Chat with an Artist: M V Hegde

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

Landline: 08389239844

Photos are made using Canon EOS  1000d, Sigma 17-70 OS lens, tripod and a flashgun.


27 thoughts on “Chat with an Artist: M V Hegde

  1. It is just not possible to get a quality people and perfection. My salutation to M.V. Hegde, he deserves appreciation and support. Thank you for having introduced him to at least to the friends circle. I encourage you to publish in news paper and give wide coverage. So that others will also be influenced and motivated by his work.

    Thank you
    Dr. Kumar H

  2. Yeah!! M V Hegde deserves a pat.. At a time when Hindustani Bansuris were difficult to be procured he along with my father made it reach to the corners of karnataka and various other parts of India.
    I specially loved the photographs dinesh.. keep up the good work.

  3. Fantastic effort Dinesh.
    Kudos to you for bringing those who prefer to stay behind the curtains.
    Your photographs speak a thousand words.

  4. Thanks for the wealth of information – Dinesh. I would love to spend a few ‘flute making days’ with Mr. M V Hegde. I can see convergence of Science and Art !!
    – Udupa

  5. Thanks Dinesh for writing abt my uncle. please try to publish it in some magazines and e-papers.
    -Vani Hegde

  6. Thank u Dinesh for writing abt my papa…am very happy to see dis article,nice photos..really my appa is u appa……….

  7. below line made me crying.. how satisfaction is he with what he is earning. We should learn this.

    “Making money is not important for me here. I want to see my customers happy”

    Thanks Dinesh for sharing.

  8. I am impressed and wold like to order some flutes made from him. Unfortunately, I could not reach to his numbers you have indicated above. Do you have his alternative contact details ?
    J shrestha / Nepal

  9. first of all thanks to mr.dinesh for nice,rare job. Keep going mr.dinesh we are all with you.I like m.v.Hegde’s flute and his nature. His dedication about making flute. I like all photos . Special thanx for you mr.dinesh.

  10. Dinesh, wonderful coverage and photos!! He really needs support and recognition. I’m also one of his flute user and know the expertise of M.V.H. Thanks for sharing and giving him an exposure.

  11. Nice to see him here.. I have lot of flutes made by him. Its awesome memory that i was there when he was making that for me.

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