From the Editor's desk:-
Dear Do..Re..Me..Fa.. Music lovers,
Once again it’s my unique privilege to present the first chord of this New Year 2016 to the valued browzers of daijiworld.com. After having a wonderful and quite memorable Christmas and New Year celebration here in Canada, I am back again with the New Year’s first chord. First of all, let me take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy, prosperous, healthy and blessed New Year-2016. May heavenly blessings be upon you throughout this year and I am fully confident that you will support me this year too as you did in the previous years with your great encouragement. In return, I will try my level best to live up to your expectations by presenting exciting and melodious chords of Konkani music.
In this great month of January, daijiworld.com has successfully completed fifteen glorious years. I take this occasion to congratulate and thank its mentor Walter Nandalike for his dedication and determination in bringing this wonderful portal to its current level. I also appreciate and thank the talented and efficient support team for their stupendous service with an exemplary dedication.
As I was hunting for a super star to present to you guys as a New Year gift. Amidst the galaxies of shining stars there I found a magnificent sitar artiste who has overcame umpteen obstacles to achieve success. The super-duper classical star whom I am referring to is none other than Kochikar Devdas Pai.
I wish to extend my wholehearted thanks to Florine Roche for all her efforts and unassuming sacrifice in bringing this classical star for Do..Re..Me..Fa..
As you continue listening to this classical chord of Konkani music, once again, dear music lovers, I thank you for your interest and great support. I shall see you next month with another melodious music chord. Until then bye!
Kochikar Devadas Pai - Overcoming obstacles to achieve success as a Sitar artiste
"I don’t know whether I got an inborn talent for music or not but somehow it has become a part of life for almost 25 years now. It was after watching the famous "Shankarabharanam" movie in 1980 I realised that music is something that transcends all barriers of language. The film inspired me to learn Sitar and since then it has become my hobby and now slowly it has become a part of my profession also", Kochikar Devadas Pai.
Where there’s a will there’s certainly a way. With determination and perseverance one can always find the right path and the method to reach the goal or to achieve the unthinkable. Kochikar Devadas Pai, a Sitar Artiste of repute, who is also a businessman by profession, is a living example who proved the proverb right in his own way. With over 220 concerts to his credit and with an incredible range comprising Hindustani and Carnatic music, bhajans, kirthans and abhangavanis, Devadas Pai has become a much in demand music artiste preferred and patronised by music enthusiasts. It has been a long journey for Devadas Pai as his maternal aunt Leelavati Shenoy had passed on her sitar to him as a gift and initially Devadas had even mistaken it to be a Veena. He has also demonstrated that GSB Konkanis has the talent to go beyond typified nomenclature of ‘Bhajan singers’.
Illustrious Family Background
Kochikar Devadas Pai who was born on 15th February 1962 is the eldest among the six children of late K Gopalakrishna Pai and K Radha Pai and is the grandson of late K Vittaldas Pai. This family is the pioneer in film exhibition in Mangalore as it owned "Roopavani" and "New Chitra", one of the oldest theatres in the city of Mangalore. Credit goes to the Kochikar family for bringing the first motion picture to South Kanara in 1936. Devadas Pai is now the Managing Partner of New Chitra talkies and side by side he has made tremendous achievements in the music field to become a much in-demand performer as a music artiste. Since 2014 he has also been the Executive Board member of the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy.
After graduating in Arts from Canara College, Devadas was compelled by circumstances to join the family business. In fact, his initiation into the music field reads like an interesting story. Having got Sitar as a gift from his aunt Devadas was just wondering what he is going to do with it. His parents were averse to the idea of sending him for music lessons paying Rs. 75/- per month. It was a mere co-incidence that one K A Kotian, a music teacher from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, was teaching Sitar to a girl in his neighbourhood. Devadas used to go there and learn just by watching the two and as a result of this dedication was able to win first prize in college music competition where the girl taught by Kotian also had taken part. Needless to say the Ekalavya kind of training came to a sudden end as a result of Devadas making best use of the training he learnt without paying for it. However, Kotian noticed his talent for music and offered his services and asked him to come to Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan for classes. This proved to be one of the major turning points in the music career of Devadas Pai as he received initial training to hone his skills in Sitar.
It was however, not easy to go for coaching classes regularly amidst managing his theatre business and Devadas had to keep his music hobby aside for the time being or so he thought. But destiny willed otherwise. His interest in getting further training rekindled when Jayashree Shanbhogue, a Programme executive in Akashavani informed him about the new Sitar maestro in the city - Rafeeq Khan who had joined as a staff artiste in Akashavani Mangalore in 1991. Devadas grabbed the opportunity and under Rafeeq’s guidance he could perfect his skills further. "After coming in contact with Rafeeq Khan I came to know what Sitar is. I also got to learn the finer nuances of learning the instrument in a systematic way", Devadas points out. It was however, not easy for him to sidetrack his business and concentrate on pursuing music which was merely a hobby. Therefore, the guru-shishya association did not flourish long even though their relationship continues.
Once again, Devadas was fortunate to get trained under the guidance of Saxaphone artiste Kadri Gopalnath, a few years later. It was by fluke that one day when Devadas was practicing in his office room in the premises of the theatre Kadri Gopalnath who had come to the theatre came to his office after listening to the Sitar tunes. Devadas was practicing in his office whenever he found time and Kadri who saw his talent and interest took him under his arm. There was, however, a hitch because what he had learnt so far was Hindustani. Kadri is one of the pioneers of Carnatic music whereas Sitar is predominantly used in Hindustani music.
But there is always a way out of an impasse and both Kadri Gopalnath and Devadas decided to experiment with Sitar in Carnatic style and with great success. Their working together resulted in Devadas Pai presenting his debut in 1994 through a public performance in the sacred confines of Shree Sharadamba Temple in Sringeri. Under the guidance of Guru Kadri Gopalnath he sang Carnatic Kirtans using Sitar and that was just the initiation he was looking for.
Playing Hindustani or Carnatic or sometimes even fusion music is no mean task. But credit goes to Devadas Pai for doing that balancing act by rising to the occasion whenever situation demanded. With recognition and accolades pouring from all sides, there is an increase in the demand for his performances and Devadas has responded to it positively. Today he has earned name and fame as a seasoned Sitar artiste due to his unfaltering efforts, single minded devotion and commitment. Along with recognition awards have come pouring in for him from time to time and from diverse organisations and institutions.
Devadas holds the "Vidhwan" title conferred in 1995 by Dr D Veerendra Heggade, in high reverence. In 1996 he was conferred "Sangeet Saurabh" award given by K Amarnath Shetty. He has also received Sangeetha Visharada title conferred by Sri Vishwesha Theertha Swamiji of Udupi Pejavar Mutt, Young Talent Award given by Bank Associations, Maan Patra Samman by Government of Goa state and "Sitar Sri’ by Vatsalayadham Vradhashram, Kodialbail. He is also the proud recipient of ‘Sitar Ratna’ conferred on him in 2015 by Srimad Sudhindra Theertha Swamiji of Shree Kasha Math Samsthan at Haridwar.
His wife Nirmala Nayak who belongs to the family of Suhasini Beedies, is teaching at Chinmay school and has supported him in all his endeavours. Though she has done her BCom LLB, she finds great pleasure in teaching to young children. He has a son and a daughter and they are evincing interest in learning the Sitar.
Kochikar Devadas Pai is quite modest about his accomplishments in the music field. He is also very vocal about giving credit where it deserves. He says it was however, his nephew who played a major role in Devadas’s emergence as a leading performer at religious, cultural, social and family functions. His sister’s son Virupaksha who got married in 2009 had insisted that Devadas Pai give music performance at his wedding reception. "It was Virupaksha who insisted that I should play at his wedding reception and I had no other alternative than to succumb. That performance gave me the confidence required and I began to believe in my own abilities, Devadas recalls.
That proved to be a launching pad for Devadas Pai and he was flooded with offers to play at various functions after that performance. "Today, I am invited to most of the social, cultural and family functions and I perform music as per their requirement – be it Hindustani, Carnatic or fusion or a combination of all", he declares. Even his brother who is his business partner has offered to take care of the business leaving enough time for Devadas Pai to perform at various functions. From then onwards Devadas Pai went on write a new script as far as his music performance as a Sitar artiste is concerned. Since then Devadas Pai has bloomed to emerge as a leading Sitar artiste who entertains music lovers with a wide array of choices playing Hindustani and Carnatic classical, Bhajans, Kirtans etc. With no family background in music Devadas who learnt the ropes of mastering Sitar by his unflinching interest is now reaping the fruits of his strenuous labour.
As music artiste who firmly believes in sharing the knowledge of music Devadas Pai is training young talents during his free time. Thus he is contributing in his own little way the continuation of the legacy of Indian classical music. He is now excitingly waiting for the World Cultural Programe organised by Sri Ravishankar of ‘Art of Living’ fame to be held in New Delhi in March this year Devadas is selected to be part of this concert and naturally he is excited about this programme.
Wishing Kochikar Devadas Pai all the best in all his endeavours and pray he attains greater glory, name and fame as a Sitarist of great repute.