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Enchantment from Eden valley

``ACCORDING TO me, music is not for Entertainment.

It was my life-long dream to play such kind of music which will make the listeners forget to clap; which will make them silent. My dream came true, once. I played one raga while the listeners immersed deep in meditation And I experienced a state of thoughtlessness The silence was so nourishing so fulfilling There was no need to play anything else''

- Pt. Shivkumar Sharma (www.santoor.com)

In Chennai for a lecture demonstration for the school children of Vivekananda Vidyalaya, Kolathur, the `santoor' genius, chats at length about his passion for spiritual music, for he does not believe that classical music is for the classes.

A model for Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth popularly known as SPICMACAY - the society with a mission to take classical music to the schools.

``Santoor is spiritual music. It takes you into a serene atmosphere.

It puts the mind to rest.

Even if one does not know classical music. It makes you chant Om.

Take it as meditation, break into thoughtlessness while listening to just this. Go beyond. That is the need of the time.

The spiritual aspect of life should be conveyed because man's spiritual link is broken,'' says the legend.

Born in Jammu, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma has always had emotional ties with the land.

``My music is inspired by nature. Nature is the biggest inspiration. My album `Call of the Valley' that I released back in 1967 was thematic music - a shepherd's day of life in the valley.

There were different ragas expressing different characters. Jammu is the winter capital and we have a different language from people of Kashmir.

People in Jammu were called Dogras, not Kashmiris. But that is the beauty of our country. Unity in Diversity. So many religions and still it is one state.

My music comes from the folk music of Jammu, from the `pahadi', from the mother across the river, from the people of the village... it is music from my memories... `Dekha Ek Khaab Aur Silsile Huey' (humming)... It is inspired by Dogri folk music.''

`Silsila' in 1980, was Panditji's first venture with Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia into film music, as the `Shiv-Hari' music director duo.

But the santoor great had done film music before, as early as Shantaram's `Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje' in 1965.

But the Shiv-Hari duo did only ``selected films'', that proved to be big musical hits, `Faasle', `Chandni', `Lamhe', `Darr'. Another Yash Chopra venture on the works of poet, Sahir Ludhianvi, titled `Parchaiyaan', is on the cards.

``I am a medium. God sent me to do it. It is God's will and my Guru's blessings that I had to be involved.

Now santoor has new dimensions beyond entertainment, meditation, medicine - doctors use it during operations, students listen to it during exams, it helps them concentrate''.

Sudhish Kamath

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