LIFE

Now, he need not buy an extra ticket for his Veena

Krishna Raghavendra giving a Veena performance. — Photos: T.L.Prabhakar.

Krishna Raghavendra giving a Veena performance. — Photos: T.L.Prabhakar.  

WHAT MAKES Veena player Krishna Raghavendra happy is that now he does not have to buy an extra airline ticket for his musical instrument.

Krishna who lives in Boston, U.S., now checks in his Veena in a box; it can be dismantled into five smaller pieces and assembled again just before a concert. Made of red cedar wood, the Veena weighs only 15 kg, lighter than the conventional Veenas made of jackwood which weigh at least five kg more, he says.

The artiste with his innovative instrument.

The artiste with his innovative instrument.  

Bangalorean by birth, Krishna was a professor of biophysics in the U.S. before turning to music full time, 11 years ago. His search for a Veena that could be transported easily and converted for use with an electrical pick-up began then. He read an article about the late Narsinga Rao who had designed a Veena that could be dismantled and assembled again. Keeping this in mind, Krishna got his Veena made. In his detachable Veena, the components include the drone-drum, the Koda; Dhandi, the part which connects the Koda and head-piece with Vyala, the carved head which also supports the finger-board, Mela and the Veena ``kaayi'', which is used to rest the Veena on the thigh of the player. Krishna has modified his Veena, replacing the tailpiece. Instead of the usual Birade for tuning, individual guitar keys are fixed in the headpiece and also on the Dhandi, particularly for the Tala strings. "Getting the right tala and sruthi becomes easier,'' he explains. He had made a special arrangement with magnetic pick-ups separately for bass strings, Anumandhra and Mandhra and also for Panchama and Sarane. A transducer-contact pick-up is specially used for the Tala strings. Two outputs are available, fixed to the Koda and knobs are also provided to adjust the sound to the required volume and to be played through the amplifier. The sound effect is to be heard to be believed. ``It takes about 10 minutes to 15 minutes to carefully dismantle the Veena and 20 minutes to assemble it again for playing on stage,'' Krishna says. The music he plays is as original as his Veena. He leads the Raga And Rhythm Ensemble — RARE — with original compositions based on classical raagas, folk music and contemporary tunes.

By Satyamurty K

Recommended for you