Many of my friends here have been asking me last few weeks to share some tracks of Bansuri played by me and also share some tit bits about the instrument.
Playing Bansuri has been more of a hobby for me. It never was a passion hence I could never give the dedication it required. It started more as a fun-play for me during childhood. Our village used to be visited by a guy selling Bansuri. He would roam around the village playing one himself. I used to love listening to his recitals and when free would even follow him. I felt like buying one but as kids we were told by our elders never to talk to hawkers let alone buy anything.
Then came a “Mela” (Fair) and I saw this man even there selling Bansuri. Mela was then a place to buy anything and I requested my brother to buy one. There started my journey with this instrument. I would play randomly, without any tune and even get to hear shouts asking to stop. One day hearing me play some “Besura” tunes, this Bansuri seller while passing our house stopped. He sat down on the porch and then started showing me how to play simple SaReGaMaPa on flute. The coaching went on for weeks and ended in his coming everyday late afternoon when I was back from school, have lunch that my mother would serve him and then guide me. He was my first Guru!!!!
Later after I started with my higher education, I got myself a proper Guru so that I can learn it better. Here I realised how important it is to always get started with a proper Guru. If you learn on your own, your finger movements get set as per your need and ease. This could always be the wrong movement and now when you get started with proper coaching, its extremely difficult to set them back to track.
The most important thing to remember while holding Bansuri is that the three fingers of each hand that cover fingering holes, should be free to move quickly on the Bansuri. In other words, these fingers should not be used to grip the Bansuri and you should not force them around it. They should be as light as possible. One of the most common mistakes is to grip the Bansuri with the index finger of the top hand. If you grip the Bansuri with your playing fingers, they will not be able to move fast enough and your playing speed will suffer.
The gripping style also has two school of thoughts. One school of thought asks you to close fingering holes with finger tips while the other asks you to close fingering holes with the middle part of the fingers. The first school of thought was followed by Pt. Pannalal Ghosh while second one we can see Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia following.
One of my most memorable day in life was when I met Pt Chaurasiaji personally few years back. He was on a visit to IIT KgP for a live concert and fortunately, the IIT administration gave me the responsibility to be at his side as long as he was on the campus. The tips I received from him and discussions I had with him, always stay as a cherishing memory for me. These days playing Bansuri has turned more of entertaining myself. It soothes me a lot whenever I am in any turmoil. I can never get the dedication required to be a pro but I can’t keep it away from me either. Its always there with me when I take any trip, be it anywhere!!!!
There’s lot about Bansuri that I feel like telling. But best to stop here and share two tracks with you all.
A light track, played for fun sake, more of time pass.
Playing Raag Bhupali during a homely get-together on my Guru’s insistence.