Harekrishna Halder is considered to be among the most acclaimed exponents of Shree Khol in contemporary times. He has gained both skill and knowledge about his instruments through the years of rigorous practice behind him. Talking about the history of Shree Khol, he traces back its origin and lineage including the mythological, historical as well as musical aspects, citing anecdotes from Hindu scriptures which have the mention of Mridangam. He also explains how the instrument went through various changes across different regions and different ages. But he believes that it was Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the Krishna Cult, which seemingly played a significant role in propagating the instrument and its use.
Harekrishna Halder believes that Shree Khol is not just a perfect instrument in terms of its technical and musical aspects but an expression of one’s ideals, of life and faith. He discusses the various factors in detail that might have caused Shree Chaitanya to choose this particular instrument for preaching his philosophy. Halder also displays his own collection of instruments while demonstrating the various possibilities of sound in terms of pitch and scale, for each of them and at the same time, demonstrates the positions and actions involved in playing Shree Khol. He seems to believe that it was primarily owing to the unique combination of sound that is sharp and yet not loud but with adequate bass, that Shree Khol became the instrument of choice for Kirtans.
According to Harekrishna Halder, any comparison between Tabla and Shree Khol is bound to be unfair since Tabla has traditionally been an instrument of the courts favored by the rulers. As a result Tabla has been seriously practiced and performed resulting in its further enrichment and development. But Shree Khol with its clear religious associations found itself at the receiving end of hostility especially during the Muslim rule. As a result its development was hindered and it got reduced to a mere accompanying instrument, despite its rich and complex possibilities.
It is important for Shree Khol to be appreciated as an individual instrument and only then it can develop through fair exchange with other instruments, other music. Hare Krishna Halder perceives this pursuit in a spiritual manner, akin to Radha on her path to attain the divinity of Lord Krishna.
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