Those who are genuinely interested will find their way to a concert no matter where it is, says Parameshwar Hegde
We had just finished talking about Hindustani music, its audience in Bangalore and what it takes to understand and grasp its essence when Hindustani music maestro Parameshwar Hegde got up from his seat and opened the door to his verandah. Standing on his verandah, I could see all the components necessary to host a perfect baithak (Hindustani music concert) beautifully in place within the compound of his house.
Luxury of space
Miles away from the centre of the city, tucked away in this silent corner of Siddhi Vinayak Layout near Sahakar Nagar, Parameshwar has set up a little stage on the lawn inside the compound of his house. The lawn can accommodate an audience of more than forty people. And when the performers are ready, the lights come on and his house, which is located at a cul-de-sac, serves as a peaceful haven for say, a two-hour concert for music lovers. There are two huts on either side of the stage that serve as tiny classrooms where both Parameshwar and his wife conduct music classes.
Back in 2004, it was the luxury of space and minimal costs that brought him to this layout near Sahakar Nagar. He moved from Malleswaram, one of the areas where he feels that Hindustani music is still well received, to this area which was then an obscure part of the periphery of the city.
“There is not much of an audience for Hindustani concerts in this area. The audience is more in Malleswaram, Jayanagar and even Koramangala,” he said. “I know of someone who organises regular concerts near the Saibaba temple in Sahakar Nagar but the audience is hardly consistent, making it difficult to identify the ones who are genuinely interested in classical music,” he said.
He added that while there is a growing audience for this genre of music, the long, tiring commute makes it inconvenient for people to attend concerts.
But there are exceptions to the rule. He talked of how people turn up for early morning concerts that his academy organises at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath.
“People come in huge numbers to attend the concerts as early as six in the morning. A coffee is all they need as they walk into the hall,” he said.
All the way
With the limited audience in his neighbourhood, who then is his audience at the baithaks conducted in his home? When Parameshwar chose the peace and quiet of this neighbourhood over the noisy centre of the city and set up base in this locality, his students sought him out and came to learn from him.
“I'm amazed at their dedication to music. I have a student who lives in a hotel room in Majestic during that one weekend in the month when he comes here for class. And there are others who come all the way from Whitefield and Girinagar,” he said.
It is for them that Parameshwar organises the baithaks in his home. It is routine for two of his students to perform followed by Parameshwar's performance. The audience comprises his students and their parents. The baithaks so far have not been organised for the public.
In Parameshwar's words, “Those who are genuinely interested will find their way to a concert no matter where it is.”
Keywords: Hindustani music