Express news service
CUP: Professional Satyabrat Sahoo from the village of Nandol under the Salepur block is today an established flute maker in the state. But this transformation did not happen overnight.
It took the 35-year-old six years to master the profession while juggling his work and his passion for the musical instrument.
Satyabrat has been working as a customer service provider in a Bengaluru-based IT company since 2010.
Six years ago, he bought a bamboo flute to learn to play the instrument in his spare time. He wanted to evolve as a seasoned flautist.
“My first flute was a small flute and after playing it for a few months I wanted a bigger flute. I spent Rs 6,000 to buy a new one but my wife didn’t like the idea of spending so much money on a hobby ”, recalls Satyabrat who decided to sell the two flutes on OLX after the have used for a few months.
But that didn’t kill his passion for flutes. He decided to make one using PVC pipe four years ago.
“Even though it wasn’t perfect, it gave me a lot of satisfaction because I did it on my own. I have seen videos of making and tuning a flute and have worked on them accordingly. After a lot of testing, I managed to make perfect flutes from PVC pipe and sold them for Rs 1,700 apiece on OLX, ”he said.
The proceeds from the sale encouraged him to try making flutes for professional flautists by sourcing the raw material from Assam and Indonesia, during his spare time.
“Although bamboo from Indonesia is the best for making flutes, I preferred to buy most of the raw materials in Assam due to the low costs of supply and transportation,” he said. It takes at least a year and a half to season bamboo pieces for longer durability.
Satyabrat now manufactures 25 different sizes of bamboo flutes ranging from 9 inch to 37 inch which are priced from Rs 1,100 to Rs 5,500.
He sells the flutes under the Swara Flutes brand. Its buyers include prominent flautists like Hariprasad Chaurasia, Rakesh Chaurasia, Runu Muzumdar, Himanshu Nanda and Prakash Hegde.
He makes two types of bamboo flutes – a keyboard-based western flute with all notes at a frequency of 440 Hz and a classical Indian flute, whose tuning process is based entirely on ‘tanpura’.
Although he is currently working from home for the IT company, Satyabrat has decided to quit his job and make the flute his main profession.
His wife Debaki helps him put on and polish the flutes and prepares the cotton bags that are used to wrap the flutes.