Wednesday 17 Jul 2024

‘Sound Man’ blows bugle on Kala Academy systems

Says equipment installed is inadequate for shows

THE GOAN NETWORK | JULY 11, 2024, 01:58 AM IST

Known as the ‘Sound Man of India’, Roger Drego, who was invited from Mumbai to scrutinise sound, light, acoustic and other equipment at Kala Academy in Panaji, punched holes in the claim that the renovated structure is equipped with latest and professional acoustic systems.

After visiting the Kala Academy complex on Tuesday along with the Leader of the Opposition, Drego, who has five decades of experience in the industry, spoke at length about his assessment of the equipment.

“The systems that are installed are outdated and not suitable for the tiatrs and plays. The equipment is not good enough and inadequate for live shows. The mixing console installed is an old model and needs to be replaced by the latest version,” he stated at a press conference held along with artistes of the Kala Rakhonn Mandd at Institute Menezes Braganza Hall, Panaji on Wednesday.

He said the brand that is installed is known for manufacturing equipment for sound systems not meant for amphitheatres or auditoriums. “There is no clarity of sound at the last rows, as the current sound system is not designed to cater to theatrical performances,” Drego said.

Pointing out that today’s audience is used to television and wants to hear quality sound, which is not offered at KA, Drego claimed the number of monitors also is less, and the lighting above the stage is wrongly placed.

Speaking further, he said the blinders are meant for big, open areas and not put over the stage to light up the artistes. “Moving light effects are 150 watts but 500-600 watts are required here. The lighting board is old fashioned and should have been replaced. The new air-conditioning plant is placed right above the stage, which keeps disturbing and the noise generated can be heard by the audience when the show is on. The installed equipment has been discontinued in the market and there’s even no after-sales-services available,” he said while questioning the reasoning behind purchasing the equipment.

“The sound system installed does not come in top six systems, and the system installed is designed for corporate conferences. Both the amphitheatre and the auditorium are inadequately equipped and are in a total mess,” announced Drego whose company Star Professional specialises in making and developing loudspeakers, power amplifiers, and professional audio gear for the installation market in the country.

Members of the Kala Rakhonn Mandd charged that the heritage building of Kala Academy in Panaji was meant to promote the cultural heritage of Goa but due to lack of maintenance and upgradation the structure has deteriorated and even after spending crores of rupees on renovation, there is no provision of state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment, alleged artistes and members.

Francisco Colaco claimed that Kala Academy was built aiming to promote the art and culture of the State of Goa. It was constructed in such a way that artistes who performed there were happy and satisfied with the sound, light, acoustic systems and stage arrangements. However, KA has not lived up to its original standard and quality over the years, and the current state-of-affairs in it are very disappointing for the artistes, be they local, national or international. “The non-maintenance of the structure, non-upgradation of the sound and other systems as well as air-conditioning has deteriorated over the years and now stands in a pathetic condition, even after crores of rupees being spent on the so-called renovation,” alleged Colaco.

Colaco also alleged that the original tenders, the work-orders, list of equipment advised and purchased, and whatever is installed there currently mismatches and there seems to be a big scam that may have occurred under the nose of government departments that are engaged in the renovation process.

“The air-conditioning which is kept far away from the auditoriums is placed right above the stage. The lighting arrangement is also badly done. There is no planning and monitoring of the work that has been carried out,” said Dilip Prabhudesai, a stage artiste.

Sandesh Prabhudesai stated that the artists are shocked, and alleged that the three ministries are to be blamed for not taking the artistes into confidence and asking their requirements, and also not consulting any expert before putting out the tenders. “The Art and Culture department, the PWD and the Finance department all three are to be blamed for the mismatch that has occurred and it also stinks of a scam, that’s why we are asking for a white paper on Kala Academy,” said the veteran journalist and artiste.

Among others who spoke included Cecilia, Dynanesh Moghe, and Saish Panandikar.

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