Jamshedpur: Balram Prasad, a disciple of the pre-eminent flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, is one of the rising names in the field of Classical Indian Music.
He plays in the North Indian Style as influenced by his guru. Speaking to the Avenue Mail, he talks about his musical journey and where and how it all began in the small town of Jamshedpur.
He has been playing the instrument for the past 30 years and has been learning and practicing the art under Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia for the last 22 years. He currently works as a music teacher in a school in Airoli, Mumbai.
When asked about how he got into music in the first place, he says, “My venture into music was as a child. My older brother Krishna Kumar, who is currently an employee of Tata Steel, had an interest in music and it was he who first bought a flute in the house.
He would not allow anyone to touch it, so I would pick up my older brother’s flute while he was in college, initially to play with it and then in play itself, maybe it was God’s gift to me, I understood how it worked and started playing it. Later, after much efforts, I succeeded in learning the finer points of the art from Pundit Chourasia.”
Asked about his support system, Prasad says, “My family has supported me a lot. As I said, my father has never stopped me from learning instead even supported me as much as he could. I had taken up Science in my Intermediate; my mother wanted me to become a doctor, I was good at my studies.
And I did nothing else other than study and play the flute those 2 years. I wasn’t into sports; I only took a morning walk every day. My parents didn’t even ask me to help out in any household chores when I was busy with studying and music. Thus I must say that they have been my constant support.”
He further talks about his inspiration and his role model. According to him, he had been following Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia ever since he had heard his music.
He says, “When I had started playing the flute initially, it was in play. It was only from my previous teacher, I heard his name- Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, for the first time.
In those days, we would get cassettes. So I went to the market and sought out one which had his music- The Call of The Valley.
It was a great cassette; it had lots of ragas and other than the flute, it had other instruments like the guitar, the santoor, but when I heard the flute, I heard Panditji play for the first time, only then did I realize that the flute could sound like that. Ever since then, I have followed Panditji.”