While the name Richard Kishore may not resonate among many young music listeners, the veteran guitarist is admired and held in high esteem among musicians in Bangladesh. For years he worked closely with BTV and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, and taught participants in musical talent shows to make their performances perfect. Now a freelance guitarist, Kishore founded “RiKi's Guitar” last year, a music school that aims to help talented singers become better performers.
Richard Kishore is the institution's sole teacher, offering lessons on singing on Mondays, and guitar on Fridays. In a recent conversation with The Daily Star, the musician shared his vision for the institute and on what constitutes a good performer. Excerpts:
“RiKi's Guitar began its maiden voyage last year, but began full-fledged operations from January 2018. Around 2007, I was a groomer for a competitive talent show called 'Shera Kontho', and that was when the idea to start such a programme first dawned on me. As a trainer I've had the privilege to travel to Kolkata and work with the teams there, and so I know what is required of participants competing in different regions. You may be a trained singer, but traditional schooling in music does not prepare you for the stage and its equipment, and many potential performances falter because of this. Being a good singer does not equate to being a good performer.”
“Other than offering training in singing, I teach the guitar on Fridays. Preliminary training includes proper enunciation of words. This practice also allows them to get in touch with our culture, and its many elements which are on the brink of disappearing. Our music is about our land and culture, and one must understand it closely in order to do it justice during performances.”
“I've always wanted to teach music, even before I picked up the guitar. My first mentor was Rev. James Bynas from Notre Dame College, and I remember him asking me why I wanted to learn the guitar. My response was that if I knew how to play, then I could teach the instrument to those who wished to learn. I believe all performers should have a higher aim, and for me that would be to spread the knowledge I possess.”