The melody of the flute, the resonance of the veena and the rhythmic beats of the kanjira create an everlasting atmosphere of joie de vivre for a motley group of Bangaloreans comprising music connoisseurs, musicians, budding artists as also simple village folk. The intense competitive spirit amongst the accompanying artistes turns the entire ambience into an event for pure enjoyment and togetherness. And, this is all for the rare heritage of divine classical music in a village.
Since 2001, a group of musicians, professionals and music lovers based in Bangalore have made it a point to give back something to a ‘unique village’ in Hassan which in fact, gave them everything be it veda, nada or taranga. Led by renowned musician R K Padmanabha, they all get together on the banks of Cauvery to hold a annual music festival at Rudrapatna. It is not an easy task for them to organise, arrange and bring the who’s who of the music world to come and perform at this remote village which hardly has any facilities. But nobody has any complaints as they are drowned in the swaras and layas that emanates from every nook and cranny of this tiny village that has four streets to its name and many a thottimanes (houses) dating back centuries.Fortunately untouched by any kind of development, this sangeet grama, whose gateway is decorated by ancient temples from the Hoysala and Vijayanagar dynasties, beckons one with the heavy resonant tones of the Saraswati Veena and the soulful melody of the flute that is literally unbelievable in the back of beyond, as we enter the Rama Mandira, the festival arena. A number of budding artistes from Bangalore including KV Krishna Prasad, Vinay S R, Deepak Shantharam and others too pitch in with their efforts and join the melee with every person soaked in the divine milieu of this village.
Even catering is done from namma Bangalore with the caterer Narayana Melladi preparing the choicest of dishes steaming fluffy idlis, Damrot, hot spicy bisi bhele bhat, holegas, Mysore pak, pulliyogre and what not on all three days of the festival. He has been part of the festival since its inception and every music lover is left licking their fingers as he manages to feed the thousands who congregate on the three days. As one music lover Harish succinctly puts it, “As an army marches on its stomach, even music flows like a river but on good food.” Apart from this, everyone has access to stay in any of the village houses as well as feast on the delicious food three times a day. All the arrangements were made from Bangalore in view of its remoteness and as H K Krishna, a chartered accountant and music lover from Bangalore says, “Like one family, the festival is held. There is no difference between the host and guest and it is an occasion to meet and listen to other artistes and a big platform for budding artists.”
For the colourful teppotsava on the banks of Cauvery, a group of people from Bangalore work against all odds and arrange everything including flowers, lighting, speakers and fireworks. Even the near perfect audio arrangements are sourced all the way from Byatrayanpura to Rudrapatna. As night falls, more than 300 artists render the Pancharatna kirtanas of Saint Thyagaraja along with dance, music and gamaka. With fireworks doing their bit for the sangeet aradhana, it is not surprising that the hosts and guests who are all from Bangalore, hope and pray for the continuation of this musical heritage and festivity in the years to come.