Harmonium, Tabla Maestro, Composer and Musicologist Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh

Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh

(8 May 1909 – 18 February 1997)

Often known as ‘Guru’ Jnan Prakash Ghosh was an Indian Harmonium and Tabla player from Farukhabad gharana of Hindustani Classical Music and Musicologist. Apart from being a vocalist, he was a fine Composer and Teacher. He trained and taught 3 generations of Tabla players and singers and reared maestros in each of these.
• Early life and background : Born in a Hindu family with musical background in Kolkata. He was the grandson of Dwarkanath Ghosh (1847–1928), who founded Dwarkin in 1875 and invented the “Dwarkin Harmonium”, popular in West Bengal, India.
He graduated from the Scottish Church College of the University of Calcutta. He was keen in sports (he played soccer, hockey, polo and billiards). He also practised painting, but had to discontinue these due to an eye injury in a soccer match.Then he turned to music. He was trained in vocals by Girija Shankar, Mohammed Sagir Khan and Mohammed Dabir Khan. He took Tabla lessons from Ustad Masit Khan of the Farukhabad gharana and became his senior disciple and later from Ustad Feroze Khan of the Punjab gharana.
• Career : He worked for 15 years in All India Radio as a producer of music. He wrote pieces in classical music, light music, modern, orchestral, choral, and percussion styles. He was the founder of Sourav Academy of Music and closely associated with the ‘Sangeet Research Academy’. He scored music for many Bengali films, Jadubhatta, Andhare Alo and Rajlakshmi o Srikanta(1958) are worth mentioning. He has composed and directed music to a number of popular gramophone records sung by various artistes.
A percussion entitled The Drums of India and a Jugalbandi with Pandit V. G. Jog on the Harmonium and Violin respectively have earned him wide popularity.
One of his compositions was called Chaturang– involving Tabla, Pakhawaj, Kathak and Tarana. He would instruct disciples staying with him to practice late into the evenings and it is said that he would correct any errors that reached his ears.
He also provided music for the Academy Award nominated animated short Bead Game, directed by Ishu Patel for the National Film Board of Canada. His residence at Dixon Lane in Bowbazar, Kolkata, was frequented by musicians, be it local or those visiting the city, and thus was the venue of several recitals, most notably a Raga Chhayan at performed by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan in 1954.
Amongst his notable students are Tabla players Pt. Nikhil Ghosh, Pt. Kanai Datta, Pt. Shankar Ghosh, Shyamal Bose, Pt. Abhijit Banerjee, Pt. Anindo Chatterjee, Sanjay Mukherjee; vocalists Pt. Prasun Banerjee, Smt. Meera Banerjee, Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty, Pt. Gobinda Basu, Suman Ghosh, Malvika Kanan, Tanima Thakur, Mallar Ghosh and Arun Bhaduri and instrumentalist Paul Grant.
His birth centenary was celebrated on 7 May 2012, in Kolkata, with screening of documentary of him and performances by noted singers.


Hindustani Classical Vocalist – Vidushi Malabika Kanan

Hindustani Classical Vocalist – Vidushi Malabika Kanan

(27 December 1930 – 17 February 2009)

Vidushi Malabika Kanan was a noted Hindustani Classical Vocalist. Her musical rendering of khyals was exceptional among the singers of that genre and her exposition of Bairagi and Desh in a rich voice was of special tonal quality.

Malabika Kanan was born in Lucknow on 27 December 1930 to Rabindralal Roy, a musicologist. Right from an young age of four, she started learning music under her father’s guidance. Her father was a disciple of Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande. In her early years, she trained in musical genre of dhrupad, dhamar and khayal for a number of years under her father. She also got training in Rabindrasangeet; Santidev Ghosh and Suchitra Mitra were her teachers. She traveled with her father on musical concerts in many places within the country.
Her first music rendering was in raga Ramkali on the All India Radio when she was 15 years old. Her first performance on stage followed in the next year at the Tansen Sangeet Samaroh.
Kanan married A. Kanan, another singer, on 28 February 1958, and developed a new style of singing adopting his Kirana style. She was also trained by him in thumri. She was very proficient in singing bhajans. She was a fan of famous Hindustani Classical Vocalist Pt. D. V. Paluskar. She actively performed at several concerts at the national level and in many Radio Sangeet Sammelans. At the ITC Academy, where her husband was a guru, she also became a teacher or guru in July 1979, and was a Member of the Expert Committee of the academy. She died in Calcutta on 17 February 2009.
• Awards : Kanan received the ITC Sangeet Research Academy Award in 1995 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1999-2000.

[Tags Vidushi Malabika Kanan, Malabika Kanan, Rabindralal Roy,

Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande]

Hindustani Classical Vocalist – Pandit Sureshbabu Mane

Hindustani Classical Vocalist – Pandit Sureshbabu Mane

(1902 – 15 February 1953)

Pt. Sureshbabu Mane (1902 – 15 February 1953) was a prominent Hindustani classical Vocalist of Kirana Gharana in India. He was the son of a doyen of Kirana Gharana, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan.

• Early life and training:
Pt. Sureshbabu was born as Abdul Rehman Khan to Kirana Gharana master Ustad Abdul Karim Khan and Tarabai Mane. Tarabai was the daughter of Sardar Mauti Rao Mane, a brother of princely Baroda State’s "Rajmata" during the middle of the 19th century. Ustad Abdul Karim Khan was the court musician in Baroda when Tarabai was young, and he taught her music. The two fell in love and decided to get married; but Tarabai’s parents disapproved of the alliance, and the couple had to leave the state (along with Abdul Karim’s brother, Ustad Abdul Haq Khan). The couple moved to Bombay(Mumbai), and had two sons: Suresh or Abdul Rehman, and Krishna; and three daughters: Champakali, Gulab, and Sakina or Chhotutai. In their adult lives, the five respectively became known as Sureshbabu Mane, Krishnarao Mane, Hirabai Badodekar, Kamalabai Badodekar, and Saraswati Rane.
Sureshbabu had his initial training from his father, and later training from the doyen of Kirana Gharana, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan.

Along with performing in concerts he also have performed in several Marathi plays, and movies. Though not an accomplished actor, he acted in stage plays in the theatrical company formed by his younger sister Hirabai Barodekar. He appeared in plays like Sanyasa-kallol in the role of Ashwin Sheth and Subhadra, where he played the lead of Arjun. Later he acted in a few films like Amrit Manthan(1934), Chandrasena(1935), Rajput Ramani(1936) by Prabhat Films and composed music for ‘Savitri’ (1936, lead role by Leela Pendharkar), Devyani and Sach Hai(1939) by Saraswati Cinetone.
He also played instruments like Tabla and Harmonium.
Artists like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Dr. Vasantrao Deshpande were influenced by Sureshbabu’s music. Few of Sureshbabu’s recordings are available today.• Singing-style:
Sureshbabu was an exceptionally expert in Khyal, Thumri, Marathi Natya Sangeet and Bhajan. His singing was intelligent, tuneful, aesthetically rich, tender and balanced. His disciple and legendary Hindustani classical Vocalist Dr.Prabha Atre written in her book Along Path of Music that, his music came through intuition, imagination and will power; not through hard labour. His sweet tone was the life of his singing. Deep yet delicate, it felt like a feather stroking the skin. His phrases were always rounded with neatly drawn curves and were laced with aesthetic embroidery through kan and khatkas. His singing appeared to be very simple and easy, yet it was extremely difficult to imitate. He sang intricate phrases with such ease that one would seldom notice their complexity. He use to say "sing in such a way that after concert, your music eludes the memory of your audience. They should just be filled with the aura of the concert that lingers on."
He was one of the few musicians in Maharashtra of that period who was drawn to the Punjabi-style of Thumri singing. His thumri singing was legendary and many artists have taken inspiration from that.

• Disciples:
Hirabai Badodekar and Dr. Prabha Atre, two well-known classical music singers were among his important disciples. Dr .Vasantrao Deshpande, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Manik Varma, Saraswati Rane, Vamanrao Deshpande, Basavaraj Rajguru, Balasaheb Atre, Vitthalrao Sardeshmukh and Menaka Shirodkar also received guidance from Sureshbabu.

• Legacy:
Sureshbabu died on February 15, 1953 in Pune. An annual music festival is held in Mumbai by his disciple Dr. Prabha Atre by the name Sureshbabu – Hirabai Smruti Sangeet Samaroh since 1992, becoming one of the major festival of music in the country.

[Tag Classical, Vocal, Pandit Sureshbabu Mane, 

Dr.Prabha Atre, 

Ustad Abdul Karim Khan]

Shamim Ahmed Khan – Sitarist and Composer

Shamim Ahmed Khan – Sitarist and Composer

September 10, 1938 – February 14, 2012

Shamim Ahmed Khan was a sitarist and composer, and notably, a student of Pandit Ravi Shankar. His solo recording debut was at the age of 29. Shamim had performed in Carnegie Hall, at the Lincoln Center, at the Griffith Center, among other concert halls. Although an exponent of Indian classical music, he was also associated with western musicians such as Buddy Rich, and Paul Horn among others.

At an early age Shamim Ahmed was introduced to Hindustani classical music by his father, Ustad Ghulam Rasool Khan, a renowned music composer and vocalist of the musical Agra Gharana. However, after a bout of typhoid, Shamim Ahmed steered away from singing to turn towards his true passion for the sitar. In 1951, while studying at the Baroda Music College (now referred to as the Faculty of Performing Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Khan met Pandit Ravi Shankar at a music conference in Ahmedabad. The day was memorable for the young musician also on account of his grand uncle’s first death anniversary; grand uncle Ustad Faiyaz Khan was an eminent classical vocalist. His father introduced him to Pandit Ravi Shankar, informing the maestro about his son’s interest in music. A few years later, the young Shamim Ahmed once again met Pandit Ravi Shankar at a music competition organized by All India Radio, where he played the sitar for him. In later years, Shamim Ahmed characterized his teacher briefly, in three words, "discipline", "devotion", "compassion". Those who knew Ustad Shamim Ahmed Khan, would consider him too as "humble" and "modest".

[Tags Shamim Ahmed Khan, Sitar, Composer, 

Pandit Ravi Shankar, 

Ustad Ghulam Rasool Khan]