The 27-year-old sarod player, Sarang Kulkarni, is aware of the weight of his musical legacy and what his debut performance at the 65th Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav means. Sarang will be accompanying his father and guru Pt Rajan Kulkarni.
When asked about the experience of growing up in a family of musicians, the young artist adds, “Music and discussions around it is what I remember from my childhood. The bandish and other notations were not much difficult for me to understand as music was ingrained into my system.” His grandfather Pt Vinayakrao Kulkarni and granduncle late Pt Raghunathrao Kulkarni were disciples of legendary musician Vishnu Digambar Paluskar.
Sarang first learnt singing, and studied tabla until Std VII. He began training to play the stringed instrument after that.
Talking about the shift, Sarang says, “The knowledge of singing and playing tabla have helped me understand the tempo and tune when I play the sarod.” Having trained under his father, Sarang says that the ‘guru’ factor dominates in his relationship with the latter. “Until now, I have always thought of him as my guru. We have always discussed music and nothing else. It is now that we have started to develop a bond as father and son,” he adds.
Besides performing at Sawai, Sarang considers himself blessed to have had the chance to accompany Sangeet Martand Pt Jasraj on a tour to United States, when he was only 17. “During a competition organised by Acharya Vishwanath Dev Sharma Art Foundation, artists from across the country, had gathered to present their skills. I was one of them. The competition was judged by Pt Jasraj, Pt Raja Kale and other big names. I got selected and went to perform at New York, during the Diwali of 2007. I was just 17 then,” he informs.
Sarang also regularly accompanies Taufiq Qureshi. For him, each performance is a learning experience and he is always waiting for an opportunity to share the stage with the legend. A fan of A R Rahman, this versatile artist has also arranged music and even composed for a few films. “Lathe Joshi, one of the films that I composed for, has won many awards at several film festivals. Another is Udaharnarth Nemade based on well-known writer Bhalchandra Nemade,” shares Sarang.
Asked about his dream as a musician, the artist says, “I want to become an artist who performs what people would like to listen to. I want to communicate with my audience the joy of playing the sarod.”
(Sarang Kulkarni to perform on December 17)