Kamalakar Shet Gangoli

September 22, 2014

From the Editor’s desk:

Dear Konkani music lovers,

Once again a hearty welcome to you to this melodious column on world’s popular web portal daijiworld.com. As I write this editorial my heart is bubbling with joy ‘cause with this episode, we have successfully completed 12 years on net, your favourite music column ‘Do..Re..Me..Fa..’ is entering into its 13th glorious year. 

As we commence 13th year with lots of hope and aspirations, in a very special way I thank Almighty God for His choicest blessings to run this music column in a melodious way. I am deeply indebted to the creator of this most popular web portal Walter Nandalike for his dedication, hard work and tremendous interest that he has shown towards this column. I am highly grateful to my buddy Florine Roche for all her unassuming assistance in presenting the musical chords month after month. Last but not the least I take this unique opportunity to thank each one of you for your unstinted support and co-operation without which I wouldn’t have been here today. And I’m sure by God’s grace and with your encouragement I will be able to accomplish this marathon mission. 

Although Konkani children are scattered around the globe in search of green pastures, it is very encouraging to see that they have not forgotten their roots, their mother-tongue Konkani and its rich tradition and culture. The recent widely celebrated ‘Monthi-Fest’ with pomp and glory around the globe is itself a best example for it. All of us have read the wide coverage about celebration of the feast on this very same web portal. When I think about our Konkani tradition and culture my mind goes back to yesteryears tradition in Konkani music. 

Dear music lovers, in this unique episode I’m going to present to you a unique musical chord, a chord that beats melodiously from our own GSB community. The star whom I’m going to present to you in this music column is none other than the versatile Hindustani vocalist Shri Kamalakar Shet Gangoli. I’m sure you will really enjoy listening to this sweet Hindustani Konkani music. See you next month same place with yet another sweet music chord. Until then, bye!

Yours in Do..Re..Me..Fa..,

Gerry D’Mello, Bendur

Versatile Hindustani Vocalist - Kamalakar Shet Gangoli

Contentment is the wealth that keeps him going 

Many a time we have heard people coming up with a hackneyed phrase a “music runs in their blood” which means they inherit their passion or talent in music from their parents, grandparents or great grandparents. Musicians are quite passionate about their passion for music and they often bequeath the same to their kith and kin and therefore though the phrase looks clichéd there is truth in it. The late G Raghavendra Shet was a musician who was proficient in playing many instruments namely Sitar, Sarangi and Dilruba and even violin. He used to hold programmes at his home in Gangully and people used clock to his home to listen to music. His children who were brought up in such musical environment took to music out of their own volition though not all of them pursued it with the same zest and diligence. 

Out of his nine children one son Kamalakar Shet Gangoly has taken music as a passion and is now known as a versatile Hindustani vocalist especially among the Konkani community. It is not that he picked up the finer threads of music just by fluke. He underwent rigorous training under various gurus for years together in his endeavor to fine-tune his talent. He is an expert in Kirana Gharana, Gwalior Gharana and Jaipur Gharana in both classical light music and “Tumri”. 

Conducive environment 

Born on 18th October 1939 Kamalakar Shet Gangoli evinced keen interest in Hindustani classical music at an early age. Though the home atmosphere was conducive for his proclivity towards music it was his keen interest to master the art of music that endeared him to learn music under some of the well-known names in the field. While his first guru was his own father he underwent training in Hindustani vocal under the guidance of musicians like Pandit Krishna Shet Gangoli, late Pandit Vasudeva Master, Kundapur, late Pt A K Kumar, Kasargod, late Pt narayana Pai, Mangalore, and Pt Yeshwant Joshi Buva, Mumbai. He also learnt Harmonium and Tabla from late Pandit Krishna Shet and classical and light music training from Pt Mangeshnath Govekar, Goa and Pt Chandrashekar Puranik Mutt, Dharwad. 

He recalls that he used to travel all the way to Kasargod from Gangoli by halting overnight in Mangalore to take lesson from Pt A K Kumar, a well known vocalist, who was staying in Nurlipadi in Kasaragod. “A K Kumar was a renowned musician and it was a great honor for me to learn under him. I used to travel from Gangoli every Saturday stay overnight here in Mangalore. Early morning I used to travel to Kasargod learn music under him for two hours and return. It was a fulfilling experience”, he says recalling those good old days when he went an extra mile in his desire to hone his singing skills. 

Music was a passion for Kamalakar Shet and he pursued it with resolute devotion. While he completed his SSLC by attending evening school he passed his Vidvat examination conducted by the state government and secured first rank in Hindustani Classical music. He also got Bachelor of Music from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Miraj, and Maharashtra in Hindustani Classical vocal. 

As he was learning music and was also giving programmes he decided to continue his high school by attending evening school. At the same time he began to work for Ganesh Watch Repair Works, near Ramakanthi Talkies on the condition that he should be allowed to attend evening classes. Thankfully his boss was a kind-hearted man who allowed him to continue his education through evening school as agreed upon. 

Soon after his Vidwat degree he joined Jamkhandi Nataka Mandali in Sagar where well-known Hindustani vocalist Mangeshnath Govekar of Goa was the music director. It was a prestigious drama company and getting in was in itself a great achievement. When Govekar left the company and relocated to Mangalore Kamalakar Shet too decided to quit and searched for an alternate opportunity. 

Though Kamalakar Shet was coming to Mangalore often he took a final decision to shift his base to Mangalore along with wife Tharadevi in 1972. “Having worked for 10 years I had gained enough experience in watch repair and that gave me the courage to set up my own Watch Repair Shop in Hampankatta near S L Shet Diamond House”, he reminisces. He carried on the watch repair works for nearly 40 years and with the onset of the digital watches he had to bid adieu to this field. 

Music – a part of life 

But the lure of music was such that he could not stay dethatched from it despite his concentrating on his main career. He taught Hindustani vocal at Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan (part time) for 10 years and also at Rosa Mistica High School as a part time teacher for an equal number of years. He has also served as a music teacher at Hindi Prachar Samiti, Mangalore for three years. For the last 33 years Kamalakar Shet has been ‘B’ grade artiste for Hindi Bhajans at All India Radio Mangalore and ‘B high’ grade artiste for Konkani songs. 

He was also giving private tuitions to students at their homes which he continues to do so even now. Some of his students include who is who of Konkani music namely late Wilfy’s children Veena and Vishwas, Vishwas’s wife Charleen, Eric and his family, Konkani singer Ronny D Cunha, Dr Prashanth Raj and Nitte Kavitha Hedge and many more. He has also taught to surgeon Dr Mehru Raj of Calicut, who was a relative of Hindi music director late Naushad. 

Now even at the age of 75, he teaches Kamalakar Shet gives private music tuitions. “This arrangement suits me perfectly as it is to my convenience and also that i can give individual attention to the student. After the watch repair shop was closed about five years ago he is into full time teaching music. “Teaching at my residence is not conducive because Vyasnagar where I live, houses are located at close vicinity and it might prove to be a nuisance to the neighbours. So I prefer going to the homes of the students which is convenient for both the parties”, he asserts. Being a disciplined person it is not difficult for him to find students on a regular basis. 

Apart from teaching Kamalakar Shet has also given harmonium saath to Pt Ramesh Narayan and to vocalist Feroz Daster. He has given concerts in Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Mysore Palace, Calicut, Kannur, Madikeri and Chickmagalur. He sang Konkani song ‘Megele Mogache Bailek” for a Konkani light songs cassette “he jeevan yathrantha” brought out by Mohan Vernekar. He is also the member of Examiners in SSLC Board of Karnataka for conducting Senior and Vidvat in Hindustani Classical music from 1978 till date. 

With age catching up there are not many plans for the future because Kamalakar feels he has achieved whatever he always wanted to. Now he is happy seeing the progress made by his disciples. “For a music guru there is no better a gift than see his disciples emerging as promising music artistes”, he declares. 

Leading a disciplined life has helped him maintain robust health. Even at this age he uses his bike to commute which speak volumes of his good health. The only event he is now looking forward to is the proposed concert in September 2014 in Muscat as an organization has contacted him to be a part of the grand concert. 

His only child Deepak Shet is a software engineer working for Infosys in Mangalore. On the personal front he suffered a great setback when he lost his wife a few years ago. But then life has to go on and he married one of his distant relatives Asht Shet about ten years ago. The family lives in Vyasnagar Colony. 


Though music was his sustenance Kamalakar Shet could not make an exclusive career out of it. But he says the contentment he has experienced is something that cannot be measured. He has privately taught Hindustani Classical music, Harmonium and Tabla to about 200 students and these students are sure to carry forward his legacy. He laments lack of time for today’s children to devote to music as the academics keep they engaged all the time. Kamalakar Shet wants to continue with his private tuitions to keep the home fires burning but more importantly to savor the joy that music brings him. 

Comment on this article

  • Sachin Vasant Khambadkone, Mangalore

    Fri, Apr 22 2016

    Congratulations uncle !

    Amongst the many admirable characteristics you possess, you will always be a source of inspiration to me for integrity, discipline and devotion.

    Agree [2]

  • D Prabhu, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 23 2014

    Good to read about him & to see his pictures again. We were neighbours during my childhood days.

    Anyways i would like to wish Shet mam, Good Luck !

    Agree [3]

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