UNRAVELING BHIMSEN JOSHI

BHIMSEN JOSHI – THE BHEEM OF KIRANA GHARANA

Born in Ron, Karnataka, on February 4, 1922, Bhimsen Joshi was a professionally trained vocalist in the Hindustani Classical Tradition. Not only was he popular for his contribution in the Hindustani Classical Tradition, but he was also popular for his famous and divine renditions of devotional music. His fascination for music started when he was a child. He learnt to play the musical instruments like the Harmonium and Tanpura. It was a recording of Abdul karim khan’s (the founding father of the Kirana Gharana) Piya Bin Nahi Aavat Chain in Raga Jhinjhoti that Bhimsen Joshi listened to when he was a child, which inspired him to become a colossal musician of the Hindustani Classical Tradition. As an 11-year-old young boy, he left to Bijapur to find for himself an exponent in Hindustani music to train him.

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Agasara Channappa of Kurtakoti holds the privilege of being the first musical trainer of the veteran singer Bhimsen Joshi. After having learnt the Ragas form Agasara Channappa, Bhimsen Joshi then went to Pandit Shyamacharya Joshi, a priest and classical singer and the descendant of the Great Haridasa Shree Mahipati Dasaru, who was born in Bagalkot. Under the supervision of Pandit Shyamacharya Joshi, Bhimsen Joshi learnt not only to sing, but also to play the Harmonium.

Carnatic singers like Smt. Kesarbai Kerkar, Begum Akhtar and Ustad Amir Khan deeply influenced Bhimsen Joshi’s style of singing. Joshi was inspired by the various elements in Hindustani Classical music and he assimilated these into his own style of singing.

As mentioned earlier, Joshi is famous for his renditions of devotional music. He was not only an exponent of the Khyal interpretations, but he has sung Bhakti songs in Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Santavani and Dasavani. Not only were the ardent lovers of music were fans of his divine Bhajans, but also people from across the country. His versatility in Hindustani Classical music is evident through his performance in Kannada Dasa Krithis, which are usually performed by Carnatic musicians.

The music video Mile Sur Mera Tumhara gained wide spread recognition for Joshi in India. Though there innumerable musical performances of Joshi that are loved and listened by people, the song Mile Sur Mera Tumhara is remembered by people until today for Joshi’s mesmerizing voice. Even after several decades, the song continues to people’s favorite evergreen number.  This music video promoted national integration in India and highlighted the diversity of the Indian culture.

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 He also holds the privilege of being a part of the national anthem on the 50th year of Indian Republic. He has sung in a number of albums, which were collaborated with many well-known musicians like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Dr. Balamuralikrishna and Hariprasad Chaurasiya.

It was not just his sheer grit, but also his determined and focused mind, that earned Bhimsen Joshi his very first Platinum Disc in 1986. He holds the privilege of having received many awards in the field of music from the Indian government for his immense contribution towards Hindustani Classical music. He was presented the Padma shree in 1972, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1976 and also the Padma Bhushan in 1985.

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Bhimsen Joshi is one of the most unforgettable Indian musicians who has left an everlasting memory in the minds of the ardent followers of music through his artistic musical performances in the Kirana Gharana. He was passionate about music and his thirst for music was unquenchable. Bhimsen Joshi, through his astounding talents, has left a benchmark for the musicians of the generations to come. Though dead, Bhimsen Joshi continues to be a living legend, weaving waves of magic in music with his unique voice even today.

REFERENCES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhimsen_Joshi , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirana_gharana#Prominent_exponents, http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/kairana-kirana-gharana-2879004/

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/slide-show-1-tribute-bhimsen-joshi-unrivalled-hindustani-vocalist-of-our-time/20110124.html

 

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