Voice has been silenced but melody will linger on for ever

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Pune, Jan 24 (PTI) The last of the titans ofHindustani classical music, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was a raregenius who could transcend the mundane and transport hisaudience to the sublime with his gifted voice that capturedboth anguish and ecstasy.

What made him arguably the most popular Hindustanimusic vocalist of the current times was his impassionedrenditions with a powerful and penetrating voice thatshowcased the aesthetic majesty of the ''Kirana'' gharana ofwhich he was the celebrated exponent, as also the eloquentexpression of light classical, devotional and the popularvariety.

It was an awe-inspiring fusion of intelligence andpassion that perhaps separated Joshi from other classicalvocalists who dogmatically stuck to their ''Gharana'' culturewith a rigidity that possibly inhibited creativity.

Born on February 4, 1922 at Gadag in Dharwad districtof Karnataka, his journey to the stardom in the world ofHindustani music was just as dramatic as it was arduous forone who decided to run away from home at a tender age of 11,in quest of finding a ''Guru'' to learn music.

Even as a child, Joshi''s craving for music was evidentto his family as he managed to lay his hands on a ''tanpura''used by his ''Kirtankar'' grandfather, which had been kept awayfrom his gaze at home. Music had such a magnetic pull over himthat a ''bhajan singing'' procession or just ''azaan'' from anearby mosque was said to draw him out of house.

On his way back home after school hours, Joshi used tostand near a shop selling gramophone records and listen to themusic played by the owner for prospective customers.

There he chanced to hear a record of Abdul Karim Khanand resolved to sing like the Ustad. The quest for the Gurustarted at that point, as Joshi himself told a biographer inan interview.

A slight provocation at home spurred Joshi to giveeffect to what had been brewing in his mind as he made hisway to Gadag railway station, clad in a rumpled shirt and halfpant, and embarked on a ticket-less train journey that tookhim to Bijapur where he sang ''bhajans'' earning a pittance tofeed himself.

Unable to find the master who could teach him, theintrepid youngster then wanted to go to Gwalior on advice by amusic loving person but a mix-up of train landed him in Pune,the seat of Maharashtra culture.

Joshi was in for a disappointment in pursuit of a Guruonce again when eminent vocalist Krishnarao Phulambrikar,whom he approached for tutelage, insisted on a monthly feethat was beyond the means of the boy, whose parents by thenhad lodged a complaint with Gadag police after hisdisappearance from home. .

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