Whoever enjoyed listening to famous flautist Shri Pravin Godkindi‘s flute should also thank Mr M V Hegde! Not only Shri Godkhindi many many great artist all over the India appreciated and used Shri M V Hegde’s flutes.
Making flutes out of bamboo is not an easy task. They are not like metal flutes where one can get help from machines to maintain accuracy. Each bamboo is different in some way so each has to be individually tuned to get proper sound and correct notes. So for me it is an art and I am sure many will agree with me.
The bamboos used to make flute are of a special type bamboos and only in few forests of India they are available. M V gets his bamboos from Assam but he is all in praise on Unchalli ( Sirsi, Karnataka) bamboos as well. He says the quality sound that Unchalli bamboos produce are of top-notch.
” Getting bamboo from someone who goes to the forests daily is ok. They cannot really understand the quality but to make an average flute they are good enough. But to make a quality flute you have to be very lucky if you are sending someone else in search of bamboo stem . I prefer myself going in to the forest in search of bamboo. Sometime it might take a whole day with success rates of 60%”.
I could easily think , at an age 60s going to Unchalli forests is not an easy task. I remember during my college days we went hiking to see a gorgeous Unchalli waterfalls. We descended in to the valley had all sort of fun in the water and then we hiked back . We took 30 minutes to trek down in to the valley and while getting back we took nearly 2 hrs! it was such an immense physically tiring hike that I took two days to recover.
He opened a portion of roof of his workshop section and put a plastic sheet to improve the lighting inside the workshop. lord Krishna’s photo is always hanging on his workshop wall. Inside the shop one can see all simple things such as, couple of iron rods which used to make holes in the flute, a steel shelf to store flutes, a black sheet for the floor ,sand papers for polishing the flutes , tuning instruments, small furnace with an airblower ” Controlling the air was bit difficult when I bought this new blower machine. Now I am using a simple ball valve in the middle and now it is working fine! ” he smiles.
“It all started in 1968. I went to Gadag for learning Hindustani classical music but could not buy a quality flute. So I started making it. Also availability of good bamboo near my village helped me to learn the art quickly . I took some advice from Mr. Kabadi of Vijaya Kalamandir , Gadag. I showed few of flutes I made to Shri Venkatesh Godkhindi ( father of Shri Pravin Godkhindi ) . He liked them and sent few of the flutes to Akashvani, Dharavad and Gadag. From then I got very much interested and started spending more time in making quality flutes. I made flutes for many artists all over the India. I sold flutes to many Akashvani ( All India Radio) studios. Pravin Godkhindi is like a second son to me. He always liked and uses flutes made by me”
” It’s the adjustments for temperature change I did” he started explaining to Sudheer, my good friend. ” This place is colder than your place. So I kept little low tone for the panchama hole. Your place is bit hotter place, so bamboo naturally expands and you will get a proper tuning for that note ” then he turned to me and said “Many complain panchama tone is little low or high . But it is the temperature , humidity causing it. Sometimes the concert stage temperature also will be hotter and bamboo will expand more. Only an expert flute artist quickly understands it and learns his finger positions to get the proper swaras ( notes) . ” I could not understand that completely but I quickly understood there is some science behind it.
“Making money is not important for me here. I want to see my customers happy ” he giggles.
Besides M V Hegde and his wife own beetle nut farms which are primary source of his life. His daughter is married and living in the city. His son is studying in a college in Sirsi nearby . He is also quickly learning the flute making profession.
There is a growing demand for bamboo flutes but to produce a concert quality flute needs experience, perfection and dedication. There are many links are available on the internet on “how to make a bamboo flute” but it is just not possible to get a quality sound and perfection out of it. There are also many ‘suppliers’ flowing all over who are just as good as street side flute sellers but wearing expensive shirts.
If anybody wants a concert quality flutes you can contact him on these numbers.
Shri M V Hegde
Cell no: 9916471090
Photos are made using Canon EOS 1000d, Sigma 17-70 OS lens, tripod and a flashgun.