Shri Pravin Godkhindi – Eminent Flutist
Pravin Godkhindi is 1st Indian Flutist to perform on the 8 Feet contrabass flute. He is a top ranking artist in Hindustani Bansuri, by Akashvani (AIR). He is the 1st Indian to represent Bansuri at the World Flute Festival held at Mendoza Argentina. Pravin received National Awards for Films Beru & Vimukthi. He became so famous as he became Brand Ambassador for AKG Microphones.
How did you start off with music?
My father and Guru, Pandit Venkatesh Godkhindi was a renowned bansuri artiste and vocalist of the country so music was in my genes. By god’s grace music came to me as a blessing. I started toying with flute at a tender age just got hooked onto it.
This might be the most asked question to you but still, why flute?
I guess, Even before i came into this world i could hear the sounds of flute and hence i was destined to become a flautist. But i had initially begun playing the tabla, and my brother chose flute but when my father saw my precision in swaras he asked us to switch our instruments.
Your first public performance was at 6. Playing in front of an audience at that age is nerve-racking. How was the experience and how long did it take to get used to it?
It was a great feeling. I remember, my main aim was to get more applause than my brother who was accompanying me on the Tabla. I got used to the stage, lights and the audience pretty quickly and was more and more eager to learn newer things.
One specific thing you’d like to tell about your father who is also your Guru?
He was a great musician. A composer, Flautist, Vocalist and a Harmonium player and a fantastic teacher. He was a self taught musician and a great flute maker too. He was the first Indian to add the ‘thumb hole’ to the bansuri to be able to add the much needed glides between notes.
You are an electrical engineer by qualification. Was it difficult juggling between music and studies? Were there any sacrifices you had to make for your dream?
I personally believe that science, maths and classical music has a lot in common. One research even suggests that the same part of the brain is used for engineering as well as music. So I really did not feel pressurised whatsoever. It is difficult but not impossible to balance both. I am happy I chose music.
I read somewhere that your favourite raga is Yaman. Why is it so?
Yaman is one of my favourites basically because this is one beautiful raga that has varied emotions. Its also called ‘Nitya Nutana’, it sounds new and fresh every time. Also because I practised it during my initial days continuously for almost 2 years!
You’ve toured and performed with the music Maestros like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Dr.Balmurali Krishna and many more… how was your experience with them?
All legends have contributed to my success in some way or the other, i keep learning from all of them. But with Ustad Zakirbhai and Dr.Balmurliji it was like being sheltered by the almighty themselves. I was very fortunate to play with them together.
How is life for a full time artist? Does he/she get paid well?
If you are versatile and very good then money is not a problem for a musician. In fact life is much easier nowadays for musicians with the advent of digital medium, internet etc.
Tell us about your online classes. Your message for young Music aspirants?
I have been conducting online classes for some learned and bright disciples around the world, it is nice that many people show interest in the art. Young musicians need to learn classical music under a good guru for a long time before venturing into fusion or applied forms of music. Practice, discipline and focus are essential to become seasoned performers. Don’t get carried away by western music because our classical music roots are very strong & ancient and one will find all those elements that one may look for in other forms of music.
Anything else you want to mention?
I urge the youngsters to listen to any one classical recording or live concert for at least 1 hour in a week. Even if you can’t/don’t want to pursue classical music, you will realise that this music helps you concentrate better, memorise better. At least you will be good listeners in the years to come which in a way will be your contribution in patronising our rich cultural heritage.