Strung Together

The Accordion Fan Club of Pune has been working for the last seven years to popularise the instrument in the city.

Written by Rohan Swamy | Published: May 3, 2012 4:20 am

The Accordion Fan Club of Pune has been working for the last seven years to popularise the instrument in the city

It has been one of the favourite musical instruments of Hindi cinema during the decades of the 50s,60s and the 70s. The accordion,which was symbolic with the music of Shankar Jaikishan,OP Nayyar and the likes,is now again finding prominence,thanks to the efforts of the Accordion Fan Club in the city. The club was the idea of Nitin Deshpande,an avid accordion player,but was brought to fruition by his wife,Shibani. She went about gathering like-minded people for the club in its initial days in 2005. The club recently organised a concert on the occasion of the 25th death anniversary of Shankar of the famed Shankar-Jaikishan music director duo. The concert,held on April 26,saw accordionists Anil Gode,Prof Suhaashchandra Kulkarni and Enoch Daniels,perform.

“The instrument was dying for want of recognition. More than anything,we just wanted to resurrect it to its formal glory. The club was formed with that very idea,” says Nitin Deshpande. But not all was melodic in the seven year long journey of the club so far. Finding members was a big challenge,but finding enough accordions was a greater one. “I had heard my father play it when I was a child. But when I went about procuring it for myself,there were no sellers in India,” he says. He finally located the Hohner Music Company in Germany,which has been making accordions for the past 150 years. “They sent me a note saying that this was the first-ever invoice that had been generated for India. It just showed how little people really knew about the instrument,” he says.

The club meets every fortnight. While discussions relating to the accordion are regular,the members also jam during the sessions and invite others to try their hand at the same. The club began with eight members initially,and has over 100 members now. Deshpande says that the concert on April 26 was a huge success,even generating funds for the club. “We wish to make use of the funds for two main purposes. Firstly,we wish to travel to schools in the city to popularise the instrument,and also teach the students about melody and its importance in modern music. In addition,we want to help people who have old accordions. In case the instruments are out of tune,we would help tune the instrument,so that they can start playing it once again.”

Deshpande is a big fan of the soothing and melodic nature of the instrument. Members Prasad Sanwatsarkar,Chandu Kale,Pradeep Pathak,Ashok Korgaonkar and Kunjan Dahale helped them a lot during the initial days. “My wife Shibani,who passed away last month in an accident,was the main person who went about creating the club. In fact,even last week’s concert was organised almost completely by her. In many ways it is her memory that binds the entire club together and inspires us to work harder to give the instrument its true place in modern music history,” he says with a smile.

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