Pandit Bhimsen Joshi: a veteran of 'khayal'

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Mumbai, Nov 5 (UNI) Legendary Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who was chosen for the country's highest civilian award 'Bharat Ratna', is particularly renowned for the 'khayal' form of singing and for his bhajans.

Pandit Joshi was born on February four, 1922, in a Kannadiga family in Gadag district of Karnataka. His father was a conservative school-master.

Until the first half of the 20th century, 'khayal' was principally taught in the Guru Shishya (master-disciple) tradition.

Panditji guru Sawai Gandharva was the chief disciple of Abdul Karim Khan, who along with his cousin Abdul Waheed Khan, was the founder of the Kirana Gharana school of Hindustani music.

In 1933, the 11-year-old Bhimsen left his home on his own to learn singing through the Guru-Shishya tradition. He spent three years in Gwalior, Lucknow and Rampur in North India trying to find a good teacher. His father succeeded in tracking him down and brought young Bhimsen back home.

In 1936, Rambhau Kundgolkar (a native of Dharwad district, Karnataka), popularly known as Sawai Gandharva, agreed to be his guru. Bhimsen stayed with him from 1936 to 1940. He then left his guru and set out on his own.

Bhimsen Joshi first performed live at the age 19. His debut album, containing a few devotional songs in Kannada and Hindi, was released when he was 20.

He has started an annual classical musical festival called the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival in the memory of his guru. This festival is held in Pune every December.

His son Srinivas is also a vocalist and a composer.

The veteran vocalist received Bharat Ratna Karnataka Ratna (2005), Maharashtra Bhushan (2002), Padma Vibhushan (1999), First platinum disc (1986), Padma Bhushan (1985), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in (1976) and Padma Shree in (1972).

His songs for the deity of Pandharpur Vithal are also famous.


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