Chat with an artist: Omkar Havaldar

I had a very interesting and inspiring  conversation with my singer friend Omkar Havaldar . Currently in India  as we all Indians  know , culture is slowly loosing its charm and we are heading towards a dry , rough and a tough colourless future.  Keeping this as our main platform  we discussed about the rich Indian classical music and its current situations ,challenges and future  for hours. After that  I felt it is important to let others also know what a young Indian classical musician feels about the current situations and challenges . So I decided  I should present this in the form of an interview . And I am going to do this with many other promising artists who are from the cream of current generation.

A little on Omkar

I quote from his website ( www.omkarhavaldar.com) 

“Omkarnath Havaldar hails from a family of musicians. Father Dr.Nagaraj Rao Havaldar is renowned Hindustani vocalist, an exponent of Kirana and Jaipur Gharanas. Mother Smt. Sudhamayi holds a degree in Fine Arts from Mysore University. Omkarnath has been trained by his Father Dr. Nagaraj Rao Havaldar, Pt.Madhav Gudi, Pt. Panchakshari Swami Mattigatti and Pt. Indudhar Nirodi”

  1. What made you to learn music and seek a career in music?

Omkar: My whole family is full of musicians so  music happened to be our part of childhood. I observed , listened and

learnt from my father Dr. Nagaraj Havaldar who is a well-known Hindustani classical vocalist.  Though I finished my academic studies just like everyone Music is first priority to me. And everyone in my family supported and  inspired to take-up music as my career. I am learning music from past 22 years and still learning.

2. Who are your influential people and how?

 Omkar:  There are many to list. There is no one man behind all. In the music field right from my parents, grandparents,  Music teachers and many great classical singers of India and Pakistan ( then India).

3. Who were /are your music teachers ?

 Omkar: My father is my first music teacher and still he is . I learnt under  Late Pt. Ramarao Nayak who was my first teacher,  Pt. Madhav Gudi

( Desciple of Legendary Bharata Ratna Pt. Bhimsen Joshi Of Kirana Gharana )   who is also my father’s teacher and my teacher as well and  Pt. Panchakshari Swami mattigatti  ( student of Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur of Jaipur Gharana ). My current teacher is Pt Indudhar Nirody  for Dhrupad and Khayaal styles of the classical music.

4.Tell me about your Afghanistan experience.

Omkar: During my  concert tour  to America in 2007 I met Pt. Sameer Chattarji of Chandayan Music school, New York located in Manhattan. He had been to Afghanistan for music works, so I expressed my desire to go there and teach there, he happily agreed.  My parents also supported the idea which was a bit of surprise.  I was one of the only three musicians for this tour which was organized  by UNESCO and World bank. The other two musicians were Ekaterina Mihailova who taught Piano and Pt. Sameer Chattarji. We taught music to the children of Afghanistan at  Afghanistan National institute of Music. We taught music to students and the staff of Kabul University  .   For me it was a life changing experience and so much fun and teaching,learning and full of memories. Even today I interact with many Afghan students  through emails.

5.Where music stands now at present? There is so much media hype , you turn on the TV you can see everywhere music , dance  happening, so many art teachers, events in the city , so many people learning   it feels like we are in a cultural heaven! But still something is wrong. What do you think about it ?Do you really think  in my retired age I can see some greats just like my father saw Pt. Bhimsen Joshi?

Omkar: it’s a long and very deep question you have asked.  First of all I will directly say YES to your last question.  There is a cream of young musicians who are dedicated and sacrificed their mundane  lifestyle for music. If you take Bangalore I would  name few.  Kaushik Aithal,  Dattatreya Valenkar, Abhijeet Shoney, Trilochan Kampli, Meghana Kulkarni , my brother Kedarnath who all are learning music from many many years and still continuing  their learning.  We perform, we teach we visit countries, we spread music.  We have taken music as everything. So lots of quality stuff is happening.  BUT current musicians are facing lot of unique challenges. Reality shows, IPL, daily serials etc  are taking a huge share in entertaining people so musicians have to fight their way to reach people .Parents send their children to music classes  dreaming a TV appearance or a reality show appearance or a stage appearance within months. So current musician should learn, teach, market and face these challenges. Today reality shows, movies, television etc are misleading public by assuring short entertainment /success.  I can proudly and loudly say classical music is still survived and will be there forever. Musicians definitely emerge to become a great one day and it goes on for ever.

       6. What is the message you want to give to music aspirants?

Omkar: Very simple. Music is an artistic Science & a Scientific Art. I am studying this art from 22 years and the hunger for learning will never end. I see minimum 40 years of more learning at this point of time. I say 40 years because, I’m 25 years old now & I hope I will live for another 40 years to come. If I live more, I will learn more. So the message is  “ Learn from a Guru. “

You can listen to his voice in thse videos and on his website as well.

His website address for more details

www.omkarhavaldar.com

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10 responses to “Chat with an artist: Omkar Havaldar

  1. Wonderful. You have indeed done a great service to introduce young Musicians. Would love to see more of your chats with people from different fine arts groups.
    Good luck and all the very best.
    Manohar Arasu VU2UR

  2. Great interview Dinesh! Thanks for your initiative towards one of the most important aspects of rich Indian culture – Music in its purest form! Your efforts in consolidating the thoughts and perspectives from the promising artists of current generation is greatly appreciated.

    I’m very closely associated to the Havaldar family as I’m a disciple of Dr. Nagaraj Rao Havaldar ji, and have also had the opportunity of receiving valuable Hindustani classical lessons from Shri Omkar Havaldar! I must mention that classical music as experienced from the Havaldar family is truly exemplary, and shows their dedication towards carrying forward the true color of music to the next generations.

    Finally, it is indeed true that today there is a rough ride of not-so-true exposure of instant fame through those reality shows etc; but people must realize that ‘true knowledge’ is key to success; and in the field of music, ‘true knowledge’ lies in classical music!

    • thanks Vikram for your valuable feedback, totally agree with you. Only after talking to Omkar I realized how difficult it is for an artist in these days to add so much value in his art.
      rgds
      Dinesh

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