Music Has Not Changed, Perspective Has: Pandit Chaurasia

Bhubaneswar: The more things change, the more they remain the same and it seems to extend to music. In fact, flautist Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia says music has not changed, only perspective has. “The sun, the moon, the wind, nature, they never change. Why should music,” he asks. “Classical and traditional music are just the same, exactly how they should be. However, with technology and television, how people look at art or music has changed tremendously. And this is natural. The change in perspective is good, in fact. It is not in the wrong direction.”

This direction, however, needs support. “I think the government should do something about it. There are so many youngsters wanting to learn music. If this is nurtured, a lot can change. Music is worship for me, and many people have their own ideas about the same. It is an essential part of life,” he said.

Pandit Chaurasia was in Bhubaneswar to attend the annual celebrations of Vrindavan Gurukul, a quaint musical space for young flute enthusiasts and learners, founded by him. Speaking to Odisha Bytes at Vrindavan Mahotsav, where Gurukul students were all set to perform, Pandit Chaurasia spoke about music and his fond memories of Odisha.

“Odisha is where my career officially began, way back in the ’50s,” he says. “I have seen how ingrained culture and art is over here, among the people and the state. I am glad that the authorities support and flourish such talent.”

Recalling his time in Odisha, he said: “In our time, there were not many listeners, as dance had greater impact. Now I see many music enthusiasts who not only sing, but also show a keen interest in listening. We sustain and thrive because of them. Also, music and dance go hand in hand. One cannot live without the other,” he said.

The three important things for any music lover, he said, are interest, concentration and a little time. “Treat music like any other daily chore – bathing, praying, eating – and see how it transforms you. I used to practice whenever I would get time, which was every day. Anyone keen on going ahead with it, must spend enough time practising it, daily,” he said.

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