Reminiscences of another time…..
Flashback to July 1974 , San Francisco. One of our theatre troupe member invites me to visit the school she just joined in Berkeley .
So off we go in her old VW bug .
It is the newly opened Centre for World Music , a brain child of Ethno-Musicologist Dr Bob Brown. . With significant financial help from Louise Scrips , of the wealthy San Diego Scripps family , an old church building on College avenue was purchased .
Louise Scripps was an ardent and devoted student of T Balasaraswatii .
So here we arrive one afternoon there . There on the lawn in front of the main building KVN and Palghat Raghu are laying on the grass . I had seen Palghat Raghu’s name in Ravi Shankar’s double LP ” Festival of India ” , so greet him and even ask him to convey my regards to his guru Palghat Mani Iyer .
For that summer session , some of the topmost artistes from South India , North India , indonesia , and other countries had been brought to Berkeley .
The South Indian contingent comprised KNV ( with wife Padma Narayanaswami and kid daughter Anuradha ) . T N Krishna , with wife and Kids Sriram and Vidya , Palghat Raghu , T H Vinayakram and V Nagarajan ( kanjira ) . Also T Balsaraswati , her daughter Lakshmia and two others whose names I cannot recollect .
The friend who has given me a ride to Berkeley was a dancer and started taking Javaneses dance classes . I was at that time an amateur percussionist and was very must intrigued by the intricacies of the India Tabla . Next to the main building there was a small annex where Table , Mridangam and Ghatam classes were held , on the first floor .
As I wanted to learn tablas , I somehow began taking classes without registering in the school . I got away with it for a couple of weeks before being found out . Fortunately one of our theatre troupe members has just gotten an inheritance and he gave me $ 400 to pay for the summer course .
So there i was taking beginner tabla classes , I think the teacher was a North India tabla vidwan by the name of Anand Bolas . So on the same floor Palghat Raghu was teaching Mridamgam and I took his class too and i also joined T H Vinayakram’s Ghatam class .
To be continued …
Toufiq’s is an interesting account of his 20 yrs in India under one of South India’s most famous vocalists, Sangeeta Kalanidhi Sr K V Narayanaswamy.
You can read the full account of Toufiq’s journey under Artists.