Milind Raikar in concert

By Dr. Luis Dias

Our tiny state has produced many stars in the Hindustani classical music firmament, and Milind Raikar’s own star is gloriously in the ascendant.

He began his study of Hindustani music at a very young age, with his father, the late Atchut Raikar, musician, vocalist, playwright and actor. He also studied violin in the Western style at Santa Cecilia School of Music, under Carlos Costa. Heeding the inexorable call of Indian classical music, he went on to train with Pandit B. S. Math, Pandit Vasantrao Kadnekar, and Padmashree Pandit D. K. Datar.

Soon he was being avidly sought after as accompanist to several vocal artistes, and these concerts took him all over India. He also toured India, Africa and the Gulf with Remo Fernandes.

The legendary Kishori Amonkar happened to watch Raikar on television, and spotted the potential of this talented youth. She offered to become his teacher, an opportunity that he eagerly accepted. Since then, he has been her pupil, disciple and accompanist at recitals worldwide. He has also accompanied personalities diversely ranging from sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, to ghazal king Anup Jalota.

Now settled in Andheri, Mumbai, he has begun the Raikar Violin Academy, the first ever in the city. He has a style of playing and technique which is quite unique. He has championed a novel bow-hold, all his own.

In his younger years, he devised a “triple” instrument, incorporating mandolin, lead and bass guitar into one body.

The press accolades come thick and fast at his feet. “Raikar has perfect tonal quality and a superb sense of melody” (Afternoon Despatch and Courier); “Remarkable poise and maturity…he handles his violin with utmost ease… his Hansadhwani stood out for its superb tonality and cadence” (The Times of India); “Excellent rendition….all the finesse of a good performance” (Indian Express).

Raikar will be performing at Goa State Museum auditorium, Patto, on 21 March at around 3 pm, and at Vetal temple premises, Porvorim, near Pinto Rosario hospital, on 28 March at around 3 pm.

Pandit Datar, who is renowned for playing pure Gwalior gayaki on the violin, exhorted Raikar, his student: “Approach the musical notes with utmost tenderness, love, humanity and caress and cajole them”. Anyone who has heard Milind Raikar play will know that this advice has been taken to heart. His style is gayaki-ang at its very best, making the violin truly sing, like the human voice. With impeccable intonation that is the envy of his western music counterparts, his playing is a veritable yogic experience, both for him and his fortunate audience.

(This article was published in the Herald, Goa, India, on 19 March, 2010)