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Pravin, Sarika and Pallavi: the movers behind Sanjog Feature

Out of the studios, and enjoying it

Should studio musicians remain in the studios? No, says Sanjog, and brings them on to the concert stage

Perhaps it wasn't just sanjog (which translates as a propitious coming together) that led three young people of Bangalore to form a group to promote classical music. Sanjog, the group, comprises Pravin Godkhindi, a flautist, his fashion-designer wife Sarika, and M D Pallavi, a singer. Sanjog is also the name of a raga created by Pravin's father, Venkatesh Godkhindi, a leading Hindustani flautist who is also the Station Director of All India Radio, Dharwad.

Sanjog brings together musicians of different streams to jam together. Many talented artistes, busy in Bangalore's studios, never get the time or the opportunity to perform on stage. Over the last decade and a half, the city has witnessed a boom in the music industry. Hundreds of songs are recorded each week -- for films, television and devotional cassettes. While this has helped musicians earn a decent living, it has also led to a studio culture that keeps them locked out of public view.

Sanjog first organised a jugalbandi featuring vocalist N Sumathi, disciple of the late Pandit Rama Rao Naik, and sarangi player Fayaz Khan, with Udayraj Karpur on the tabla. Faiyaz is among the rare sarangi players in the country today; he sings too. He is also in considerable demand at the studios.

Encouraged by the response, Sanjog's next concert saw another jugalbandi with sitarist Kishore and veena player Nanditha, accompanied by Praveen D Rao on the tabla and Anoor Dattatreya Sharma on the mridangam.

Their third gig was entitled Laya Samvad, featuring Sukumaran on the drums, Madhusudan on the tabla, Amrit on the mridangam and Sridhar Naidu on the saxophone. The next was the more ambitious Swar Swarup, a Kathak and bansuri recital featuring dancers Nirupama and Rajendra, with Pravin Godkhindi on the flute and Praveen D Rao on the tabla. Last month's programme, entitled Sawal Jawab, saw two percussionists sharing a platform -- Pandit Ravindra Yavagal on the tabla and Vidwan Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma on the mridangam.

Sanjog's concerts are free. The group depends on individual sponsors for the programmes. All concerts are being recorded on tape, which Sanjog hopes to release in the market sometime.

The movers behind Sanjog have individual careers. Pravin, besides being a classical flautist, is into commercial music as a composer and arranger and has performed with the likes of Kadri Gopalnath, Sandeep Banerjee, Shivamani, Louis Banks and Shankar Mahadevan.

Sarika, a graduate in English, is a freelance fashion designer and, together with husband Pravin, arranges Sanjog's concerts.

Pallavi is a singer who learnt under the late Mysore Ananthswamy and later under his son Raju Ananthswamy. She is now learning Hindustani vocal under Pandit Rajbhau Sontakke. She has been singing for jingles and films and has recorded some cassettes over the past four years. She counts among her idols Kishori Amonkar, Bhimsen Joshi and Asha Bhonsle. Pallavi, who is working on her postgraduate degree in English, has also been involved in the theatre (her grandfather is the veteran stage personality A S Murthy).

Pallavi has starred in a couple of Kannada TV serials like Mussanje and Mayamriga. She says of the latter: "I think that during the two years of shooting, I learned many aspects of acting which cannot be learnt from stage acting. I was lucky to work under T N Seetharam. My role was a challenging one as it was that of a handicapped girl who evolves from being a strong, positive-minded girl to an emotionally dependent girl when she falls in love with a married man. The unit of Mayamriga was wonderful to work with."

Sanjog holds its concerts on the second Sunday of every month at Kalamandir, 5th Cross, Hanumanth Nagar, Bangalore 560 019.

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