Flashbacks with the Flautist

After the inauguration ceremony of NITRUSTAV’15, the audience in the BBA were mesmerized by melodious tunes of flautist Srinibas Satapathy and his group of artists.

Team MM brings you a brief interview of this renowned artist, who enthralled the audience and kept them glued to their seats.                 

MM: You’ve mentioned the environment you were brought up in, in a couple of interviews. How has your childhood been instrumental in shaping your career as a fine flautist?
SS: I hail from a family of musicians. Tabla was one of the first instruments I was introduced to and I trained under able teachers till the tenth grade.  My father, a banker by profession was an excellent flautist and he inspired me to learn the instrument.

     Like in all middle-class families I was pressurized to take up engineering or medicine as a career but my father supported my passion and encouraged me to enroll in Utkal University as an undergraduate student where I spent seven years learning the intricacies of flutes.

MM: Give our readers an insight of your journey.
SS: As a student I practiced playing the flute for 5hrs at a stretch, they were the best days of my life. My sister, a renowned Odissi dancer, was a student at Nrityagram, Banglore and I was invited to play with Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi.  We worked together on project ‘Pratima’ which proved to be a major milestone in my career. Later I moved to Delhi to train under Rajendra Prasanna for two years, but obliging to some family ties I returned to Bhubaneswar.
MM: How is the flute different from other wind instruments?
SS: The flute is closer to the human voice in more ways than one. Not only does it produce music akin to the voice, but the tone produced by each flautist depends on the quality of voice produced by the throat. Flute was considered a folk instrument for centuries. It made it to the list of classical wind instruments in the 20th century. Flautists are no longer seen as accompanists; instead they have their own established identity.

MM: Tell us about the prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan award you recently received.
SS: I am extremely honoured and happy to receive such an award. But there are many musicians like me in Orissa who deserve the honour as much as I do. My stay in Delhi and the contacts I developed there played a major role in my nomination. I had an edge over others because the jury had heard me play on quite a few occasions.

MM: How does the western audience receive Indian classical music?
SS: Owing to maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar Indian classical music enjoys world-wide recognition.  In fact it’s the Indians who don’t value classical music anymore. I am overwhelmed by the patient and tasteful audiences I encounter in western nations.

MM: What are you plans for the future?
SS: When I commenced my journey as a flautist I focused only on classical music. But, later I realized that monetary prospects were slim and hence shifted to semi-classical, background scores etc. But now I want to live the dream of being a pure classical musician.

MM: Your message to budding musicians at NITR.
SS: An aspiring musician must follow the 3D and 3P rule. Determination, dedication and devotion and practice, practice, practice. Remember that hard work always pays.