Shreedhar was born in a family where music was the soul. All the family loved music. Shreedhar got his first music lessons from his mother who herself is a harmonium player. He was later groomed under the guidance of Pt.Rambhau Bijapure of Belgaum, who is a leading Harmonium player in the country.
In the recent past Shreedhar is taking advanced training in Khayal Gayaki from Pt.Yashawantbuwa Joshi, one of the senior vocalists of the Gwalior Gharana.
He did his schooling from B.K.Model High school and then completed his Bachelor’s degree in Science from R.L.Science Institute in 1991.
Shreedhar has been giving public performances, since his childhood. At the age of five he was well known for the rendition of Geet-Ramayan, the epic written by Shri. G. D. Madgulkar and music by Bapuji (Sudhir Phadke). People used to applaud whenever young Shreedhar rendered light classical songs, bhajans, etc. in his melodious voice, with amazing perfection of swar and taal.
With proper guidance and regular riaz he gained precision, enriched his collection of songs and acquired mellowness in his staging. His open mind and politeness are the additional qualities.
Equipped with all these, Shreedhar has travelled widely giving music performances – Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad, Dharwad, Hubli, Karkala, Kundgol, Cochin, Savantwadi etc. to name but a few. His recitals are regularly telecast on Udaya TV.
Clear and precise swar lagav, portrayal of all the features of a raga and its angas including aalaap and different patterns of taans, fluency in all the three octaves, etc. are the main features of his presentation.
Recognizing his talent, several awards have come Shreedhar’s way at various music competitions. Sur Singaar Samsad was conferred upon him “Surmani” title. Without becoming complacent Shreedhar is going ahead, with firm determination to attain new heights in the realm of Hindustani classical music. As a rising star, he deserves every appreciation and recognition.
Some excerpts of his interview:
1. Do you remember your first performance?
Shredhar: I don’t know where, but my first performance was at the age of 5. My mother tells me that.
2. You got your talent groomed by Pt.Rambhau Bijapure some experiences with the great master.
Shredhar: Well, he is a popular person and I need not tell about him as a person. But as a Guru, he is an exceptional person. He has accompanied almost all the top ranking vocalists of yesteryears. He has accompanied Vocalists of all schools (Gharanas) of Indian Classical Music and has thought over the different aspects and varieties of styles. His experience is open to all his disciples. Though he does not sing, his fingers work that magic. I never felt that I was not learning under a vocalist. He made the Harmonium sing. He is a very patient Guru. He accompanied me on the Tabala for hours together during my practice. Now I feel that I should not have made him play Tabala for me. But then I was young and I didn’t realize that. He prompted me to develop my own thinking, provided me all the support whenever I needed that. He helped me develop my ideas regarding good and bad in music and helped me walk on a path that lead towards a glittering goal. No words can express my gratitude towards him.
3. Who discovered that you could sing well?
Shredhar: My mother came to know that I was good at singing. On my way to home, once I overheard a song in GeetRamayan and began repeating the first line at home. I don’t know how good that was. But my mother says that I sang really well.
4. Has being in Belgaum helped you in your musical career or do you think otherwise?
Shredhar: In a way, yes, it has. Belgaum life is not very busy. It certainly provides a leisurely time to practice. The other way, it deprives you of the chances of getting heard more number of times. I feel that having an ample time to practice is necessary before you begin getting exposure. (Which I have begun getting now.)
5. What are your thoughts on the young generation being taken away with rock and pop?
Shredhar: I don’t think they are being taken away. Classical music has never been for masses. Only a certain percentage of people having a deeper sense of music get attracted to any classical music (Indian or Western). Rock and Pop music are not bad at all. Being attracted towards any kind of music is a good sign. The only thing is the young generation should try their best to understand the meaning of music. They should try and sense the depth of music. They should consider music as a universal-language. Music is a performing art that pleases the mankind. Appreciating different forms of arts is perhaps a great quality of human brain.
6. Your thoughts on the upcoming talent in Belgaum how can one groom oneself being here.
Shredhar: Like I said earlier, Belgaum is a small city and one is not compelled to lose more time in commuting. One needs to get a good guidance.
7. What is that you wish Belgaum had for music lovers like you?
Shredhar: Acoustically engineered hall for around 250-300 people for concerts.
8 You tour so much which is your favorite place and why?
Shredhar: I feel that Konkan region is rich as regards to audience. They are simple people who try to understand music without having any prejudice of any kind.
9. Your future plans?
Shredhar: To practice more, to reduce the number of mistakes, to improve my understanding of music, widen my view of good music so that the goal seems farther away.
10. Some memorable moment or experience when on tour or performing?
Shredhar: Once or twice I have had an overwhelming experience when aged men touched my feet saying that I had something divine within me. I don’t believe that, I know that I am nothing, but their words brought tears in my eyes.
Bad experience; people chatting during concert sometimes, even turning their backs to me. They take music very casually.
11. What is the best thing about Belgaum you like?
Shredhar: Same as mentioned earlier, ample time to groom oneself. Not possible in bigger cities. People in Small cities build good relation with each other and support each other as well.
12. What are your thoughts on this website?
Shredhar: I came across this site very recently and I have yet to go through it. But the site has a host of information and could prove to be of great help for those seeking information about Belgaum.
See Shreedhar’s Concert videos
Address for correspondence:
Shreedhar Kulkarni, 1519, Maruti Galli, Belgaum – 590 001.