Veterans And Youngsters Will Have A Field Day
(A curtain-raiser on the Sur Singar Sansad music festival of 1959)
By MOHAN D. NADKARNI writing as LALITMOHAN DUTTA
The Bombay Sentinel, February 24, 1959
SIXTY-YEAR-OLD Omkarnath Thakur is undoubtedly a musical personage of dynamic character. A disciple of that great evangelist of Hindustani music, the late pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, Omkarnath looks upon music as a great heritage of human spirit and he has devoted his life to its appreciation and creation.
He has a style that is marked by a distinctive note of individualism. His manly and powerful voice with a wide tonal range happily accords with the dignity of his renderings.
Omkarnath Thakur has extensively toured Western countries. The President of India recently honoured him with the award of Padma Shri.
Kesarbai Kerkar, who is also in her sixties, ranks among the most eminent vocalists of the country. She has a spacious voice, and she renders her khayals with great felicity. Kesarbai has an immaculate sense of design and the architectonics of a master builder. She delineates her themes without having recourse to embellishment and impressionism, and that speaks of her versatility.
This famed pupil of Alladiya Khan was the recipient of the President’s Award for Music in 1953.
Bade Gulam Ali
A pupil of the great Fateh Ali Khan of Patiala, Bade Gulam Ali Khan, who is now 56, presents in his music a rich variety of both classical and light vocal forms that have a tremendous popular appeal.
One finds in his voice a happy mingling of two musical streams of the Punjab, and he has admirably adapted it to render khayal, thumri and ghazal with uncanny skill.
His style of singing has both depth and range and it represents the quintessence of the Patiala and Kairana traditions of music.
Amir Khan, now in his forties, is a leading exponent of the Merukhand tradition of music. He, however, presents in his melodies a unique blend of different traditions, including those of Patiala and Kairana. His rendering of khayals is distinguished by a vigorous style, enriched by detailed raga elaboration.
Quiet and unassuming, the music of Amir Khan indeed reflects his towering and handsome personality.
Master Krishna Rao
Popularity known as Master Krishnarao, Krishna Rao Phulambrikar, who is now over 60, received his musical training from Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale, a leading vocalist of the older generation. He was also associated with Bal Gandharva, the famed stage actor of Maharashtra, for a number of years. A classicist by tradition, Master Krishna Rao has also made his mark as a composer and music director of great repute.
Rasoolan And Siddheshwari
Rasoolan is one of the best known exponents of the Purab type of thumari. Possessing a style that has both imagination and mastery of technique in it, she renders her melodies with deep feeling. Besides thumari, Rasoolanbai sings tappa and dadra with rare charm. She has a wide repertoire of folk varieties. Rasoolanbai is 60 years old and she hails from Benares. She is the recipient of the President’s Award for Music.
Siddheshwaribai, who also comes from Benares, is a vocalist brought up in the best traditions of thumari singing. She learnt her art from such masters as Bade Ramdasji and Siyaji Maharaj. Her voice has a plenty of volume and she sings her thumari in the Purbi style with remarkable poise and depth.
Thirty-six-year old Bhimsen Joshi has made his mark as a distinguished representative of the Kairana tradition. He studied music under Sawai Gandharva, the most renowned pupil of Abdul Karim Khan. A noted khayal singer Bhimsen Joshi is equally at ease in the valambit and drut varieties. He elaborates his melody in great detail. He is famed for the poise and variety of his musical phrases and for his immaculate taans.
Latafat Hussain Khan is a popular vocalist of the Agra tradition. A near relation of the great maestro, Faiyaz Khan, he has also received guidance from his brother, Khadim Hussain Khan and veteran Vilayat Hussain Khan. He has a luxuriant voice and he interprets his melodies in the manner of his ‘gharana’ (tradition).
Chidanand Nagarkar, who is 39, studied music under Pandit S.N.Ratanjankar, the noted musicologist. Adept in all the well-known classical modes of expression, Nagarkar is an artiste with a fine sense for the spectacular. His style has been largely influenced by Faiyaz Khan.
Girija Devi, who hails from Benares, is a pupil of Shrichandra Misra. One of the most popular among the younger musicians of today, her forte is khayal. She has also specialized in thumari, kajri and ither folk varieties.
Thirty-one-year-old Hafiz Ahmed Khan is a gifted vocalist from Kanpur. A pupil of Nisar Husain Khan, Hafiz sings with equal ease anything ranging from classical and semi-classical varieties like khayal, tappa and thumari to light musical forms like ghazal and geet. He is at present associated with A.I.R. Bombay as Assistant Producer of Music.
Kishori Amonkar, who was born in 1931, hails from a family of talented musicians. She learnt her music from her mother, Moghubai Kurdikar, herself a top vocalist and a pupil of Alladiya Khan. Although a classicist by training, Kishori Amonkar is equally at home with khayal, thumari and lighter varieties of singing.