24.2.10

The Palace of Harmonicas: Live life King Size




I'd like to express my deepest thanks to Rajah of Pithapuram (ROP) Shri RVMR Ratna Rao for his love and affection towards me during my recent visit to their palace in Pithapuram. I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about him, and share a few videos and photos I took. Just wanted to share with you the exciting (for me, anyway!) experience.

As some of you know, Pithapuram is a historical place in AP which was ruled by the grand fathers of existing Rajah Shri Ratnarao for centuries. Few colleges like Pithapuram RajahGovt College,Kakinada and Rangaraaya medical college, Kakinada were donated by them.

I was delighted when I was invited by him to their palace. I was very much curious to visit the palace not only to see the antiques, riffles but harmonicas as well. Yes… to see the grand collection of harmonicas.

As soon as I entered the palace, ROP had offered water and a soap to wash my hands. I told, “Sir I just finished my breakfast!” ROP answered with smile: Please wash your hands to have a musical feast and there was a beautifully carved leather pouch in front of me. I thought it could be a pistol, because collecting riffles and guns is one of his hobbies. ROP asked me to open the pouch and to my surprise it was a harmonica (SUZUKI SCT-128). No doubt it’s quite expensive to own. It’s a combination of chromatic and tremolo harmonicas built in a single body. ROP asked me to inaugurate it by playing because it arrived just a few days ago. I felt like a harmonica virtuoso at that moment :-P and thanks to ROP for honoring me in such a way.

His Harmonica collection comprises more than 100 premium class harmonicas like Hohner Super Chromonicas 270 in all scales, 30years old Larry Addler, 280, Super 64x, Marine band deluxe set, Special 20s set, Meister class, Cross harp MS, SUZUKI-total sets of Firebreath, Bluesharp, Folkmaster, Overdrive300, Manji, Harpmaster, Pipe humming harmonica, SCX chromatic in all scales, SCX-64, Gregory Marett, SCT-124 harmonicas etc. Apart from harmonicas, he is also a proud owner of Roland Fantom-G8 Music Workstation(keyboard) worth 2.25 lacs and a Gold plated Gibson Les Paul custom guitar which he purchased and received directly from the hands of (Late) Mr Les Paul who is the founder of Gibson guitar company during his visit to USA in early 90s. After seeing all harmonicas I could not resist myself asking a question: “Sir, what is your favorite harmonica?” Immediately, he went to his bedroom and brought a 56 years old Hohner Marine Band 10 hole diatonic harmonica which was gifted to him (on his persuasion) by his uncle when he was just 6years old in Madras (Chennai). That’s how harmonica entered in his life at avery tender age.

Then, began our musical session. ROP is a great fan of Hendrix , Mark Knopler and Eagles a great classical guitarist, lyricist and a composer. We feel proud of him because he is a harmonica lover too.

You’ll love to watch two videos of ROP which I shot at Pithapuram

I hope ROP don't mind me posting this video here for others to enjoy. Of course, if I receive any objections, I'll take it straight down.

It was 3 0 clock then. Both of us were hungry and ROP offered me a great lunch with all my favorite non veg. dishes. The dining table was bigger than my master bedroom :-P

ROP and I enjoyed my visit to their Palace and would like to go there again but along with all HaLoH members!


3 comments:

Avinesh Kumar Singh said...

Wow!! great to know that we have such a multi-talented person (ROH)with us. Thanks Ramana for making us aware these facts...

Keyur Shah said...

My salute to the king (ROP) and his king size love for harmonica and music ! His Highness of music is royal in every sense ! Higness is multi-instrumentalist, too.

Thank you for the nice write up and His Higness videos.

Tapan said...

Ramana,
Let me share a secret with you all.
I have heard Rajaji on moile phone and you know when, almost 1 year or may be more than that.
He not only plays guitar and harmonicas but sings as well.
And as you have mentioned Rajaji himself offering you water, we all have to learn a lot from such good human beings.
during my last visit to you we had talked so much about him and at the time of leaving for Ahmedabad remember I had said something....
My biggest mistake that i could not talk to him from Andhra Pradesh itself !!!!!
Truly a very nice gentleman that he is.
Ramana let us offer his greatness to adopt us :-P.