A highly sought after musician lives in the humble vicinity of Rochard Road, Barrackpore. Why is he in such high demand? Well, he is multi-talented and still manages to portray humility and simplicity. Twenty-four-year-old Yovindra Bridglal plays the harmonium, guitar, mandolin, accordion and bulbul tarang.
According to https://chandrakantha.com “the Bulbul tarang, also known as the “banjo”, is a common instrument in India. The name bulbul tarang literally translates to “waves of nightingales”. It is made of a number of strings passing over what resembles a finger board (fret board)…It is an Indian version of the Japanese taisho koto.”
While Bridglal comes from a musical family, he jokingly describes himself as “a late bloomer” when it comes to his musical development.
“I grew up attending Ramayans and yagnas (mostly hosted at Blue Birds Community Complex) and I used to observe my father and my uncles as they played these traditional instruments. Music has always been a part of who I am,” related the young musician.
“I was always fascinated by the instruments and I learnt from what I saw my father and uncles doing. Although I actually started playing them later on, I picked up quickly and my love for the instruments grew tremendously. I now play them all and I am purely driven by my passion for the traditional instruments. Additionally, my parents have always encouraged and supported me in this field.”
Having recently completed his Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Bridglal, while on the job hunt, can now spread his wings and delve further into mastering these instruments.
But back to the question—why is he in such high demand? Simply put, Bridglal is one of the very few young persons who have held on to these unique instruments which have paved the way for local traditional Indian music. Instruments such as the bulbul tarang, the accordion and the mandolin were first used in the Indian orchestras, local Indian classical groups, Ramayan groups and the like before the advent of synthesisers and other electronic instruments which have now taken the forefront.
Thus far, Bridglal has appeared on renowned Indian cultural and international stages such as NCIC Divali Nagar and the National Academy for the Performing Arts (North and South). Additionally, he has played for popular artistes such as Dubraj Persad, the Gunga Gana Man, Rooplal Gildharie and Kries Ramkhelawan of Suriname. He is mostly known in the classical arena as the current, sole mandolin player and has played that instrument and the bulbul tarang in a Qaseeda album done by Zaid Hosein. Currently, he plays for the band Nithya.
His jobs are many but Bridglal does not get carried away by being in such high demand. His humility always manages to shine through. He told REC, “Music is my way to serve and to make people happy and it actually helped me to cope with studying while I was at UWI.”
Maybe this is the reason why he is currently mentoring his younger brother, Yovesh, in percussions. As for what his future plans are, Bridglal said, “I plan to work as hard as I can to be at the top of the game and to preserve our culture. I hope to encourage others to preserve the artform that was practiced by our forefathers.”