Vinayak Torvi – A Gem of Indian Music

 Vinayak Torvi – An Indian Musical Exponent

Born on the auspicious day of Ganesh Chathurti, on the 4th of September, 1948, in the town of Ranebennur in the South Indian state of Karnataka, in the family of Keerankars, Pandit Vinayak Malharrao Torvi is an eminent Indian Hindustani Classical vocalist of International renown. He is popularly known as “Sur Lay Ka Badshah” among the Classical music aficionados. He excels in the art of the Gwalior tradition and the Kirana Gharana tradition in the field of the Classical music.

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Torvi was born to Malharrao Torvi, who was an exponent of the Harikatha (a musical discourse). He spent most of his childhood listening to the musical discourses performed by his father. He also accompanied his father during the musical discourses. He could rightly be called as a child prodigy as he had spent most of his childhood listening to musical discourses; there was a gradual development of passion in him for music.


At the age of 9, Torvi started to take up Classical music as a formal education. At the beginning, he was trained under his Guru, Pandit Narayanrao Majumdar of Dharawad. Later, for over a period of fifteen years, he was trained in the Hindustani Classical Vocal music in the Gurukul system (an ancient system of learning applied in different disciplines all across India) rigorously. He was trained by the legendary doyen of the Gwalior Gharana tradition, Guru Gayanacharya Gururao Deshpande in Hindustani Classical music. Under the training of Guru Deshpande, he mastered in the intricacies and nuances of the Gwalior Gharana tradition and the Agra Gayaki tradition. Torvi should indeed be considered a lucky student of Classical music for he was trained by one of the greatest exponents of the Kirana Gharana tradition, Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, after having received a formal education from his first Guru Deshpande. Under the musical guidance of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Torvi mastered the art of Kirana Gayaki tradition. He was not just trained by stalwarts such as Bhimsen Joshi and Gururao Deshpande, but also by musical guidance from exponential maestros like Gangubai Hangal, Mallikarjun Mansur and Basavraj Rajguru during his post graduation studies in Hindustani Classical music.


Torvi’s musical talent mirrors an assemblage three different styles. His musical style is articulated with an open-throated delivery, sophistication of textural tones and an abundant usage of Taans, all imbued with a rich sense of appeal to the emotions. Khayl, Tarana, Thumri as well as Bhajan, Abhang and Kannada Vachanas are few of the characteristic features of Torvi’s repertoire.


Torvi’s musical career started along the 1960s. He started to participate in a number of National level music competitions. He even started to perform in various musical concerts across the country. Along the early 1970s, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in music and graduated from the Karnataka University in Dharwad. With the passage of time, he started to perform across a number of states in India and overseas. In the year 1976, he was given the privilege of being awarded the A grade artiste of the All India Radio. It was along the same period (during the late 1970s), when he received his Masters in Classical music from the same Karnataka University in Dharwad. In the year 1980, Torvi got an opportunity to perform his first major National level concert in a musical concert, which was organized by the Indian Tobacco Company at Hubli. Later, he rendered his service to the Board of the Karnataka state’s Sangeet Nritya Academy for a period of two consecutive terms.


Torvi established the Gururao Deshpande Sangeet Sabha in 1983, in Bangalore. He named this Sabha in the loving memory of his Guru Gururao Deshpande. The establishment of this academy was inaugurated by the renowned musician Padma Vibhushan Dr. Gangubai Hangal, who was also one of the many Gurus of Torvi who had trained him in Classical music. During the 101th year annual festival of this Sabha, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi performed a memorable concert. The all night music Mehfil, the Malhar festival and the Dharwad festival (where in more than 250 artistes perform), are organized by this Sabha. The greatest musical exponents like Pandit Basavaraj Rajguru, Dr. Balamuralikrishna, Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Dr. Prabha Atre, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar, Ustad. Shahid Parvez have made their performances in this Sabha.


Vinayak Torvi started to perform in a number of major musical concerts organized in states like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Dharwad, Bangalore, since 1985. As mentioned earlier, Torvi was a well-known singer not only in India, but also overseas. Between the years 1991-1992, he toured across England, Scotland and France for his concerts and his lectures cum demonstrations. All of his International tour expenses were sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).


Vinayak Torvi holds the privilege of having been awarded many honorary awards from the Indian government. Surmani from SurSingar Sansad, Rajyostav Award, Government of Karnataka, and Chowdiah Memorial Award are few of the many awards received by Torvi. He continues to inspire people through his musical talents.




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