not been done by anyone earlier. So I am happy with my town.

What is the best thing about Belagavi you like?

Nandan —–> “North-South, East-West” My Belagavi is the best! After you return from any place to Belagavi during summer, the so-called “hot” Belagavi feels “cold”. (This year the heat is too much tough).
What is it that you wish Belagavi had for music lovers like you?

Nandan —–> Since earlier days, Belagavi is a heaven for music lovers. Music toppers lived here. The “Samskara” done by the stalwarts has 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 artists are achieving without much struggle. It is a very good thing. We, the old timers are happy about it, but sometimes are sad of the lack of enthusiasm among the youngsters.

30 thoughts on “Nandan Herlekar a musically gifted artiste”

  1. Dear Sir,

    Congratulations for your coverage on AAB. Well you have lived life as per your wish & interest which is really great. Your contribution to music is real one.

    Would like to share some of my collections about Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Sufi music during my next vacation & I am sure you will enjoy it. Warm regards, Atul Bandge Ex K.V. Sambra Student.

    • Dear Atul
      I am happy to see your message on my profile. I was actually looking forward to meet you this time also 'cause generally we meet in May-June. Any way thanks for your comments.

      • Sir, it was a great post… N u are indeed star of bgm city… Sir can u plz give ur contact number or email.. Because my sister n her friends wants to join singing classes.. N I will be happy if u guide them…..

  2. Sir,
    I have a very keen desire to learn classical music. But the problem is i dont know anything aboput it. where and how can i contact you in belgaum. may i have your contact number ad the address of your music class

    • Thanks Adwait for your feelings. Please make music your priority in your daily routine. It will strengthen your concentration power. Thanks again.

  3. Dear Sir, Charansparsh,
    i am great to the person who has put ur interview on Internet, i was overwhelmed to see you after 25 years. i was studying in KV Sambra when u were there, i use to come to you for playing Bongo, may be u don’t remember me bt i remember lot of golden moments spent with you learning abc of music in Music Room. Sir, i would be greatful if i can get ur e-mail id so that i can be in touch with you

    • Dear Mahaveer
      I remember you and your anxiety to learn music through percussions. I still have some fond memories while teaching your group. Thanks for remembering. You can see my email address on this page.Please be in touch.

  4. Nandan sir is an extremely gifted teacher….infact the best music teacher i hve ever got the opportunity to learn from..kv sanbra is fortunate enough to get Nandan sir as thier music teacher…….

    • Dear Lopa
      I remember you as my favorite singer in all my special compositions. Be it on annual day or in any special item in assembly, you were always there. Please be in music, it will keep you happy through out your life.
      Thanks for your feelings.

    • Dear Aravind
      I am very happy to have you as my student in Kv2. I am bound to help you all to learn more in music. You are welcome.
      Thanks for your feelings.

  5. नमस्कार
    मी अभिमन्यूची मैत्रीण. आपली मुलाखत वाचून फार आनंद झाला. कलेसाठी सर्वस्वी वाहून घेणार्‍या आपल्यासारख्या माणसांविषयी मला खरच खूप आदर वाटतो. केवळ संगीतच नाही तर आपल्या व्यक्तिमत्वाचे विविध पैलू ह्या मुलाखतीद्वारे वाचता आले त्याबद्दल मनःपूर्वक आभार.
    तन्वी पराडकर.

  6. I am extemly happy to read this and appreciate the efforts of AAB. We are really proud to b his students…not only bcause he is the great teacher…we share ..MY BABA…feeling with him…he is an ocean of knowledge,a great composer…a keen observer..and the best teacher who will bring out the best in his student and nurture his students to grow with their own thinking power and talent in a rightful way…Thank you sir for being with us…we are truly blessed

  7. My all best wishes for your musical journey
    मराठी मधे भाषांतर केल्यास ज्यास्त लोकांना समजेल

  8. Dear Sir,
    I am extremely greatful to seek Table coaching from you. Even today whenever I play Table, I remember you. On this occasion of Guru Pournima I want to express my sincere gratitude towards you… Thank you for all your time, guidance & blessings…
    Can you please provide me your latest contact details, so that I can get in touch with you again.
    Best regards,
    Nilesh Sutar
    9967052839 (Pune)

  9. Nandan Sir, one of the most wonderful person i came across in my school. Even today sir i remember that you brought out the best in me. Thank you so much sir for making me learn music. I remember our school annual days, drama s n plays… n ha The Hiranyakhapha s… Malhari dev ?
    All beautiful days ?.
    Other then this sir i still remember in some function when i came near you so seemed quite busy so i didint speak to you., but you took time n came near me and said in tha functiom…. how are you dear Aruna?? … This is you sir.. A real example of humanity, love, care n positive attitude towards life..

    Sir i wish you a very happyyy birthday to our music master Shri Nandan Hegde ji with lots of love..

  10. My music teacher from KV sambra. Bunked your most of the classed to play football but you never forced any one to sit in class. You were known to be very kind person that time.
    Acche sir han.. chalo footabll khethe hn… 😛

  11. Dear Nandan Sir,
    You are immensely blessed Artist in all fields of culture as a Singer, Playing all the instruments, a Writer, a Composer and above all a Great Person and so much down to earth. It gives me great pleasure to see you being honored by AAB and feel blessed to know u from my childhood.Let your blessings be showered upon us

  12. मित्रवर्य नंदनजी याना
    योगायोगाने मुलाखत वाचावयास मिळाली. प्रत्यक्ष भेटीचा आणि गप्पा मारल्याचा आनुभव आला. आनंद झाला. धन्यवाद!!


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