‘Music shows on TV help the revival of the traditional art’. Some hereditary craftsmen, who have forayed into ‘veena’ repairs, are contributing to the promotion of the art in their own way.

Gone are the days when ‘veena’ used to adorn the houses of the rich and even middle class households. Those born in the 1960s and early 1970s know that the popular veena was a prized possession of many households.

Veena was a very popular musical instrument and there were many learners and Veena recital was a regular feature on All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan. Its patronage showed a gradual decline with the passage of time. Children of traditional craftsmen are foraying into other areas in search of greener pastures.

Thanks to the traditional craftsmen of Bobbili, ‘veena’ teachers and dedicated students, the art is still being kept alive.

Some hereditary craftsmen, who have forayed into ‘veena’ repairs, are contributing to the promotion of the art in their own way.

Tamarapalli Eswara Rao of A. Venkampeta village of Makkuva mandal in Vizianagaram district is one such hereditary ‘veena’ maker, who has forayed into repairs. He has been repairing ‘veenas’ at an apartment complex at Marripalem VUDA Layout for the past three days on a call from ‘veena’ teacher Annapantula Padmavathi.

“Our family has been making ‘veenas’ for the past 170 years and I am in it since 1978. The patronage has, no doubt, declined over the years but it continues to be our bread and butter,” Eswara Rao has told The Hindu.

“The music shows being telecast on TV channels and their growing popularity have triggered the revival of traditional music. Housewives and even students are finding time, amidst their busy academic schedules, to practise the traditional musical instruments like veena,” he says.

‘Veena’ cost

A big size new ‘veena’ costs around Rs.16,000. “I repair damaged ‘veenas’, whatever condition they are in. Only those who know the intricacies of the instrument can take up repairs in a scientific manner,” he says.

“The common problems with ‘veena’ include disintegration of the reeds (‘melam’) due to constant exposure to sunlight and breaking of the ‘kadava’ (head of the ‘veena’) due to mishandling. Any variation in the steps (melam) could result in variation of the sound, when the instrument is played,” says Ms. Padmavathi.

Eswara Rao can be reached over phone No. 95425 33899.

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