Ashok Bhandari-A magician who loves the Harmonica!
Here’s a mesmerizing rendition by Shri Ashok Bhandari who believes “Anything which can amuse is music”. This piece of music titled “Arabian Nights-Part 2” is being recorded without any digital special effects. HaLoH thanks Shri Ashok Bhandari for this video.
Ashok ji has been playing the harmonica since early seventies. It’s almost forty years now. He was inspired by Late Shri Milon Gupta (Milon da) and Shri Madan Kumar. He had personally met Milon Da twice and took some tips on harmonica playing from him. He remembers listening to Shri Madan Kumar’s renditions on Juke Box during his college days. This used to cost 25 paise per song in those days. Shri Nachiketa Desai, a journalist and a Harmonica lover from Ahmedabad also influenced him in developing passion for this tiny little instrument during their college days at BHU campus. Ashok ji says “I’ve learnt a lot about harmonica from Nachiketa during our stay in the hostel.”
Falling in Love:
Apart from playing the harmonica, Ashok ji plays the keyboard, flute and many other percussion instruments. In fact, he is a very good percussionist and had performed on various percussion instruments long ago. When asked why he fell in love with the harmonica, he says that it (harmonica) is the sweetest instrument. It is very challenging to play the harmonica because one can’t know what is happening in the player’s mouth. Moreover, harmonica is a magical instrument which leaves the audience spell bound. He sites an example mentioning that he has to take a truck load of props for his magic shows and carries this tiny instrument with him. He always plays the harmonica during his shows and finds that his audience which attends his magic shows is impressed by his harmonica performance to a much greater extent.
Ashok ji is basically a chromatic harmonica player and plays Indian music. In fact this piece of music which is being uploaded along with this article is Arabic music played on a chromatic harmonica. There are lots of chromatic notes in this rendition which he believes is almost impossible to achieve in a diatonic harmonica. He believes that one should “Improvise” on the song one plays and should avoid being a carbon copy of another player. He sites an example of the king of ghazals Jagjit Singh who sings ghazals as per strict music notations in his albums but whenever he performs live in front of the audience, he improvises upon his own music and adds a new flavour to the performance. He also gives an opportunity to all other people accompanying him with various musical instruments to improvise. Ashok ji says, “When western people improvise on our music, we say it is fusion but when an Indian improvises on any music, it is frowned upon.” He prefers playing Indian music on a chromatic harmonica rather than playing the same on a diatonic harmonica by bending notes. He loves to hear harmonica players playing Indian Raagas and Folk. He says that he isn’t a good harmonica player, however he is a good performer and knows how to mesmerize his audience with his harmonica. A majority of his harmonica audiences on internet are foreigners who enjoy his Indian music. According to him, there is a lot of scope for harmonica to develop as a professional music instrument in
All time favourite:
Ashok ji’s all time favourite is the Hohner Super Chromonica 270 which was also played by late Milon da in
Ashok ji has recently started teaching harmonica to students at
Message to all harmonica lovers:
Magician Ashok Bhandari is thankful to various online harmonica groups and forums, different blogs and websites pertaining to harmonica for promoting this instrument. He says “We should avoid having ego and petty quarrels between various harmonica players. Criticism on one’s rendition should be taken positively to improve our knowledge about music and harmonica playing skills. Friends, lets keep the harmonica flag high”
On 21st Nov’2009 6pm-8pm, Harmonica Lovers of Hyderabad Rajkumar Gavvala and I played the harmonica live for two hours on RED FM 93.5, A popular radio channel in AP. Apart from the live harmonica renditions, there was a chat on this tiny little instrument with radio jockey Sunayana(We pleasantly surprised, when we realized that Sunayana ( An award winning movie Ammoru fame) is the RJ for our show.She was a very good child artist in good number of Telugu films and I believe most of the people in AP feel like Sunayana is their family member.The two hours show was finished like two minutes with her mind blowing jockeying skills.
The RED FM 93.5 team was so impressed by the harmonica music, that they requested to play some more songs on harmonica for them after the programme and RJ Sunayana introduced us to her better half Mr Vinay, both are made for each other. Other HaLoH members too enjoyed the live of this programme from their homes along with their family.
A harmonica lover Mr Prasad , An employee of Google India happened to listen our live harmonica live programme in RED FM 93.5 on radio in his car and he was excited to learn that there is an umbrella titled “HaLoH” in Hyderabad which is very active in promoting the harmonica.He turned up for the gathering today on 22nd Nov’09 at Indira park to celebrate the 76th birth anniversary of the harmonica legend Shri Milon Gupta.He told he lost the touch with harmonica over ten years but with a ten hole diatonic he played not less than ten songs flawlessly.HaLoH welcomes Prasad.
The special agenda of today’s gathering on Sunday 22nd Nov’09 at
Milon da’s photograph was honored with garland and shawl by HaLoH members. Since this harmonica legend no more with us the same shawl was gifted to his student and back bone of HaLoH Shri Vinayak B. On this occasion the RED FM 93.5 had broadcasted one more live programme for one hour 8am-9am from Indira park. This was RJ Sunayana’s Interactive session with us on harmonica and HaLoH activities, Mr Ravibabu played harmonica live on the mobile phone through which the programme was broadcasted.This was the one of the happiest moment for the Harmonica Lovers of Hyderabad(HaLoH).
It is our firm faith that music is the language of God made us believe that it is nothing less than a miracle when we received a call from Dr.Rao of GOLD AGE ASHRAM AND HOSPITAL, a home for the aged people since 1979, to entertain the resident senior citizens under their loving care this Sunday, on the 8th of November 2009.These senior citizens had a reason to smile as they enjoyed our renditions on the harmonica. This is the first performance of HaLoH for the outsiders.
As soon as we entered the premises of GOLDAGE we were totally engulfed by the divine atmosphere pervading there and we were possessed by their motto - I Love You, I Surrender to You, and I Serve You.
Our faith got strengthened even further when we realized that we got our maiden chance to associate ourselves as HaLoH with the people who were selflessly serving the inmates as a mother takes care of her own children. Some of them were from families that were well off and their children were reluctant to take care of their parents. Some senior citizens were so sick that their physiotherapist Dr.Rao was surprised to see them tap their legs and clap along with the music that was being played on the harmonica.
Rajkumar Gavvala began our performance with the song… Chinnari ponnari puvvu(means..Oh tiny little flower in Telugu) and followed by golden melodies, devotional songs and few bhajans at the end of the programme as a group we played our national anthem Jana gana mana on harmonica.
At the conclusion of our performance we received blessings of all the mothers present there, which gave us further strength, changed our outlook towards life and we stepped out with a new vision.
Thus begins the Golden age of HaLoH with GOLDAGE.
This sunday, 16 harmonica lovers attended the meeting at Indira Park, Hyderabad. There were some new faces to grace the occasion. They were Shri Nageswara Rao, a retired employee of AP Govt., Jayaram and Ravindra who are students of Osmania University School of Foreign Languages, and Sirish, who learnt about HaLoH through this blog. Another new member Mr Ravi Babu is seen playing DIL DIL SE MILAKAR DEKHO from the movie MEMSAHIB in this photograph. Mr Vinayak accompanied him with his whistling.
HaLoH team posing with memento sent from
Harmonica Lover of Hyderabad Mr.Vijay Konda visited
Mr.Harish Nayyar, A business man aged about 37 years has been playing harmonica since his college days.
People wonder how he plays so effortlessly on his Tower chromatic harmonica. Mr.Harish Nayyar played a perfect host and impressed Mr.Vijay Konda with his hospitality.
HaLoH team thanks Mr.Harish Nayyar for the memento and his wishes, to view the videos of Mr.Harish Nayyar please visit…
I thank each and everybody in being part of this event on this auspicious occasion and especially Shri.Kantha Rao garu, under his patronship we are all here today and forming as HaLoH-Harmonica Lovers of Hyderabad. I wanted to clarify what Harmonica Lovers of Hyderabad are. Harmonica Lovers of Hyderabad is not a club, its not an organization, its not a new entity at all, its just an identity. those who love harmonica ,play harmonica,love to play harmonica, those they don’t know anything about harmonica but they want to learn harmonica,those because of their old age or disabilities cant play harmonica but they appreciate harmonica-those are natural members of HaLoH. That is why we are not made any charter to HaLoH, no rules and no restrictions for HaLoH.we are going to give a little bit publicity to the world that such group exists in some corner of the globe. to become a part of HaLoH, there are no restrictions whether one plays a diatonic,chromatic or any other kind of harmonica-which may be either Indian or foreign. playing Indian or western on Hohner or Tower is a Harmonica Lover.
Across the globe, whomever think he loves harmonica are natural members of HaLoH. Again, the name-Hyderabad doesn’t suit here because when it is here, we don’t want to restrict it but we want to express our thoughts to the world we are here in Hyderabad which is why we have incorporated the name Hyderabad here.The people who are part of HaLoH are free to join any other harmonica clubs they wish,it doesn’t seize them to be a Harmonica Lover of Hyderabad. Even if they want to start their own club or group, they are very much welcome we will support them whole heartedly in all means. so everybody irrespective of any alliance to any club, HaLoH just exists as a name as a flag under which we all assemble.
There is a saying “Music is a language of God” then I would say my personal view let us make this tiny, humble instrument the tool for liberation..
Thank you very much..
Harmonica Lovers Ramana and Mahendra Gala honouring Shri.Rajkumar Gavvala who is the senior most harmonica player known to us in Andhra Pradesh. His introduction given below..
Shri.Rajkumar Gavvala was born on Dec. 3rd, 1948 at Secunderabad A.P. started playing harmonica at a very tender age inspired by the harmonica music in the super hit hindi movie “Dosti.” His first harmonica was an Indian made Bharath Harmonica. Even at that tender age he was being invited to play mouth organ in cultural programs. He won many music competitions while in school. He also learned to play violin under the tutelage of Smt. Pusala Manorama, grand daughter of the famous carnatic violinist Shri Dwaram Venkata Swamy Naidu. His most memorable event came when he was invited to play to commemorate the golden jubilee of Osmania University. Since then he never turned back.
A globe trotter. He played Indian tunes on harmonica wherever he went to like Sri Lanka, Bangkok, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, Austria,France, Italy, Rome, UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland etc. and also from street corners to prestigious auditoriums of Hyderabad.Now retired after serving the govt. of Andhra Pradesh and the people, as a superintendent of Panchayat Raj Department.
HaLoH team salutes this great personality for playing the harmonica for the last 53 years.
1.Mr.Rajkumar playing harmonica in full swing at age of 18 1n 1966 at Hyderabad
2.Co-passengers enjoying harmonica played by Rajkumar who is accompanied by a Guitarist in a steamer on their way to Ceylon I 1978.
3.Rajkumar playing harmonica at an event 1n 1983.
4.Rajkumar attending an harmonica event on 30th Nov1998 at Mumbai. This event was organized by the pride of Indian Harmonica.Phiroze Damri.
5.In 2001 Rajkumar still performing on stage for a cultural program being organized by AP forest Dept.
In truth and non-violence, we have a practical universal creed that can unite the whole world in a bond of love and peace. Truth and non-violence form the essence of every religion. Even if a person does not follow the rules of any religion, he can become spiritually great. No religion teaches you falsehood and violence. Non-violence is only another name for love just as violence is another name for hatred. Gandhiji not only preached truth and non-violence, but he practiced them. That is why he is called Mahatma (great soul).
Mahatma Gandhi’s economic policy Grama Swaraj is meant for us, i.e.., for India. We can rebuild our economy and become prosperous through Grama Swaraj. Moreover, Grama Swaraj can provide employment to all the villagers in every village. Thus the problem of unemployment can be solved.
World Peace can be established by following Truth and Non-violence. We can solve the problem of unemployment and become prosperous through Grama Swaraj. That is why Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings are relevant today.
HaLoH tributes to father of nation Mahatma Gandhiji.
more info on launh event will published shortly.