A Man Who Adores Music: Shri Santosh Gajanan Kulkarni

By Shefali SK

Sometimes music is the only thing that your heart needs. Music gives a colourful imagination, beautiful wings to the soul, and creates magic. Shri Santosh Gajanan Kulkarni is one such magician, who brings the world around him to a standstill when he plays his Tabla. The magic created by his fingers when he moves them on the Tabla is just mesmerizing. In that mystical state, reality ceases to exist, and the heart flaps its wings to the rhythm of the music.

His journey

Shri. Santosh Gajanan Kulkarni (b. Bailhongal, Karnataka, 3 Dec. 1973) is a distinguished tabla virtuoso. Music runs in Shri Santosh Kulkarni’s blood. He is the grandson of an eminent tabla player, Late Shri Annaji Kulkarni and son of Pandit Gajanan Kulkarni, who is also a famous tabla player. From the age of 4, Shri Santosh Kulkarni received his tabla training from his father. The naïve fingers tried its best to learn and play the instrument. After being trained by Pandit Basavraj Bendigeri, at the age of 8, he gave his first solo stage performance on the stage of Sangeet Kalakar Sangh, Belgaum. By then, music had already concurred Shri Santosh Kulkarni and his cravings to learn more, took him to Mumbai. There he was moulded by Pt. Suresh Talwarkar. After ten years of training under Pt. Suresh Talwarkar’s guidance, Shri Santosh Kulkarni developed his style, and there was no looking back. His playing technique was appreciated by Ustad Zakir Hussain, Ustad Shafad Ahamad, Ustad Shabir Khan and many others. Apart from his style, he also presents a variety of music forms on his Tabla, right from the very authentic Peshkar, Kayda and Bandish to Fusion Music. Shri Santosh Kulkarni has also completed his M.A in History and L.L.B. Like a bird set free to fly, he started to conquer the country with his music. He gave various concerts in several cities of the country like Mysore, Konark, Pune, Manali, Jaipur, Nasik, Aurangabad, Belgaum and many more. He has composed many fusion concerts, namely Sur, Dhun, Saptak, Naad etc. He has also supported the music director of the Malayalam films “Om” and “Aryam” with his harmonious Tabla. Shri Santosh Kulkarni has participated in many musical competitions and has received many prestigious awards. He has accompanied music legends like Padmashri M. Venkatesh Kumar, Pt. Kaivalya Kumar Gurav, Pt. Ganapati Bhat, Pt. Sanjay Deshpande, Pt. Anup Jalota, Dr Vivek Khadilkar, Pt. Sudhir Pote, Pt. Vaidya, Pt. Prakash Sangeeth, Dr Sudhanshu Kulkarni and many others. He also owns a musical academy in Belgaum to train the students in the Gurukula System.

Once it happened that, when Shri Santosh Kulkarni was performing at Belgaum, Mr Aravind Patil, one of his audience, who admired him, invited him to Qatar to conduct workshops, and that is how Shri Santosh Kulkarni ended up in Doha, Qatar. Now it has been 12 years, since he has been training music aspirants in Doha, Qatar and currently he is working as a tabla instructor at Skills Development Centre, Doha, Qatar. Shri Santosh Kulkarni has been supported constantly by Mr PN Babu Rajan (Managing Director of Skills Development Centre and the President of ICBF) throughout his journey in Qatar. A man with dreams needs a women with vision and Shri Santosh Kulkarni’s wife, Smt. Pallavi Kulkarni is that women, who have been the backbone in his life’s journey.

His present venture

From the past few months, the Pandemic COVID-19 has created so much anxiety that it has repressed human minds from all directions. In this pandemic situation, many countries have imposed lockdowns, and the music aspirants are not able to attend their music classes. So through the Skills Development Centre, Shri Santhosh Kulkarni has organized online workshops for music learners. The program has been named as “Back to Zindagi”. Renowned musicians like Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar, Dr Ram Borgaonkar & Ganesh Borgaonkar, Dr Vidhyadar Gopal Oke, Pt. Kaivalya Kumar Gurav, Dr Sudhanshu Kulkarni & Sarang Kulkarni, Ajinkya Joshi, Asha Khadilkar, Rasika Joshi, Aniruddha Joshi and many others have joined hands with Shri Santosh Kulkarni and have made this online workshop a successful one. Many more workshops under this program are planned, and they will be executed in the upcoming days. This online workshop has helped many people to gain more knowledge about music, be mindful, release anxiety, and be in constant touch with oneself and enjoy life through music.

About the Author :

Ms. Shefali S K is a Full-time Research scholar in Psychology at St. Agnes College (Autonomous), Mangalore University, Karnataka, India. Her research interest includes, Creativity, Mindfulness, Wellbeing, especially among elementary school children.

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