A destiny decided at 9Prakash Sontakke

Prakash Sontakke vividly remembers the day when he quietly sneaked his mother's Hawaiian guitar to school. He was in Class 3 and wanted to show-off the beautiful instrument to his classmates.

"I played 'Yamma Yamma,' a song from the movie Shaan. It was just for fun, but I was taken aback with the thunderous applause. I fell in love with this feeling. At that moment, somehow my destiny was decided," he recalls.

In the last few decades, Prakash's musical career has progressed by leaps and bounds. Today, the 48-year-old is an internationally renowned lap steel (Hawaiian) guitarist, who plays multiple instruments.

He is the only Indian artist to have won the Independent World Music Awards in 2008, and then the coveted Grammy Awards as part of the Winds of Samsara project by Rickey Kej and Wouter Kellerman.

Prakash credits his parents--both prominent musicians--for his drive, and continued success in his chosen field.

While Prakash's father, R B Sontakke is a double doctorate in vocal and violin and a former professor at Banaras Hindu University; his mother, Mani Sontakke, holds Masters degrees in 12 musical instruments and knows how to play at least 25.

"My mother was the first female artist to play the slide guitar for Akashvani, and her passion somehow influenced and attracted me to the instrument," says Prakash from his south Bengaluru home which is nothing less than a music museum with over 300 instruments from all across the world on display.

However, despite being born in a family which is deeply passionate about music, Prakash's decision to pursue music as a career was not initially encouraged.

"My parents did not want me to struggle, so they enrolled me in an engineering college after Class 12. I had the worst time there, especially because I hated it and did not perform well. Eventually, I had to sit them down and beg them to let me follow the music, even if it meant extreme financial struggle," adds Prakash.

There was some resistance, but he was finally able to win them over and begin a career in music.

And what a career it has been! From accolades in classical Indian circles, performances in over 300 Bollywood movies and regional cinema, western experimental music to even inventing a unique instrument called Swar Veena which encapsulates the sound of both Indian and western music, Prakash's list of accomplishments runs long.

Talking about the current scenario of classical music in India and its connection to the youth, he says, "A musical performance should be like a conversation between the artist and the audience. It's imperative to explain and engage with the listeners"

Here, he adds that HCL Digital Concerts has been creating just that kind of platform that allows for interactive music to excel.

"The concept, the professionalism, the exposure and transparency is top-notch. HCL Digital Concerts is doing a phenomenal job! An artist is able to connect with a lot more viewers than ever possible in an auditorium, take their time explaining their music and their thoughts behind it, and performing for as long as they want. Such experiences and accessibility to the audience can't be replicated on a physical stage" he says.

HCL Digital Concerts is a platform meant to identify aspiring musicians and provide them with opportunities to showcase their talent through digital as well as physical music concerts.

Read More Stories

Excellence in performing arts is the consummation of years of rigorous application and expert training. The fusion of body and mind makes every expression of artistry truly world class. Just as HCL synergizes knowledge with endeavour to produce innovative solutions, HCL Concerts celebrates the sheer brilliance of human genius in the field of performing arts.