‘The harmonium is one of the most popular instruments’

Amrita Prasad
Saturday, 19 January 2019

On the 3rd day of Vasantotsav organised in association with Sakal, Aditya Oke and Satyajit Prabhu will present their popular show Jaduchi Peti

PUNE: The three-day long musical extravaganza ---Vasantotsav--- is coming to an end today (Jan 20).  The festival which is being held in association with Sakal, is presenting Jaduchi Peti, where harmonium player and music arranger Aditya Oke and Satyajit Prabhu, music arranger, synthesiser, accordion, pianica and harmonium player, will entertain the audience with a performance on the harmonium.

The programme intends to educates listeners about the musical journey of the harmonium ----  right from its birth in France to its present status in India across various genres of music. Team Jaduchi Peti has so far performed at various places across the world. 

We chatted with Oke to know more about Jaduchi Peti and the harmonium  

Tell us about your popular show Jaduchi Peti. How was it conceived and what makes it so attractive to the audience?
My father Pt. Dr Vidhyadhar Oke used to perform a programme on harmonium on a very small scale  which was called Harmonium Ek Rasaswad. I used to accompany him since I was 8 and I have seen how people reacted to harmonium. About some odd 4-5 years ago, it struck me that the name Jaduchi Peti which means a magician’s box, can be applied to the harmonium as well. Just like in magic, you don’t know what will come out of the box. With harmonium too, you don’t know what notes will be played on the instrument. The harmonium is one of the most popular instruments and it can used in every kind and genre of music. However, not many are aware of the details about the instrument - its origins, it’s utilities, how it can complement other instruments and how it can be helpful in learning music etc. Hence, Satyajit and I  thought of designing a show together where the audience gets entertained by our music, and also gets to learn about the harmonium. And this is what attracts the audience to Jaduchi Peti. 

- What are some of the notes that you will be focusing on during your performance?
This programme contains a brief a history of  the harmonium--- right from where it came from and who invented it, to its whole journey as an instrument. As a part of the programme, we also explain the various genres that the harmonium seemingly blends with. The harmonium can be a part of both classical and film music. We also tell the audience how to play the instrument and who all can play it. Apart from the harmonium, we also give a demonstration on the synthesiser.

- How do music festivals like Vasantotsav, which is focused on classical music help promote classical music?
I have been associated with Vasantotsav for the last 12 years, not just as a performer, but also as a sound engineer. It has been beautifully promoting classic music and different other types of musical genres as well-- it has presented the best of music from different styles before the audience of  Pune. And, from Daler Mehndi to Suresh Wadkar the range of musicians and artistes at Vasantotsav has been quite diverse. Vasantostsav is an excellent platform to get the  harmonium recognised and to make people aware of the power of this instrument. 

While many consider the harmonium as an accompaniment during music performances, it is an instrument that has created a significant place for itself. Tell us the role and significance of the harmonium in Indian classical music and its awareness globally. 

The harmonium has a big history of performance in classical music and five generations (since 1880) have used the harmonium as an accompaniment instrument which makes it a significant instrument. We have to take it into consideration that the harmonium has evolved a lot since its birth and unlike the harmonium. The harmonium has transformed from being an instrument that used to be played with feet to now being played with hands and the change in bass, male and female reeds, couplers and scales-- it given many options to create notes in sounds as well as male and female singers.

Talking about it’s global popularity, I would like to state that it is mostly Indians who know about the instrument, the number of people who are aware of the harmonium in the West is quite less. Having said that it is the duty of the musical community to take the instrument to a global stage.

On the 3rd day of Vasantotsav, watch the performances Jaduchi Peti--  Instrumental Harmonium Ensemble by Aditya Oke at  4 pm, Marathi Folk by Adarsh Shinde at 6 pm and  Sangeet Sanshaykallol - Sangeet Natya : Classic Musical by Rahul Deshpande, Priyanka Barve,  Ameya Wagh and Deepti Mate at 7 pm at Pandit Farms, Karve Nagar

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