‘Chalo Dilli’: Harmonica Lovers’ Meet

Dilli Dilwaalon Ki- Channi Uncle plays a perfect host

On 2nd October, harmonica lovers from different parts of the country gathered at Channi Uncle’s place in Delhi to “Breathe Harmonica”. This 59 year old gentleman has been playing the harmonica for almost 40 years. His name is Chander Parkash Chawla and he is popularly known as ‘Channi Chawla’. He is a retired government employee and is crazy for this cute little instrument. He says that playing the harmonica, listening to harmonica and discussing about harmonica makes him feel happy. He has a unique personality with a good sense of humour. He has his own distinctive style which separates him from the crowd. He loves collecting harmonicas and suspenders. No wonder, you’ll find him with the right combination of suspenders to suit his clothes. He hosted the meet at his place and made proper arrangements for boarding and lodging of the guests who were not from Delhi.

The Rendezvous- ‘Breathing Harmonica’

The harmonica lovers started arriving at Channi Uncle’s place since the morning of Gandhi Jayanti. No sooner did they arrive, than the harmonica session started and the people continued playing the harmonica seamlessly only to call it a day at 10:30 PM. It was also a memorable birthday celebration for Ramana from Hyderabad who happened to share his birthday with the father of our nation. The rendezvous lasted for almost 12 hours.

The guests of Channi Uncle included M/s Swarup Mitra from Raniganj near Kolkata (W.B.), Rameshwaram from Katni (M.P.), Ajay Vijh from Singrauli (U.P.), Ramana Ilayaraja from Hyderabad (A.P.), Keyur Shah from Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Raman Khandelwal from Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Harish Nayyar from Amritsar (Punjab). The Delhites who graced this occasion were M/s Rajeev Ranjan, Rajkumar and magician ‘Big Bhandari’. The co-hosts were harmonica lovers M/s Rakesh Chaudhry and Sandeep Tomar.

Harmonica Lovers with Arijit Mukherji

Channi Uncle and his guests visited harmonica icon Arijit Mukherji at his residence in Gurgaon. They had a good time listening to the mesmerizing renditions of his upcoming projects. Some of the songs of these projects were so soothing to listen that the guests Keyur Shah and Raman could not refrain themselves from requesting Arijit da to play one of the numbers once again on his music system. Arijit da also played some numbers on his harmonica to make the session livelier.

More info on Mr. Arijit Mukherji can be obtained at the following links.


Khana Khazana: Big Bhandari hosts dinner

The harmonica lovers were invited by Mr. Ashok Bhandari for dinner. Very few people know that he is a personality with multiple talents. Needless to say that he is also a good cook. He reciprocated Channi Uncle’s gesture by inviting him and his guests to his place.

Harmonica magician Mr. Ashok Bhandari popularly addressed as Big Bhandari by our harmonica lovers gave a brief speech to harmonica lovers on the harmonica during his earlier visit. He says that he is not a harmonica player and he does not know the mathematics pertaining to music and harmonica. He just plays the harmonica with feelings. He prefers calling himself a performer. Harmonica lovers who heard Big Bhandari Live for the first time were convinced that he has the capacity to entertain and mesmerize his audience with his performance.

More info on Mr. Ashok Bhandari can be obtained at the following links


Back to Work:

After the Delhi visit, almost all the participants had forgotten their Dil (heart) and Dimaag (Mind) in Dilli for almost a week. Information related to some of the harmonica lovers present in Delhi can be obtained at the following links.

Ajay Vijh:


Swarup Mitra: harmonica tiger from West Bengal

Harmonica lovers Ramana,Vijay Konda from Hyderabad and Rameshwaram from Katni (M.P.), on their trip to Kolkata, had the previlege to meet a harmonica lover at his residence in Raniganj (West Bengal). This 40 year old teacher in a govt. primary school is lovingly addressed as 'Harmonica tiger' by Ramana and Rameshwaram. He is Swarup Mitra, a student of Milon da’s student-Saikat Mukherjee. Swarup Mitra is an excellent harmonica player. His soul is completely filled with music. He can play keyboard like a professional and can produce all the chromatic notes like a vocalist through his throat. He doesn’t need any chromatic tuner to identify any note. He has got musical ears and trains his students to play with the help of notations. He has enormous talent with multiple qualities. Above all, he is down-to-earth and friendly.

Early days as a harmonica lover:

Swarup Mitra was in 3rd or 4th standard when he fell in love with harmonica's sweet sound. He used to listen to his father's friend's son. When he asked for the harmonica, the boy scolded him but later lent him his diatonic harmonica to play. By evening, he managed to play 2-3 lines of Rabindra sangeet on his own. Very soon, he could play almost 75% of the tune in his house. His father bought him some locally made harmonicas but he opened all the harmonicas and broke them. When he was in 7th standard, his name was registered to play harmonica on Rabindra Jayanti at school. He did not have any harmonica with him for the purpose. So, he borrowed a 24 holes hero tremolo harmonica for two days from his father's student and played that song. For this, he was gifted a fountain pen by his school.

Swarup Mitra always felt that he was not getting all the missing notes on the harmonicas. In 1985, he purchased his first Hero Chromatic harmonica. From then onwards, he used to play regularly in different cultural programmes on invitation.

One interesting event he cannot forget is during his trip to Goa and Mumbai. He came across some foreigners who started dancing on listening to his harmonica. They had a good music session after which they gifted him some swiss chocolates.

In search of a harmonica Guru:

Swarup used to listen to Milon da's renditions on Vivid Bharti. He also purchased cassettes of Milon Gupta and Saikat Mukherjee. In 1987, he came across a person who used to learn from Saikat Mukherjee. When asked about the address of Saikat da, that person did not give him the address but just dropped a hint that Saikat da lived in Kamarhati area. That hint was enough for him to plan a meeting with Saikat da. It was a herculean task to find a person in the streets of Kamarhati. However, Swarup was determined to wander in that area with a Hero Chromatic harmonica and three audio cassettes of Saikat da. He thought of showing those cassettes to people in the streets and find Saikat da's address. He was lucky enough to meet a person on the road who knew the address of Saikat da.

Finally, Swarup Mitra reached Saikat da's residence. He waited for some time till Saikat da arrived. Saikat da listened to around 4-5 songs and told that he would send him (Swarup) to his guru Milon da as his guru would be able to teach better. However, Swarup insisted that he would learn from Saikat da. Saikat da agreed. Very soon, in a span of 7-8 months he became very close to the family members of Saikat da. Saikat da's wife insisted that he should stop taking fee from his student Swarup because he became just like a family member. From then onwards, Saikat da never accepted any fee from him. He also visited Swarup's house with his family and stayed there for three days.

Time for first HOHNER:

In 1988, Swarup Mitra convinced his father Shri. Kamal Kumar Mitra to buy him a Hohner Super Chromonica 270C from M.Hohner, Germany. They wrote to Hohner directly regarding their interest in purchasing a harmonica. The company agreed to ship the harmonica after receiving International Reply Coupons equivalent to the costs involved. Finally the parcel arrived. Swarup could not sleep for 4 days due to excitement.

Visiting the Mecca and Madina of Indian Harmonica:

In1990, Saikat da told Swarup Mitra that he would take him to the Mecca and Madina (holy places) of Indian harmonica. That place was none other than his Guru Milon Gupta's residence. Swarup was stunned to hear Milon da live. He was highly impressed by Milon da's style and techniques. He had the previlege to see Milon da demonstrate various techniques in front of his eyes. After a few years, when Milon da breathed his last, he cried a lot.

Career Vs Harmonica:

Very few people in India dream of pursuing a career in harmonica. Swarup Mitra once dreamt of pursuing his career in Harmonica. For this, he got support from his parents and he even quit his job at Indian Railways, Chittaranjan because he felt that the prevailing condition at Chittaranjan was not conducive for practicing harmonica. He did not get that environment which would motivate him to take his harmonica seriously.

He went to Doordarshan around 30 times just to get an audition form but failed to get one. On a sunday, he saw an amateur boy playing the harmonica on Doordarshan. Eventually, he was disappointed and decided not to approach Doordarshan any more and continue concentrating on practicing harmonica and teaching how to play this wonderful instrument to those who wish to learn from him.

His favourites:

Swarup Mitra likes listening to the renditions of Milon da, Saikat da, Karun da and some songs of Gautam da. He has special regards for his student Mukesh (a flute artist and a good harmonica player) and Ritesh Mallik without whose support he wouldn't have come across many harmonica lovers including some HaLoH members through You Tube.

Message for the beginners:

Swarup Mitra says,

1) LISTEN to the song AGAIN and AGAIN (as many times as possible) before playing it on the harmonica.

2) LEARN NOTATIONS because notation is the skeleton of the song.

3) ADD EXPRESSIONS to the song because the skeleton should be covered by a body.

4) Don't be proud that you are better than the other



Keyur Shah:


Happy Deepavali. Have a Blast.

Harmonica Our Passion!


Vardhman Jain visits HaLoH

Recently, harmonica lover Mr Vardhaman Jain from Vadodara visited Hyderabad on his official trip. He completed his engineering from MNIT Jaipur and joined Indian Railways. He has been playing the harmonica since his college days. Despite his hectic schedule he obliged and spared his valuable time for this brief rendezvous. Here is a tagged photograph of the Harmonica Lovers.

You can enjoy more videos from Mr Vardhman Jain at


Harmonica Our Passion!


Inderjit Singh Soni: Visit to Pink City

Recently, Mr Inderjit Singh Soni visited Jaipur (Pink City) along with his family. He met our virtual member Raman Khandelwal. It was their first meeting but they felt that they knew each other for quite a long time. They spent two hours discussing about music, harmonica and had a musical session with karaoke tracks. Here’s one of those numbers played and recorded by him along with karaoke track at his home. Mr Soni, who started playing the harmonica in his childhood, says that he has been improving his harmonica skills after being associated with the harmonica lovers at HaLoH. He is also thankful to Mr Avinesh Singh for taking pains in teaching him the basics of recording.

Harmonica Our Passion!


Ashwin J. Betai: A Journey from Rangoon to Hyderabad

Our harmonica lover this week is Shri Ashwin J. Betai who was born in Rangoon (Burma) and is now settled in Hyderabad. He is a 50 yrs old Gujarati businessman with a good sense of humour. There is never a meeting at Indira park when HaLoH members do not laugh at his funny jokes. He can play many instruments like Harmonica, Flute, Mandolin, Harmonium and Keyboard.

Ashwin ji developed the love for music during his childhood at Rangoon when his father used to play the harmonica. Later, their family shifted to Kolkata where he used to observe his uncle play the Mandolin. His uncle taught him to play the Mandolin. At the age of 17 or 18, on his request, his uncle gifted him a Hero harmonica and he started performing in college stage shows. Today, after being settled in Hyderabad for almost 30 years, he still plays the Harmonica and Flute in several programmes of his community.

Though he has Hohner Larry Adler 16, he still loves to play old Hindi melodies on his Tower harmonica. His 13 yr old son Yash A. Betai is learning to play the harmonica from our own fellow member Shri B. Vinayak who was a direct student of Milon da. Mr Vinayak teaches with notations and feels that Yash is picking up harmonica skills very fast and jokes that one day he may play better than his father.

Ashwin ji has a special inclination towards the wind instruments. He feels that even a sick person becomes well after listening to the sound of harmonica and flute.


Our Second Birth Day!


It was exactly two years ago (according to the Lunar Calender) i.e. Dushera 2009 that this blog was launched.

We had begun a journey not knowing where we were headed but I guess we are slowly finding our way, thanks to all your support, guidance and patronage.

We at HaLoH thank you all and look forward to your continued support.

A Happy Dushera to all of you.