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Pandit Bhimsen Joshi: A Profile

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 00:00

Full Name: Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi

Birthday: February 4, 1922

Nationality: Indian

Birth Place: Karnataka

Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

Quick Bio: Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who holds a legendary status in Indian Classical music was born in Gadag (Karnataka) on 14 February 1922. His unique style and mastery over ragas has made him un parallel to any other vocalist in the country.

A conservative schoolmaster`s son, Bhimsen Joshi had a passion for music even from his early childhood. The little boy deeply moved by a recording of Abdul Karim Khan, the founder father of the ` Kirana gharana`, was later destined to become an accomplished jewel of the gharana. He left home in 1932 and was on the move for the next two years in search of a guru. He travelled to Bijapur, Pune, Gwalior where he tutored under Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan, the well-known sarodiya and father of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, then to Calcutta, Punjab and back home, only to goad his father into sending him to Sawai Gandharva for training.

In 1936, Joshi started his rigorous training under Sawai Gandharva (Pandit Rambhan Kundgolkar), the eminent Khyal singer student of Abdul Karim Khan at Kundgol, near Gadag. He taught him the basics of Khayal singing. The tutoring spanning several years honed his inborn talent and helped him attain his mastery over ragas.

Joshi`s rendition of `Mile Sur Tumhara’ along with other doyens of music--Balmurli Krishna and Lata Mangheskhar--that virtually became an unofficial national anthem in a humble way in 1988, and captured the hearts of millions of Indians. Louis Banks and he late P Vaidyanathan, a classically trained musician, got the right fusion of music for the song that was beamed on Doordarshan to countless homes.

Relationship Status: He married twice, the second time to Valsalabai.

Big Breaks & Achievements: 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. A recipient of several awards including the Padma Vibhushan, the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shree, Joshi has added his own distinctive style excelling in gamakar, meend and tanakriya and adapting characteristics from other gharanas to create a unique vocal idiom.

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.

Awards and accolades:
• Bharat Ratna in 2008
• Padma Vibhushan in 1999
• Karnataka Ratna in 2005
• Padma Bhushan in 1985
• Padma Shree in 1972
• The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1976
• First platinum disc in 1986
• Maharashtra Bhushan award by Govt. of Maharashtra

First Published: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 - 00:00
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