Naviin Gandharv a talent to watch out for his take on an exceptionally Unique Music Instrument “Belabaharr ” !

Naviin Gandharv a talent to watch out for his take on an exceptionally Unique Music Instrument “Belabaharr ” !


In a live dialogue with one of the musically inclined young musician who has invented a totally new and innovative instruement by the name of  “Belabaharr” which has its exclusive properties is explored by Naviin Gandharv an artiste in the making who leaves you in a trance when he is performing live. Its indeed magically musical ! Just read on to know more about the artiste and his invention !!!


What is Belabaharr ?

Belabaharr’s  is a Precious gift to the music world  & a pride of Indians as such a masterpiece has been created here. It’s a best example of  creativity in music instruments with its  sonorous unique sound . Belabaharr legacy and I will try my best to take this forward with my best  efforts .


What is the origin and who discovered or invented the Belabaharr ?

It is My great Father Pt.Babulal Gandharv who imagined about this phenomenon & brought it into life by combining the thoughts & principals of Saarangi , Violin & vocals  in 1980.

During his childhood he had learnt the Sarangi & vocal from his father Pt.Kashiram Gandharv.Later as he grew up he got attracted towards the Violin by its beautiful look & style so he started learning it from SG Ranade of Dewas. He did vigorous practice on it for years .Technically he was more satisfied in playing with comparatively more ease & accessible positions but missed the resonating sound of the tarabs (sympathetic strings) which were there in the Sarangi Sitar & Sarod etc ,”the indian sound”. By gods grace a thought of combining both these instruments came into his mind. After years of thinking he could  imagine an image ,a design of the instrument which would look & played  like a Violin but sound  very Indian by  adding  tarabs (sympathetic strings). He carved a 200years old teak wood . At last by lots of efforts he succeeded in creating the most beautiful & enchanting instrument.


3) So Naviin how did you get initiated into playing and performing the Belabaharr ?

During my childhood like in most musical families  we had tabla at home & I could just make fun with the Tabla & entertain people who visited ,gradually  it became my passion with  cricket & football ,these games were a  matter of worry for  my parents so they use to take us to some affordable concerts sometimes play classical music tapes so that we could be attracted towards music .They played tapes of artists like Pt Ramnarayan ,Smt .Kishori Amonkar ji ,Ustad Ghulam ali Ustad Zakir Hussain, UstadTari khan & many .My attention always went on  tabla as they  get good response & clapping by public so that interest pulled me towards tabla .Father took me to  Pt.Vishwanath Mishra for learning the tabla in discipline ,I use to listen my Nanaji who played sarangi as well as tabla  & from whatever source I could learn ,later I was fortunate to learn under the great legendary Ustad Allarakha ,attended many concerts & daynight music music & music .By genes I had melodic mind while listening tabla my ears always moved towards tuneful melodies also .While  accompanying tabla with most of the eminent senior & contemporary artists I didn’t imagine that destiny has still to offer something very special which will make my identity  as unique as no one in the whole world.


My parents were happy about me playing tabla at a high level but  always imagined if I were the one who will carry the belabaharr’s  legacy so this was a pain for them . I loved this instrument to hear it fom father & I tried to let people know about this unique creation by best of efforts. I noticed some people mocked for  of my emotions as I tried to bring this creation into limelight by ways of  meeting artists ,organisers ,music lovers & those who came across in parties,events or concerts  .As a Tabla  player I was going smoothly towards a lusturous concert career but a thought that who will take over my father’s legacy of the wonderful instrument ‘Belabaharr’. Continuously thinking on this I finally took up the challenge that it could  be no one but me myself only & started from a professional Tabla player to a beginner in the Belabaharr like a start beginning from a Zero .So now you all know me as a Belabaharr artist & that’s a miracle for me or anyone  who does similar I should say in classical music .


Most of  the artists who played first Tabla have left it & known for other instruments  but I am still playing it convincingly . The Tabla loves me more than I love it.It was very difficult to switch on from a Tabla player to a Belabaharr player .I was critcised by relatives that this is not everyones cup of tea .The sitting position was painful & awkward making me uncomfortable & nervous .My mother  always motivated me as she believed that I was on a right path & was  always behind me . Facing all contradictory odds I have been now succesful in creating my own audience & have played at many of prestigious festivals & especially invited by people to perform who want to listen real music ,something exeptional & new.


4.How different it is from all the other conventional instruements like Sarangi Sitar, Sarod or any melody instruments ?

The uniqueness is first of all is its beautiful visibility ,rich sound &  technical ease to play music of any kind ,the technique enables the artist to attempt complex phrases with ease .The finger board is easily accessible as compared to the long ones in  Sitar or Sarod .By its basic positions one can play the right note unlike Sarangi where one has to slide always to find the note. Its very easy to tune it like within some moments with the help of fine tuners which are absent or have not been used in other tarab instruments ,Tarabs are the sympathetic strings which produce the resonating unique sound.


5) In today’s time when technologically every instruments beats are available on computer or say you can create same impact music on computer …what are the possibilities and how do you see Belabaharr in the whole process ?

I will say that technology won’t be ever so strong to divert us from our musical values (sanskar) we can use that in enhancing our performance in terms of complimenting traditional music & use it for its promotion. I always believe in real, I woud ask one thing “Can technology produce Lataji or Ashaji”.

Electronic music has its prominent  space in today’s world but fast foods can only give you tastes harmful otherwise  not “taste with health “which is favorable for society.


6) Where do you generally perform the Belabaharr & what is the duration for which you can perform and people may still enjoy ?

I perform the Belabaharr at classical concerts ,recording sessions ,collaborations where it has a prominent space I have been performing  for various musical & other institutions like NCPA ,ICCR ,Essar group, Lakme fashion week ,IMG St Xavier’s college,Vedic celebrations, young string masters of india  ,Kanakia art foundation, Indus internationals, Hindustan times, Sahara india, Celebrate bandra, Osho, Whistling Woods Intenationals, Indor stadium Orrissa VLCC Events, IIC India International Centre .Azad Bhavan ,Habitat Ampitheatre ,JW Marriot Mumbai ,Prithvi theatre,Bhavans cultural centre , Devals club Kolhapur  ,Mayo college Ajmer ,Bombay stock exchange BSE,GSC Mumbai,Iyengar yogsabha  ,Hongkong Baptist University ,Delhi International Arts Festival DIAF Bombay Stock Exchange ETC.Upvan Sanskriti arts festival ,.I hav been successful in creating my own audience & fan following all over by single handed efforts  popularizing the Belabaharr & also been loyal to the tabla art.

7) How many people are there with during your performance and you use vocals also or else it is plain instrument only ?

In Pure classical concerts we are usually tree ,me on Belabaharr ,a Tabla player & my brother devanand ji on keyboards who creates a tuneful ambience which inspires me

With my band we are 5 to 6 artists on different Indian & western instruments which gives a contemporary flavor to my rhythmic compositions based on classical ,we always emphasise & try to bring attention on instruments as the vocal is already in limelight which hardly needs any exposure.

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8) Recently you have developed a band called Anuraaj … so what are your plans with the band ?

‘ANURAAJ’, is a product of my journey through the  Belabaharr & Tabla which is uniquely only one of its kind which produces music different from all contemporaries, My  songs are  blended by the nuances of ragas & interesting taal mathematics which is India’s traditional heritage presented in a noble style ,Anuraaj is a platform for highly talented youngsters of Indian classical music with a vision to take Indian music art to the highest level in the world which cuts across cultural boundaries & appeals to people of all classes & backgrounds. The aesthetics  is a specialty of our music goes beyond technicalities producing immense pleasure which can’t be achieved by mere hard practice or learning. Letting people know of what music is all about .Music is just not sound for fun  or an entertainment commodity ,it’s a divine gift from God which needs to be used wisely

9) Recently you doing any program live ?

Yes we are performing in Pune for WTT “We the artists” in a series of youth based concerts UTT ,Under The Tree which aims in promoting the right & responsible music which society needs to listen & acknowledge a new creativity of youngsters who are following traditional arts &  promoting a message of plantating as much as trees for building healthy environment .Its a very crucial opportunity to interact with youth & convince them about the power & greatness of Indian music.I thank Abhishek Kawitkar ,Ravi Damre & whole WTA team for inviting Anuraaj & congratulate on this feat.


10) Do you think Belabaharr performance will attract people at large ? if so than why do you think so ?

Hundred & ten percent as It is rarely heard  sound & its music is very different from other instruments & I have made efforts to put my inspirations experience & learning into it ,More than exhibiting my skills Its aesthetics which I am trying to explose.The Belabaharr is already very much known to fans who are in search of creativity .


11) How do you see the future of Belabaharr & what are your future plans as regards your fathers new discovery & invention ?

People know me & the Belabaharr from different corners of the world which I didn’t even imagine though dreamed .I am being approached by most of the eminent artists of the industry to have the belabaharr sound into their music & its going on & on . Whenever a new creation or vision takes birth it is first criticized  followed a series of exams then the world welcomes it so similar things happening with me ,my creativity in music  & the belabaharr too.I have never planned anything in life but always made efforts for being better & better .I wish to reach a true music lovers heart all through the belabaharr strings beat of tabla or by my band .I have seen people going mad for international stars like Michael Jackson ,Yanni,kenny G etc .That craze could be hardly seen for Indian artists who follow traditional music  except bollywood stars  .Its a dream to see people recognizing real art & not   gimmicks .I would like to have a couple of students who can dare to carry on this instruments legacy .Finally popularizing this instrument &  the power of Indian classical music which has not yet been projected yet  into masses. As there have been individual stars who are great &  performed it on the highest level but still classical music is not the first choice .I would feel  honored if I could do little contribution to it through my classical band Anuraaj  My life has been like a miracle so far .We belong to a rich musical family from our ancestors in Madhya Pradesh  ,Dewas a state in middle of India .Always were in a economical background ,My Parents did go through very hard times in bringing up us with values in a slum in Mumbai 1980  .Up till couple of years back we lived the life of scarcities ,always saving money for necessities .The only reason for us to be happy is music  through which people know me & my family .With lot of hardships I could create an album Silver Lining  through which I got new  friends from corporate families who were so humble  to believe being so rich ,to name  Mr.Nishith Desai (International law firm )   & Noopur Desai of Apar Industries .So big hearted ,helped me in growing my music  ,introduced me to many people .Now  I am in a better position to help some upcoming classical artists as I know the pain myself .My life’s only mission  is to popularize  our cultural music  which has been in our traditions ,Bring Awareness in Corporates about classical music & musicians ,its positive influence on society  . ‘Anuraaj’ s formation is to make this music more interesting & contemporary to people of all ages & backgrouds.

12) Since it is one of its kind in the whole world as you say than have you tried to apply for Guiness or Limca Books of Records ?

Oh ! “Records my God” .I never ever thought of that Since from the start of my music journey I always wanted to entertain people & by their appreciation for my work was the best happiness I still cherish .I want to win peoples hearts & not any title .If they approach me for this I will surely welcome them & cooperate.


13) Is this instrument available in the market or in case someone wants to buy it , whom does one approach or where can he get one ?

No it is not available because the making is not everyone’s cup of tea ,it needs four brains ,a scientist ,engineer musician & instrument maker which is a phenomenon .If anyone wants to buy he can contact my dad & convince him to make for him. Better option is to know what  instrument is & learn from him like a devoted son or student.


14) Do you think anyone can play Belabaharr who are masters with other instruments like Sitar,violin , Guitar, or so many others ?

Comparatively a violin player can play it by understanding the purpose behind making the instrument &  use of tarabs ,the sympathetic strings .Differentiating from other instruments recognizing its individuality is important .

15 ) Anything else you would love to speak about your innovative discovery and how do see yourself in near future ?

I would certainly want to create more listeners of Belabaharr as my father & me have gone through  all hardships & yet today too to bring it into notice .Better than creating anymore players its most important to create an audience for it because there are many artists in the country but there are no sufficient opportunities for those following Indian music because of certain influences.By average A piano player is paid 50000 where as people hardly pay a 5000 to a Tabla player which needs to be raised.

I wish to convey something that music is just not fun or entertainment ,it’s a divine gift beyond any pleasure .Those who pursue  should understand its purpose & its impact on society. Overnight success is not success .Your art will only be immortal & powerful  by  years of practice with commitment then it can only be fulfilled by wishes & blessings from your Guru ,family & the Almighty .A humble request if I can make to all music fans especially to the  corbporate personalities that please don’t accept rubish sounds in the name of music just because of media hammering & ,its injustice to real artists .It takes a lot of pain & suffering to be a musician to entertain you people .Its now your turn to take care of some needy talents  of your own country. Those are the real human beings who think for others & support them  otherwise there are many animals on earth.