Hindustani Classical Music


Pandit Bhimsen JoshiPandit Bhimsen Joshi

Bhimsen Joshi, who is riding the crest of popularity and has ridden it for the last several years, is a musical marvel. His singing invariably provides listeners with a divine musical experience. Many admit that today there is no other vocalist comparable to him in the entire nation.

Bhimsen, who is now in his 60s, has attained proficiency and fame that astound the musical world. His voice, like that legendary philosopher's stone, turns every note into a golden one. Billions of notes that have received the golden touch of his voice have been freely showered by him on the teeming millions of his fans. His unswerving faith in an intense devo tion to his guru has been his key to success.

Bhimsen was born into a Brahmin family of Gadag in Karnataka. His childhood was spent there. Even as a child he was passionate about music, to the chagrin of his father who desired that Bhimsen should get a sound education and qualify as a doctor or an engineer. But Bhimsen, neglecting his studies, pursued music instead. At last he could not control any more his yearning to learn music, and one day he ran away from home. He had heard that Gwalior, Lucknow and Rampur in the North were the best places to learn classical music. Therefore his first destination was Gwalior.

A few years of his youth were thus spent in the company of well known musicians at Gwalior, Lucknow and Rampur, serving them and learning as much as he could from them. His father, coming to know of Bhimsen's fervent desire for knowledge in music, abandoned his policy of opposition, fetched his son back and made arrangements for him to learn under the guidance of Sawai Gandharva of Kundol. This opportunity opened the vaults of rich and rare musical treasures to Bhimsen. Bhimsen's natural tuneful voice received further polish from his guru. Like a diamond which sparkles all the brighter after it is expertly cut, Bhimsen's voice began to shine with a new lustre and brilliance which has dazzled and cast a spell on the entire

Bhimsen is a versatile singer; he is an expert in khayal singing but he is also adept in the presentation of thumris, songs from plays, or devotional compositions. His lilting thumris (Jadu bhareli, Piya ke milan ki aas or Babul mora) and his innumerable popular Abhangs composed by the saints of Maharashtra are instances in point.

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