Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Late court musician children to continue the legacy

The second generation of Asthana Mrudanga Vidwan late MR Rajappa are coming together to give a joint performance on March 6 between 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm at Ganabharathi Veene Sheshanna Bhavana.

Court Musician Rajappa, a famous exponent of the percussion instrument Mrudanga had nine children, of which one was a daughter. Though they have migrated to other vocations their contribution to music field is high. They have followed their late father's footsteps to continue the traditional music.

While, the contribution of Rajappa's sixth son, 50-year-old Vidwan MR Hanumantha Raju is exemplary. He has dedicated his life to teach music, especially for the poor children of society. In order not to deter from his decision he decided to remain a bachelor.

During 1980's, undertaking house visits at several localities he has though Mrudanga and Tabla in addition to Harikathe, Kanjira. Even today, he is devoted in spreading the essence of classical music especially percussion instruments among hundreds of poor children.

Going down the memory lane, Hanumantha Raju said: “My father Rajappa had taught all the nine children to play Mrudanga and Tabla. Even to this day, we family members have continued the legacy and play them. We give public programmes accompanied with our troupe members.”

“He was imparting education for poor children by opening a Music school 'Saraswathi Gana Shaala' at home. Following some problems the school was closed. I was very fond of re-opening the school and I fulfilled the wish only a decade ago. I rented a room in Sarasthipuram and continued teaching music school under the same name,” added Hanumatharaju who is rendering service as Mrudanga and Tabla artiste at Mysore Karnataka Police Band.

He has taught Mrudanga and Tabla for hundreds of students, including foreigners that include students from Germany, Australia, Italy, Switzerland and other countries, while collecting only
a nominal fee of Rs 150. For those facing financial problems the classes are offered free of cost.

“The response to learn Mrudanga and Tabla is gradually declining with passing years. A person has to dedicate himself for about eight years to become an acclaimed Mrudangist, which makes the practitioner to think twice before enrolling for classes,” he says.

Housemaid Bhavani says: “My son was very much interested in learning tabla. With our meager earnings, it was not possible for me to join him for a music class. I came to know about the music school and approached Hanumantha Raju. He immediately agreed to teach my son free of cost for which I am ever indebted to him.”

Hanumantha Raju's had given his first performance when he was eight years old, accompanied his father to a performance held atop Chamundi Hills. He has given scores of Mrudangam and Tabala at various festivals, encompassing State, National and International levels.

He has bagged several awards and titles to name a few Kalashri, Talavadhya ratna, Talavadhya Bhushana, NupuraShri, Adharsha Shrunga, Kala Kaustuba Kala ratna, Laya vadhana patu and much more.

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