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Amjad Ali Khan or Mukul Shivputra

You have to make compromises in life. I do not like to choose things. But most of the times, you have to choose. Pune is a hub of musicians and performers. Performers love to play in Pune. Many times, it happens that two concerts get arranged on same day, at a same time. Then, fans have to choose and nothing else.

Amjad Ali Khan

Pune had two artists performing at the same time on same day. So, I had to choose.  One of combination was Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Ustad Zakir Hussain who were going to perform at Ganesh kala Krida Manch. On the other hand a very rarely performing and gifted artist, Mukul Shivputra was going to deliver a concert at Garware College Assembly Hall.

This really confused me. I had attended twice concert by Pt. Mukul Shivputra but he did not sing either of the times. So, I had returned without listening anything. Concert of Mukul Shivputra is like a gamble; you go there keeping aside all your works, setting aside everything, getting way through high traffic. You hardly get a chance to get a front sit. Then, when you get seated, you expect something wonderful from Mukul. Mukul comes, sings for a while, shouts on his accompanists and leaves.

Mukul Shivputra

On the other hand, Amjad Ali khan plays same Ragas. I heard him thrice or more in Pune. He plays wonderful but he plays the same. But yes, he at least plays and that too marvelously. And yes, this time he had Zakir Hussain with him.

I attended obviously Amjad Ali Khan and Zakir Hussain. Yes, the same Ragas played very beautifully and Zakir not getting much scope to play. I enjoyed the concert. But, when I came back, from somewhere I came to know that Mukul Shivputra had sang two ragas. It was a shock for me. I opened him on You Tube and listened to some of his tracks.

I know, a choice cannot be done between Amjad Ali Khan and Mukul Shivputra, but still I know, I missed something. I missed something very rare and very precious.

Now I am again waiting. Some day, Mukul Shivputra will come again and will sing something. I am waiting for the day.

Read more about Mukul Shivputra

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Bhimsen Joshi passes away……….

                The morning of 24th January 2011 was a deep pain to all the music lovers. The Indian Classical Music lost one of his legends. The notes were orphan, saddened was the sky. The emperor of Indian Classical Music, a legend, the singer who had attained godlihood through his music, passed away. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, one of the most extraordinary singers India has ever produced, passed away in the cosmos.
                                                                                  India has lots of dedicated artists. It has plenty of talented performers. Bhimsen Joshi, certainly stands out among them all. He ran away at a very tender age to fulfill his musical thirst. This boy, when he was 11 years old, was so much enchanted by the divine voice of Ustaad Abdul Karim Khan, that he ran away to absorb this art. Without money in his pockets, he wandered across India to find his Guru. After a long search, he reached Savai Gandharva also known as Rambhau Kundgolkar. Bhimsen Ji served his Guru for years without even expecting anything. After testing the dedication of this small boy, Savai Gandharva was so much pleased that he opened all the treasures he had in front of Bhimsen.
                                          Bhimsen Ji used to practice for 18 hours. This tremendous practice can be felt in the very first note of his performance. It was this tremendous practice which gave Bhimsen Ji the strength to sing any note without effort, shift from one note to another just like a lightening. Bhimsen Joshi had a voice suitable to all the types of music. Let it be Khayal, Thumri, Bhajan, Abhang, Tarana or a Natyageet. Bhimsen Ji had ability to present different types of compositions without damaging the individuality of them. His voice, though it was toned like hard rock, at the same time was very delicate also. While singing Darbari Kanhara or Miyaan Ki Malhar, it is as firm, bold and thrustful like a lightning. At the same time, while singing Jaijaiwanti or Maru Bihag, it was one of the most delicate voices we can imagine of.
                                                                                 All the artists somewhere have desire to showcase their talent. Bhimsen Ji, was never worried about showing his talent. Rather, he was never present in his music, only music was there. He used to be so much absorbed and dissolved in his music, that such small thoughts, like ‘I must impress people, I must enchant my crowd’ was never present in his music. Thats why, his music was divine. When artist himself disappears from the art, divinity remains.
                                                     Contribution of Bhimsen Joshi to the world of music is infinite. He has hundreds of records on his name which are guiding the music explorers, quenching the thirst of all the music lovers across the globe. He gave platform to many budding artist through Savai Gandharva Music Festival which today is largest music festival in India.
                                                                                         Bhimsen Joshi was a car lover. He had quite a big fleet of cars at his disposals. He used to drive alone hundreds of miles  in his classic Mercedes across whole India. Along with driving, he was a good mechanic also. He was a cricket lover. He loved dogs. He was just a layman when he was with his family. He had all the respected honours like Padmabhushan, Padmavibhushan, Bharat Ratna, Platinum Disc, Sangeet Natak Academy Award on his name, yet he was much separated and elevated from all of them.
                                                               An artist is also a human being. Many a times it happens that artists with all the respect they get, consider themselves somewhat holier than others. Bhimsen Joshi was one of the most humble artists we ever had. He was almost like a saint. His music is a doorway to the divine. People used to be speechless, with their eyes filled with tears when he used to sing Bhajans. When he used to sing Abhang of Lord Vitthal, people could actually feel the presence of Lord Vitthal. So much was his totality, so much was his dedication, so much was his Sadhna.
                                                      Today, though all music lovers and performers feel like losing their father, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is still among us all in the form of his music, Ragas he created, his infinite memories and infinite impacts which his music made in infinite hearts.

Famous Musicians of India music

Famous musicians of India #3

A young boy, at a very tender age, hears a very touching gramophone record being played in a music shop.He is so much fascinated by the voice, that he leaves the house, runs away without a single penny in his pocket to find a teacher who will teach him this divine art.This little boy was, todays most famous Indian classical vocalist,Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and this divine record was sung by, Late Ustaad Abdul Karim Khan Sahib.

Abdul karim Khan

Very few musicians in India had the divine voice quality;among them, one was Abdul Karim Khan Sahib.Along with vocal music, he was a gifted Been ,Sarangi and Tabla player.He was born in 1872 at Kirana, a place in North India in a musical family.Initially he was a Sarangi plyayer but then changed his focus to the vocal music.If one is asked to list down the singers who had most soothiing voices, no one will challenge the position of Ustaad Abdul Karim Khan at the top of it.His voice was very much delicate and filled with the divine nectar.
He was the first north Indian musician who deeply studied the Karnatak style of Indian Classical Music.His style of singing Sargam was much in accordance with the Karnatak style.He had very minute knowledge about the various notes and his voice could put them in front of the people very clearly and with ease.He has also contributed much to Marathi Devotional music and Natya Sangeet(Music which was used in stage plays instead of dialogs.)
The significance of work of a musician can be mapped on three parameters-
1.The quality of music
2.Disciples produced by the musician
3.Contribution to the growth and awareness about the music.
Work of Abdul Karim Khan is literally immeasurable on all these three parameters.Quality of his music was so much divine that many respected scientists,philosophers,social activists in India were in love with him and did not miss his single concert.C.V. Raman,Lokmanya Tilak and many such eminent personalities were his fans.Devotional songs sung by him could bring tears in eyes of listeners.Bhimsen Joshi turned out to be a musician only after listening to his miraculous voice.
If we consider the list of disciples of Ustaad ji, we can find very respected and well known names in it.Savai Gandharva,Suresh Mane,Hirabai Badodekar are just few of these names.And this generation again produced an unending list of talented artists such as Pt. Bhimsen Joshi,Gangubai Hangal, Firoz Dastur, Manik Verma etc.Abduk karim Khan started Arya Sangeet Vidyalay at Pune where he himself taught music and free accommodation and food was provided to needy.He spent most of his concert earnings on parenting the needy students.He settled in Miraj afterwards, where he used to organize a grand music festival.A large number of saints were fed free of charge and also, many musicians were promoted through this platform.
He had a huge number of followers in South India where his lovers used to arrange a procession of him with garlands all over his body. Inspite of all this, he lived like a saint.After having a look at his mystic eyes, Annie Besant enquired a disciple if Khan Sahib was a drug addict.The disciple answered, he is addicted to only one thing-music.
In 1937, he was visiting pondicherry.He was feeling uncomfortable so left the train and started singing prayer in Raag Darbari Kanada and while singing the divine song, left his body.
We are really fortunate that his records are available and we can experience the divinity through his records.


Indian Music

Indian music,which can be said to be the oldest form of music, is attracting a great number of people all over the world.The Indian music, along with its musical quality, is now in limelight more because of  latest research being conducted which prove it to be much healing and much beneficial.

Vedas are said to be the most ancient scriptures in human history.It is said that these Vedas were sung in Raaga which can be considered as the origin of scientifically produced music.Indian music has been changing its form gradually.At first it was a very different type of art;as the various emperors came and dominated over this country, the music also changed according to the people who ruled this country.The most important thing is that, though the form of music has been changed,the core purpose of the music remains the same.India has produced many talented musicians, but the wonder is that those who used this music for self exploration, were much more acknowledged and were given much more respect even if they did not get the fame.

A very explaining example is that of one of the most musician ever produced by India,known as Tansen.It is believed that Tansen used to ignite that lamps with the power of his music.But, Tansen was a disciple of a very great singer,hardly known to the masses,Swami Haridas.Swami Haridas never used to sing for public or for the king.Many incidences clearly show that he was much more respected that Tansen who was the court musician for emperor Akbar.

Indian music has survived because of  this approach of the musicians.Even today also,most of the musicians openly say that they perform for themselves or for the sake of divine.In other countries music has been considered as some sort of knowledge;but in India,music is always considered as a meditation.In spite of  many dominating rulers,Indian music has not lost its roots and the credit goes to this one concept-Music is meditation.

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Famous musicians of India #2

Ustaad Allauddin Khan

It was a noon time.A poor man was trying to sell his sub standard music drums called as Dafli which are played with the help of hands.He was merely successful in doing go.Along with him were sitting his poor children waiting for a customer;if he buys the drum they are going to get the food.Suddenly a man comes to the man.Not bearing the pain of the poor condition, he just lifts up one of those drums and starts playing them.Within a moment, the whole crowd is enchanted by that magical rhythm played on those very ordinary drums.For the entire time,people are out of the

ir senses.The performance is over.People within a moment, hypnotized by that divine music,take out whatever they find in their pockets and put it in front of the man.That man collects all that money,hands it over to the owner of the drums and without speaking a single word,leaves the place.

This soft hearted and India’s most loved and most respected musician was,Ustad Allauddin Khan.What we call as divine music is the music of Allauddin Khan.Allauddin Khan with a lot of efforts was accepted as a disciple by famous Veena player Ustaad Wazir Khan of Rampur.He was court musician to the Maharaja Of Maihar Estate.

Ustaad Allauddin Khan unlike other musicians, never practiced music as an profession.He was completely absorbed in music or rather music had absorbed him completely.He had reached the highest peaks and also the deepest and most subtle roots of the music.Allauddin Khan was a Sarod player, but he could play any instrument with so much mastery that anybody would think that this man must have wasted his whole life in playing that instrument.He could play all sort of instruments with equal ease and equal command.

As a musician he was the most successful; but as a Guru or Music master also, no one will deny the fact that he was most successful.He was father and Guru of world famous Sarod player and one of the finest musician of this country,Ustaad Ali Akbar Khan and very divine SurBahar player, Shrimati Annapurna Devi(Pt.Hariprasad Chaurasia is a pupil of Annapurna Ji).Many of the most successful musicians like Sitar players Pt.Ravishankar and Pt.Nikhil Banerjee, flautist Pt.pannalal Ghosh were his disciples.If we consider producing a chain of worthy disciples as a success, no one is as successful as Ustaad Allauddin Khan.

Along with the musician,Allauddin khan was a very spiritual person.Greatest musicians of those times and also today’s music lovers, with love and respect call him Baba,which means father.He was also one of those rare musicians who explored themselves through music.He was equally in love of all religions and also always absorbed in the godliness.Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho was very much interested in Baba Allauddin Khan and used to visit him frequently.When Osho was asked that if he knew any musician who had attained enlightenment through music,Osho answered that it was only Baba who had realized the self through his music.As Osho says,while playing the Saord, Baba got his enlightenment.As at that time Allauddin Khan was above 100 years old, his delicate and fragile body could not bear that load, and Allauddin Khan left his body at the very moment.

This essence of his divine search can be felt in the music of Baba Allauddin Khan and it is a real mystical experience to listen to his music.

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Famous Musicians of India #1

I am very pleased to announce that for the first time I am starting a new series here on this blog.The series is named as Famous Musicians of India.India can be considered as birth place of music.Thousands of years ago Vedas were sung in musical notes.From there originated the concept of Sura(note) and Taal(Tempo or rhythm).On these two fundamental parameters based is the Indian music.

From its origin time, Indian music has undergone a series of transformation and now has reached the form it presently has.In this journey,various talented artists have made their contributions.The specialty of Indian music is that the same note can be sung in thousands of ways according to the way voice of the artist or the hand of the instrumentalist is trained. There are Hundreds of Ragas and also hundreds of different styles which make Indian classical music  a sheer joy and a very inspiring source for contemplation and meditation.

Another strange fact is that all of the famous musicians of India were having a very strong spiritual background.Their music was nothing but the journey to the self exploration.These musicians were practicing their music not as a source of income or as a source of entertainment but as a door to the eternal which can be found inside themselves.

So it is very insightful experience  to explore these famous musicians of India as it can give you anything you want-from entertainment to very deep contemplation.The very first musician which I will be discussing will be Allauddin Khan. The actual series will start with the next post.

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Rhythm Divine:Myth or Truth

There are many things which at first sight seem absurd and unbelievable, but at the root lies very simple reason.India is quite famous for producing such personalities whose skills have been underestimated as myths.One of such personality is Taansen, the legendary singer.

The fact about Taansen is that when he used to sing, all the instruments would be automatically played with him.No person was needed to play them; rather his voice and his perfection was only thing which was sufficient.Today this is considered as a myth.But any person with a little bit of musical and scientific knowledge will come to know that this is not a myth but highest height of perfection and totality.

While learning Indian Classical Music tradtionally at home of my Guru I  came to know that while tuning one instrument when its frequency is same with some other instrument, the other one vibrates and makes sound automatically over a considerable distance.And practicing a  little bit for 8 years I myself reached the point where Just by singing a note I can bring it out automatically from Harmonium.Just the principle of resonance.

While singing a Raaga, Taansen used to be in such a totality that all the instruments placed there used to produce the same note due to resonance and the result was complete raaga being heard on the instruments.So, the story of Taansen is not a myth;but a story of Devotion,Totality and perfection.