Famous Musicians of India

Remembering Pt. Bhimsen Joshi

It has been almost an year. I turn my bike to the way going to Kalashree, the residence of late Maestro, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. I know, he is not there, but still I cannot resist. I used to take this road when he was living there. I myself cannot understand why I take that road even though I know he is not there? I have now decided to find an answer.

May be, I am searching Bhimsen Joshi. Searching madly. And my poor mind knows only this much- If he can be found by chance, it will be at his home, Kalashree. A poor dog of master madly watches at gramophone playing records of his master, with blind hope that he is still there and will come out of it.

I am also like that mad lover. I also feel, I will catch him in the garden of Kalashree. People can laugh at this but they do not know what this man has given to me. Only a lover can know this.

When Pt. Bhimsen Joshi passed away, from that day, I could not listen to his records. I did not feel like. My father used to listen to them a lot, but I avoided. Now, it is almost one year Pt. Bhimsen Joshi has left us. Today morning, I come to know that only his notes can satisfy me. No one else can do it.

Now I am almost satisfied. i use word almost because I know I am far away from total satisfaction. It might need pains taken by Pt. Bhimsen Joshi to be completely satisfied.

I am listening to him right from I was in womb of my mother.  At this moment I can write only this much-

रस भिनी भिनीया

तेरो नयनका संग


I am awake with your eyes full of…..I do not know the English word for रस…it is beyond scope of this language….

Famous Musicians of India

Bhimsen Joshi and Vintage car

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is well known as a devoted driver and also a great car lover. I had an opportunity to observe Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia coming in a vintage just a few days ago. I think god was not satisfied with whatever he gave me. The reason for saying so is, just next day, I got a chance to capture the vintage car owned by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.

Kalashree, the well known residence of the late maestro Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is not far from my house. So, often while coming back to my home, I change my way a bit and take the way which goes from the front of his house. So, on one day I was passing by Kalashree, I found that all the new cars were shifted to the yard of neighbors and one old vintage car, which was much loved by Bhimsen Joshi was kept in the yard.

Vintage car of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi

I just stopped my bike and rushed to the watchman and asked him if he would allow me to get a snap of that holy vehicle. Surprisingly, without saying a single word. He allowed to to get a snap. This vintage car is a witness of hours of journey with Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. He must have loved and cared this vehicle with utmost care. When I for the first time got a look of this car, all the memories of the maestro Bhimsen Joshi stood in front of me for a moment.

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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

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi

It is said that it is very difficult to have something very precious and not to show of it. People who have nothing, even they can not stop themselves from showing of. But yes, there are some persons who have some very rare and precious things, and yet, they do not show of. This rule is applicable even to arts and artists.

Bhimsen Joshi

Artist has two basic qualities with him. These qualities are insight and skill. Most of the times, artists lack in insight and are skillful. Such artists show off their skills. But, there are some artists, who are on a much higher plane as far as both insight and skills are concerned, but they never show off. One of such artists is, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is unbeatable as far as insights and skills are concerned; but, he is so much absorbed in his music, that he totally forgets that he has to showcase his talent. Bhimsen Joshi Ji, unlike other artists, goes somewhere within himself when he is singing. This outer world disappears. All those claps, audience praising, everything falls away. What remains, is Bhimsen Joshi Ji and his meditation.

Indian is a land of artists. There are many artists having a musical background stretching up to 8 to 9 generations. Bhimsen Joshi, had no such background. This man, ran away from his home after hearing a record of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. What I love, is this fire of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Ji. This can be seen in performances even at the age of 80.

I remember, a video of Bhimsen Joshi Ji singing a Bhajan by Saint Tulsidas. His eyes were closed. Absorbed somewhere inside him. As if he was searching for something or rather he was refining something. I have never seen any artist so much absorbed in his art.

Critics have one complaint against Pandit Bhimsen Joshi Ji. The complaint is that when he sings, lyrics cannot be heard properly. He does not have a clear excruciation. The thing to note is that, it is not that he cannot pronounce. The first priority of bhimsen Joshi is the flavor, the juice. And many a times, it happens that wordings affect this juice. Bhimsen Joshi is so much absorbed in flavor, that lyrics just do not matter. Words are lame, the juice, the flavor is what matters. If someone compromises lyrics for flavor, I would love the person.

At the end, I remember a sung Bandish by Bhimsen Joshi ji-

I am awake…….

With your eyes,

submerged in the juice….

Image taken from-

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.