Journey into Music for my friend Vishwanath Shirali
Hello friends, Greetings for the day. The pandemic had taken a toll on our lives. Now that things are getting back to normal, we eagerly await live shows to resume with all their fervor for the artistes and music lovers. But nonetheless, I feel so happy and delighted to share this Digital platform with you all after conversing with many talented artistes. Like Mr. Paulo Coelho said, “An Enthusiastic heart finds opportunities everywhere,” and these words gave me the courage and inspiration to connect through my online portal.
Today, I’d also like to share the achievements of a very dear friend – a wonderful musician and a great human being – Vishwanath Shirali. A self-prodigy, he played his first instrument, harmonica, at the tender age of 5, which truly signifies a superb combination of his will and skill.
As far as I can recollect, music was just a hobby for him, with the harmonica being locked inside his cupboard for 40 long years. He was actually serving as a manager with Indian Air Lines. Before his retirement, he was asked to play the harmonica with an orchestra for Hemant Kumar Show. There he stumbled upon Saxophone Wizard Manohari Singh who was mesmerized by his performance. Thus, he bagged another acoustic show with Dada and Accordion maestro Sumit Mitra. Dada told him “Shirali, keyboard bajaane waale bohot hain par aapke jaisa harmonica player bajane waala special hai, uspe dhyaan do.” Shirali agreed and asked Dada to become his Guru – this was his first stint with music.
“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved..”. Life had some other plans for him, thus he became a full-time musician playing the harmonica and started getting shows and recordings. Age knew no bounds for him and we truly stand in awe of this music maestro who began his musical journey at 60. After Dada fell sick, Shirali used to spend Sunday mornings at his house. He felt positive vibes when being with Dada, whom he considered his inspiration in music and spirituality.
Vishwanath Shirali has some notable and interesting experiences to share – his recording with Shreya Ghoshal for a Kannada movie. His first recording for an Oriya movie with Udit Narayan and Anuradha Paudwal. where he met his lifelong friend and Ace Guitarist Ramesh Iyer who was a brilliant Music arranger too. He also got a chance to play the harmonica for the 3D remake of the evergreen hit movie Sholay because of his friend, Raju Singh, who was handling the project. He played the harmonica for a show conducted by the composer Shree Pyarelal Ji, which was designed by me.
Coming to me, the years 2014 to 2016 were Golden years of my musical journey as I did some outstanding shows of my life viz. 50 Musicians for Laxmikant-Pyarelal night at Mumbai, Banglore, and Muscat, etc. An exclusive Weeding Fera Ceremony with 51 Musicians Live first-ever time, Drum Sivamani Live, Javed Ali for Gorakh Sharma, Madhushree for Shamraj, Durga Puja event for a big fat wedding, and many more.
But my best memorable experience together with Shirali was fifteen corporate RD Burman special shows with one of the renowned groups Rewind HFM for YES Bank. We toured 10 cities across India in 2018 and 2019. Shirali feels privileged and honored to record for Composer Ashok Patki, who is known to be a genius in Marathi Television and Movie Industry.
Shirali narrates an experience he remembers vividly, “One fine day messenger Ramakant called and asked me to come for a recording at Joshua studio. It was a re-dub for Sholay’s music. I sat before a big screen and was told to play the pieces exactly second to second following the actions of Amitabh Bacchan on screen. It was my first experience of re-dubbing. It was so different and tougher than anything I ever did before. There were 4 tracks of the same tune in different scales. So, it took many takes. I was nervous and it took me long hours to get it done. In the end, Pradhan Ji asked if I could redub for the song ‘Yeh Dosti ham Nahin Todenge.’ I agreed and we did that too. Now I know how difficult redubbing is compared to normal dubbing”.
Very often, I have long telephonic conversations with Shirali and we fervently desire to play our rich Indian music once again together on stage. As he always affirms “Growing age can kill the beauty, not the style”. Stay blessed Shirali Jee, here’s wishing you happy and healthy musical years ahead.