Santosh Kulkarni young versatile tabla maestro and guru

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santoshSantosh Kulkarni 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.

Santosh is the son of a noted Tabla player Shri. Gajanan alias Bandopant Kulkarni, since childhood. He has breathed in the Bol of Tabla all his childhood and made his tender fingers suitable to his rhymes.

A humble Annaji Kulkarni of Mastmardi must not have dreamt of Santosh, his grandson would be an able Tabla performer of today.

At the age of eight , he gave his first Tabla performance on the stage of Sangeet Kalakar Sangh and also of Arts Circle, Belgaum. His grooming was perfect, as he was consistent in learning and grabbing good ideas in Tabla either from his father or from Guru Pt. Basavaraj Bendigeri of Dharwad. His inquisitive mind brought him to another maestro Pt. Sureshji Talwarkar of Mumbai. Sureshji has strengthened the musical mind of Santosh and has molded him into an impressive performer.

Today, Santosh is a “Tabla Alankar” of ABGMV Mandal and “Tabla Vidwat” of KSEE Board of Bangalore. Winning with the first prize, in the State and National level Tabla competitions has been his obsession and pride. He has participated in the Youth Festivals since the year 2000 and has won the first prize in “Inter-University Youth Festival”. His participation in Orange Festival Nagpur, Goa Festival, Marathwada Festival, the festival of Guwhati has given him a sense of true rhythm in the life of an artiste.

His performance at the “Winter Carnival” in Manali gave him a much wanted break. His young and enthusiastic mind was happy to receive the felicitation from the Maharaja of Jaipur and also from Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

Including Belgaum, Santosh has traveled a lot to give his performances in the conferences at Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Mount Abu, Nasik, Kolhapur, Bangalore, Calicut, Trivendrum, Chennai, Aurangabad, Tirupati, Mysore, Shillong and at many other places. His participation in the programme “Taal Sadhana” is a matter of pride for him. The connoisseurs have appreciated his thoughtful and eager performances.

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’.

His solo performance at the triennial music conference of ABGMV Mandal and during the ‘Kannada Sahitya Parishad’ at Belgaum was much appreciated.

Santosh has supported 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. He is also examiner to Nationwide music exams conducted by Akhila Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal Mumbai. He conducts a continuous workshop on Tabla at Doha Qatar organized by “Thunderkids”.

Santosh and his wife Pallavi have two lovely daughters named Dhwani & Swara and Pallavi is good singer and likes Santosh’s Tabla playing skills.Tabla jugalbandi with Santosh's fatherguru Pt Bandopant kulkarni Doha Qatar
To celebrate 25 years of the institute a special program has been organized GHARANA. The highlight of concert is gurushshya parampara.

Date: 14 August, 2011
Time: 5 pm
Venue: Lokmanya Rang Mandir (Ritz theater) Konwal Galli

Santosh speaks to AAB:

You started to play the Tabla at age of four?

Santosh Kulkarni — > Four or may be a bit earlier. Playing the Tabla for me was nothing new as the sounds of the tabla were constant in my house my father and Grand father being very good tabla maestros. 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.

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

Santosh Kulkarni — > Why this Question? Definitely Belgaum has helped me to mold myself as a good artist. The time one gets to do “Riyaaz” is the most important for any artist and in Belgaum one can get ample time with great weather to do it. There is less pollution when compared to other cities and the audience of Belgaum is very good and responsive. One can scale good heights in music only if he can “Riyaaz” and I guess as get good time to do it here, I am happy to be here.

What are your thoughts on the young generation being taken away with rock and pop?

Santosh Kulkarni — > Rock & pop is also part of music and there is nothing wrong in people being more lured to it. But yes they should not undermine the Classical music by any means. I also perform in fusion concerts just to let everyone know how the instrument can perform in all sectors.

Your thoughts on the upcoming talent in Belgaum how can one groom oneself being here.

Santosh Kulkarni — > The upcoming talent of Belgaum is very good. 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.At a Fusion Concert at VTU

What is that you wish Belgaum had for music lovers like you?

Santosh Kulkarni — > Auditorium in the first place. Even when Belgaum is a factory we really dont have any good auditoriums in the city with different seating capacities. So if I have a small program I am forced to take the 700 seater only, in other cities this is not the case. Also due to non availability of good auditoriums many great artists dont perform here.

Narrate some interesting incident good or bad during your career till date?

Santosh Kulkarni — > The best incident which is good and changed my life was in 1994-95 was a turning point in my life. I was performing live and I met Suresh Talwalkar and he asked me whether he would like to learn under him. He groomed me the best.

The worst incident I remember is one that happened in Kittur. It was a event organised by a party and there was heavy stone throwing at the event due to some ill fighting between groups of the party. We all had to run helter skelter to come back to Belgaum. Another incident was during 1995-96 roits in Mumbai where I was stuck in Mumbai.

Tell us more about your Narayan Tabla Institute?

Santosh Kulkarni — > Narayan tabla institute was started in Belgaum in the year 1985 by Pandit Gajanan Kulkarni a very renowned tabla artist. Institute was started with a handful of students which has now trained more than 2000 students worldwide. This is the biggest tabla institute in South India. Now Santosh uns the institute. The main aim of the institute is to popularize tabla learning by innovative methods and at the same time also preserve the traditional practices laid down by the maestros. Many of the students trained in here are now full fledged artists.

To celebrate 25 years of the institute a special program has been organized GHARANA. The highlight of concert is gurushshya parampara.
Date: 14 August, 2011
Time: 5 pm
Venue: Lokmanya Rang Mandir (Ritz theater) Konwal Galli

You tour so much which is your favorite place and why?

Santosh Kulkarni — > I love Manali(HP). I love to play in that atmosphere of the pahadi.

Your future plans?

Santosh Kulkarni — > I will continue to teach at the institute and spread the tabla culture and will do my bit till my last.

What is the best thing about Belgaum you like?

Santosh Kulkarni — > Belgaum, the climate the best. The food is also the best and I love it.

What are your thoughts on this website? 

Santosh Kulkarni — > I have heard of this site from many but haven’t really read on the site, but now it is great to see my story on it and I have known the editor Uday since College days where he used to participate in youth festivals.  

7 thoughts on “Santosh Kulkarni young versatile tabla maestro and guru”

  1. Great to know about another pearl from our very own "BELGAUM"..

    Thanks to All About Belgaum to bring this information up here..

  2. I had not heard of Santosh Kulkarni play and this was the first on the video provided above. I must say that the sounds that he is able to get from the tabla are enchanting and very soul touching. Very impressive. My best wishes to him and may he shine brighter than the stars. All the Best!!

  3. 🙂 another drummer from my bloodline! 🙂 the clan of Mastmardi… 🙂 i played with Santosh some 10 years ago in a concert where i played drums… being a novice drummer, i had a tough time really understanding the intricacies of tabla and classical percussion… but i learnt a lot… it was a pretty decent concert, but even today i wish to do that show again… He was awesome in being able to teach me complex things in very simple numbers… today i really understand what he was trying to explain to me! :-))))))
    I wish him luck and look forward to see him soar in success and ofcourse, look forward to playing with him again!

  4. Hi people.. Aditya Gupte here from Mumbai.. it will be great help for me if I can get the contact details of this great tabla player Mr.Santosh Kulkarni. Also visiting belgaum on 5th June for plnning to host a event in the month of july of pure classical concert. if anyone can come forward in helping to plan a successful event for the people of Belgaum whom I have seen witnessing greats like Zakir Hussain,Taufiq Qureshi and Niladri Kumar..
    waiting for a positve response.

  5. Santosh Kulkarni Sir has always been the best when it comes to creating innovative music with his tabla. Unlike some artists who try to restrict the tradition of their music, Santosh sir has created a genre of music where he blends his tabla tunes smoothly with other musicians and create master pieces time and again. His audience are always left with an awe and an unsatiable craving for more.

    Santosh Sir has created many fusions with Shri. Sanjay Deshpande, a noted Sitar maestro. Their concerts are revered everywhere.

    I had the privilege to learn tabla under such great personality.


  6. How do I contact the tabla institute? Why there is no contact number or address? Where is narayan tabla institute located? Address and phone number please.


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