Friday, December 4, 2009

He customizes Harmonica

The research and development wings of all leading manufacturers of harmonica in the world can make a killing if they follow this man from the small pilgrim town of Shirdi in Maharashtra.

Kiran Parikh, who owns a shop in Shirdi, has assembled a harmonica using the comb of a 12-hole instrument and fixing reeds of ascending and descending notes of an Indian raga from about a dozen other harps.

He plays this instrument to produce complex melodies based on that particular raga without using a slider to change the scale and produce half notes. He has assembled harmonicas on which two Indian ragas - Bhairavi and Yaman - can be played without a scale-changer. He now has plans to assemble customized harmonicas each for different Indian ragas.

Kiran has in his personal collection over 650 harmonicas, most of which he has bought from the 'Chor Bazar' of Mumbai at throwaway prices.

Kiran has been playing harmonica for over 30 years, having begun with the Chinese make 'Hero' instrument. He used to be greatly disappointed with himself when he could not play several popular Hindi film songs because these required using half notes. He was unable to understand why he was not able to play these songs. Having heard about famous harmonica player Bhanu Gupta, who was assistant to Rahul Dev Burman, Kiran went to meet him in Mumbai where, for the first time, he saw a Chromatic harmonica.

From 'Hero', Kiran switched over to a Chromatic harmonica and could soon start playing songs he had long desired to play but was not able to because he did not have a 'scale-changer'. He would visit Mumbai twice or thrice a week and quietly sit and listen to Bhanu Gupta play. Like the Eklavya of Mahabharata, who had learnt archery from Guru Drona from a distance, Kiran too started learning from Bhanu Gupta by just listening to him play.

After he watched a TV programme in which legendary harmonica player Firoze Damri was leading a symphony of over 50 harmonica players, Kiran went to Mumbai to meet the maestro. Firoze Damri taught Kiran for four years the intricacies of playing this tiny instrument. The Guru was so impressed by the Shishya's patience and perseverance that he gifted his entire collection of harmonicas to Kiran before his death.

Kiran was in Ahmedabad on a short visit when Harmonica Club of Gujarat Secretary Tapan Bhatt took the opportunity of letting the members of the Harmonica Club meet and listen to him.

Here are a few songs from this great innovator of customized harmonica:

1. Dil Ek Mandir Hai



2. Mohe Bhool Gaye Saawariya



3. Ai Mere Pyaare Watan

6 comments:

reallity in magic said...

Thanks Nachiketa and Tapan Bhi it was a great experience to read and came to know about customize harmonica yes Suzuki do make for some player on a very very expensive price but if we can get the same in India that will be revolution in Indian harmonica industry and i will be the first person to buy specially it will be very useful for Indian Raga where we use some chromatic notes only with other major
As a player Mr parik is fairally
good on single reed blowing I congratulate him for his total dedication and a wonderful collection
And thanks Mr Nachicata and Tapan
who are dedicated in bringing up this tiny magical instrument and keeping the flag of Harmonica flying regards
Ashok Bhandari

apoorvabhatt said...

Kiranbhai, U did'nt come to my house when U were in Baroda. Anyway, all the 3 songs were heart touching and nicely played. I congratulate U for ur innovatory idea.If this is taken seriously by the leading manufacturers of M.O. playing pure Indian classical songs for all players vil b easy. One more feather in the cap of our MOUTH ORGAN !

Tapan Bhatt said...

KIranbhai is like a family member to us.
During his visit to my place he showed many such beautiful harmonicas. Especially he gave the required sequence of notations to alter the harmonicas and play certain Indian Raga.
He has promised us to show the collection of all his harmonicas in a very near future.
He is also invited by the Shirdi Mandir Trust every year to play the devotional songs on Mouth Organ.
Keranbhai drinks coffee and next time he will have two cups of filter coffee, I promise !!

amjadkhan786 said...

KIRAN BHAI U REALLY R ONE OF THE GREAT PLAYER OF HARMONICA.....SONG'S U PLAYED R REALLY GOOD WHAT WENT WRONG WITH DILL EK MANDIR..WHEN U PLAYED THAT SONG IN BARODA WHEN U VISITED HERE I WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO PRAISE IT....BUT IN THIS RECORDING TIMING WAS NOT GOOD AND FEW NOTES R MISSING...OVER ALL GOOD PERFORMANCE SIR...HAT'S OFF..AMJAD KHAN , VADODARA

SANJAY said...

Kiranbhai , It is really a great effort to bring indian classical songs on this tiny western instrument so called harmonica and your playing and selection of songs is very good . Expecting some indian ragas from you on this instrument .

Sanjay Agarwal

RUDI said...

A true revolution!!!!!!!!

I met Kiranbhai at the guesthouse he way staying. He showed me his mini collection which he was carrying with. The final assembled piece based on indian raga was ultimate espcially when he played "mohe bhul gaye savaria" On chromatic it requires lot of keys to used while he played at a one go. Marvellous. He was saying that his is vision is to assemble such a instrument which can be played simply like a harmonium.
I am dying to see such instrument.

Sandeep Patankar