It’s been five years since Hiros Nakagawa’s last trip to India. But the lapse of time did not lessen the warmth with which Nakagawa was received by celebrated Indian flautist, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.
The Kobe-based artiste learned to play the flute from Chaurasia. He is among a host of international artistes, invited to perform at the second edition of Baajaa Gaajaa, a three-day music convention in Pune organised by artistes Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan.
Nakagawa’s ties with India were forged in 1981, when aged 31 he left Japan to come to India. He completed his studies in the theory of Indian music (specialising in Dhrupad) from the Banaras Hindu University and took up playing the bansuri.
“Hariji was performing in Japan. After the concert I went into his green room and asked if he would teach me,” the 60-year-old recalled of his first meeting with Chaurasia in 1989.
He has since accompanied Chaurasia on several performances and has arranged for artistes like Ustad Sultan Khan and Rashid Khan to perform in Japan, “to expose Japan to India’s rich musical heritage”.
Nakagawa hails Chaurasia as a genius. “Whenever he plays he manages to surprise us. He never follows a fixed formula and always encourages us to experiment and improve,” he said.
The flautist now teaches comparative study between Indian music and other forms of Asian music at three universities in Japan. He continues to study under Chaurasia even though his visits are less frequent.
“He has gotten busy now. His most valuable lesson is that in music, learning never stops,” Nakagawa said.