Vidya Shah

Vidya Shah
Discussing Faiz on RSTV

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bhimsen Joshi

Bhimsen Ji
When I was learning Khayal Gayaki, my guru had once remarked somewhat disdainfully, you need to get into the raag, the bandish, feel with it – ek junoon honaa chahiye, only then will you fill your canvas beautifully. Listening to Pandit ji’s Miya ki Malhar or Komal Rishabh asavari or the Puriya Kalyan, actually any of his recordings, to my mind was exactly all of this that was told to me. It was as if he had overwhelmed the Raag itself by exploring every possible aspect of it. To come back to the Mukhda and have a new interpretation almost every time is quite thrilling to a practioner. Panditji had a voice that was Gold. It had power, it could be soft, it had depth, the resonance, it brought with it many colours, therefore the touched hearts of many. His unbelievably flexible voice enabled him to traverse at terrific speed, the great range of 3 octaves.
Although he was primarily a Khayal Singer the star of the Kirana gharana, we also know him for his Thumris, bhajans, Abhang, all of which he sang with equal ease and élan. While it is a well known thing about him that he left home very early in life, but what is more fascinating is his intense search for a Guru at such a young age. Mad about music, single minded in his pursuit (he traveled for months, doing odd jobs to earn his food and travel to get to Gwalior which he knew was an important site for classical music) to know your calling, even before you are twenty years of age, I think is indeed the mark of a genius. An epoch maker; a true inspiration, no less than God!

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2 comments:

Rahul Banerjee said...

The great thing about Bhimsen Joshi in addition to his virtuoso singing was his unabashed drinking! Some of the histrionics that went with his singing on stage would not have been possible if had not been inebriated. Unfortunately despite the great man's own candour in this regard no one is mentioning this.

Kalpesh said...

It is nice to know more and more about Panditji from the people who belong to music.