In February 2020 the 4th mando-fest of India took place in Goa. This made me very curious about the situation of the mandolin in India. I have tried to collect information about the mando-fest and the most important mandolin players in India.
I have got the following information from Pradipto Sengupta who is one of the founders of this festival.
MANDOLIN FESTIVAL IN INDIA
HI, I am PRADIPTO SENGUPTA from Mumbai India. I play mandolin since my childhood. When I decided to learn Mandolin, it was very difficult to get good teacher then in Kolkata because this instrument is not very popular even today in our country. I took this as my profession and shifted to Mumbai in 1988, and started playing in the Mumbai Film Industry as a studio musician. Every time a thought was in my mind that, I must do something for the promotion and propagate about Mandolin in our country, and it drives me to meet Mr. Anil Pendse from Pune who is a founder member of Mandolin Lovers Club. MLC formed in 2002, that time there were 10/15 members. I am happy to state today that we have more than 100 mandolin lovers in our forum.
I approached him about the concept of Mandolin festival in our country. He has appreciated the idea and with the love and support of Mandolin Lovers Club the idea took off and we could start our first Mando-Fest in Loni, Pune in 2017, and with each passing year we have had three very successful fests already and this year 2020 we have organized our 4th festival in Goa and we have added another feather to our cap by making this fest a grand success. The special attraction of this festival was the presence of maestro Carlo Aonzo and Maestro Lorenzo Bernardi from Italy. My sincere thanks to both of them for accepting my invitation and it was an honour for us to have both of them with us. They have conducted workshop, performed, and it was a great pleasure for me to share the stage with them.
This year Carlo Aonzo (mandolin) and Lorenzo Bernardi (guitar) had been invited to the Mando-Fest. I have asked Carlo Aonzo for a short statement about the Mando-Fest:
I am very impressed for the level of passion and interest around the mandolin in India, many good players, amateurs and professional musicians and the surprise of the very young mandolinista like the Warna girls. The mandolin is completely integrated into the Indian musical culture.
4th Mando-Fest of India 2020 – Playlist
The Warna Girls – a mandolin ensemble of 12 young girls – played at the Mandofest and got a lot of applause from the audience. Other videos: “Dr. Avinash Damle – -Playing Mandolin at Mando fest of india” and “Mandolin -Mere Rashke Qamar-TipTipBarsaPani-Bulleya”
3rd National Mando-Fest of India 2019, Bangalore
The playlist contains a trailer with information about the 3rd Mando-Fest, the video “PRADIPTO SENGUPTA PLAYED Huttidare Kannada on Mandolin” and the performance “50 Ragas| Aravind Bhargav| Chowdiah Hall”
3rd Mandofest – First Day
The complete program of the two days day of the Mando-Fest 2019 have been filmed and are available at youtube. It is very interesting to follow this event. After the opening of the mando-fest you can see a sand artist draw pictures with background music by several mandolin players. Later there is a performance by Kishor Desai with his student Aishwarya Pagare.
Pradipto Sengupta gave me the following information about the history of the mandolin in India:
Brief information about the very interesting history of this beautiful instrument in our country.
It was through the countries of Britain, Portugal and Israel in the year 1913, this instrument made its way to our country India. Again through two groups known as “Bene-Israel” group and the “Bagdadies”, who lived along the Konkan coast area, and eventually migrated to Bombay during First World War.
A prominent name is from Bene Israel group Mr. Avid David owner of Hebrew Record Level who shifted to Mumbai from Bagdad in 1915. Subsequently his son “Issac David Dandekar” popularly known as “David Saab” became to be known as the first and finest Mandolinist and a very popular and respected personality till date. Another Mandolin artist from Bagdad Mr. Faizulla Taghioff popularly known as Abdul Rahim was a member of a Band of 5 musicians which was formed by an artist called Simeon Kharlikar, who was also from Bagdad and migrated to Kolkata later shifted to Bombay. Abdul Rahim also played in several recordings.
Later also artistes like Ustad Sajjad Hussain, Parsuram Haldipur, Laxmikant Kudalkar, Kishor Desai, Ravi Sundaram, Shailu Sundaram, Ashish Gupta, Saroj Barua, Jaswant Singh Jolly continued to win the hearts of the listeners through this instrument.
Late U Shrinivas a prominent name in Karnatic music had modified this instrument, fused it with electrification and has made it very popular in Karnatic Music.
Till now Mandolin is played as an accompaniment instrument in studio work or on live concerts in our country, but I am trying to introduce it as a solo instrument and encourage our young talents to take this instrument seriously. My main Moto behind this festival is to spread awareness, create passion, and propagate love for Mandolin and to indulge in creating heart rendering music out of this lovely instrument.
Pradipto Sengupta Live on Namaste Bharat | ABP News India
Pradipto Sengupta played live on ABP News India, at the end of the show he spoke about the 4th mandolin festival and Carlo Aonzo.
Playlist The Mandolin in India
I have compiled videos of mandoline players from India, including some performances outside of India. The following players can be heard: Sri Nasar Sajjad, Ustad Nasir Ahmad, Pradipto Sengupta, Ravi Sundaram, Kishor Desai with his student Aishwarya Pagare, Emu Desai, Sushil Verma, Shivani Dalvi, Diptanshu Roy, Mandolin Sisters, U.Nagamani, N.S. Prasad, U Shrinivas, Mandolin Rajesh, Snehasish Mozumder, and others.