Bharat Ratna – Bhimsen Joshi

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 Bharat Ratna – Bhimsen Joshi
Background information
Birth name Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi
Born February 4, 1922(1922-02-04)
Gadag, Karnataka
Died January 24, 2011(2011-01-24) (aged 88)
Pune, Maharashtra
Genres Hindustani classical music
Occupations singer
Years active 1941–2011
Website Signature of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi.svg
Signature of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi

Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi (Kannada: ಪಂಡಿತ ಭೀಮಸೇನ ಗುರುರಾಜ ಜೋಷಿ,About this sound pronunciation (help·info)); February 4, 1922 – January 24, 2011) was an Indian vocalist in the Hindustani classical tradition. A member of the Kirana Gharana (school), he is renowned for the khayal form of singing, as well as for his popular renditions of devotional music (bhajans and abhangs). He was the most recent recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, awarded in 2008.[1]

Contents

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[edit] Early life

Joshi was born into a Kannadiga family in the town of Ron which was then in Gadag District in northern Karnataka state of India.[2][3] His father, Gururaj Joshi, was a school teacher. Bhimsen was the eldest in a family of 16 siblings. Some of the siblings still live in their ancestral home in Gadag.[4] Bhimsen lost his mother when he was young, and his step mother then raised him. His parents lived initially with his grandfather as tenants of a Kulkarni household, but then moved to Gadag District.

As a child, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s craving for music was evident to his family as he managed to lay his hands on a ‘tanpura‘ used by his ‘Kirtankar’ grandfather, which had been kept away from his gaze at home. Music had such a magnetic pull over him that a ‘bhajan singing’ procession or just ‘azaan’ from a nearby mosque was said to draw him out of house.[5]

[edit] Musical training

Until the first half of the 20th century, khyal was principally taught in the Guru Shishya (master-disciple) tradition. Bhimsen’s guru Sawai Gandharva was the chief disciple of Abdul Karim Khan, who along with his cousin Abdul Wahid Khan was the founder of the Kirana Gharana school of Hindustani music.

[edit] Search for a guru

Joshi heard a recording of Abdul Karim Khan‘s Thumri “Piya Bin Nahi Aavat Chain” in Raga Jhinjhoti when he was a child, which inspired him to become a musician. In 1933, the 11-year-old Joshi left Dharwad for Bijapur to find a master and learn music.[3] With the help of money lent by his co-passengers in the train Bhimsen reached Dharwad first and later went to Pune. Later he moved to Gwalior and got into Madhava Music School, a school run by Maharajas of Gwalior, with the help of famous sarod player Hafiz Ali Khan. He traveled for three years around North India, including in Delhi, Kolkata, Gwalior, Lucknow and Rampur, trying to find a good guru.[6] Eventually, his father succeeded in tracking him down in Jalandar and brought young Bhimsen back home.

[edit] Sawai Gandharva

In 1936, Rambhau Kundgolkar (alias Sawai Gandharva), a native of Dharwad, agreed to be his guru. Bhimsen Joshi stayed at his house in the traditional guru-shishya (teacher-student) tradition, gleaning knowledge of music from his master as and when he could, while performing odd-jobs in his house. Another renowned vocalist from the Kirana Gharana, Gangubai Hangal, was a co-student of Bhimsen during this time. Joshi continued his training with Sawai Gandharva till 1940.

[edit] Career

Joshi first performed live in 1941 at the age 19. His debut album, containing a few devotional songs in Kannada and Hindi, was released by HMV the next year in 1942. Later Joshi moved to Mumbai in 1943 and worked as a radio artist. His performance at a concert in 1946 to celebrate his guru Sawai Gandharva‘s 60th birthday won him accolades both from the audience and his guru.[7]

[edit] Hindustani classical music

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Bhimsen Joshi’s music was hailed by both the critics and the masses. His performances were said to have been marked by spontaneity, accurate notes, dizzyingly-paced taans which make use of his exceptional voice training, and a mastery over rhythm. The Hindu, in an article written after he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, said: Bhimsen Joshi was ever the wanderer, engendering brilliant phrases and tans more intuitively than through deliberation.[8] Joshi occasionally employed the use of sargam and tihaais, and often sang traditional compositions of the Kirana gharana. His music often injected surprising and sudden turns of phrase, for example through the unexpected use of boltaans. Over the years, his repertoire tended to favor a relatively small number of complex and serious ragas; however, he remained one of the most prolific exponents of Hindustani classical music. Some of Joshi’s more popular ragas include Shuddha Kalyan, Miyan Ki Todi, Puriya Dhanashri, Multani, Bhimpalasi, Darbari, and Ramkali. He was considered a purist and has not dabbled in experimental forms of music, except for a well-known series of Jugalbandi recordings with the Carnatic signer M. Balamuralikrishna.

Apart from stalwarts of the Kirana Gharana, Bhimsen Joshi’s singing was thought to have been influenced by many musicians, including Smt. Kesarbai Kerkar, Begum Akhtar and Ustad Amir Khan. Joshi assimilated into his own singing various elements that he liked in different musical styles and Gharanas.

[edit] Devotional music

In devotional music, Joshi was most acclaimed for his Kannada, Hindi and Marathi Bhajan singing. His commercially successful CDs Daaswani and Enna Paliso included Kannada Bhajans, and Santawani included Marathi Abhangs.

[edit] Patriotic music

Bhimsen Joshi was widely recognized in India due to his performance in the Mile Sur Mera Tumhara music video (1985), which begins with him. The video was created for the purpose of national integration in India, and highlights the diversity of Indian culture. Bhimsen Joshi was also a part of Jana Gana Mana produced by A. R. Rahman on the occasion of 50th year of Indian Republic.

[edit] Playback singing

Joshi sang for several films, including “Basant Bahar” (1956) with Manna Dey, Birbal My Brother (1973) with Pandit Jasraj, and Kannada films like Sandhya Raaga and Nodi Swami Naavu Irodhu Heege. He also sang for the films Tansen (1958) and Ankahee (1985).[9]

[edit] Sawai Gandharva Music Festival

Joshi organized the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival as an homage to his guru, Sawai Gandharva, along with the Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal in 1953, marking Gandharva’s first death anniversary. The festival has been held ever since, typically on the second weekend of December in Pune, Maharashtra and has become not only a cultural event for the city, but an annual pilgrimage for Hindustani Classical Music lovers all over the world. Joshi conducted the festival annually since 1953, until his retirement in 2002.

[edit] Students

Joshi taught many students, several of whom have gone onto commercial success.

[edit] Legacy

Bhimsen Joshi was known for his powerful voice, amazing breath control, fine musical sensibility and unwavering grasp of the fundamentals, representing a subtle fusion of intelligence and passion that imparted life and excitement to his music.[5] A classicist by training, and temperament, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was renowned for having evolved an approach that sought to achieve a balance between what may be termed as “traditional values and mass-culture tastes” and as such he went on to have supposedly the largest commercially recorded repertoire in Hindustani vocal music. Pt. Joshi’s iconic status in the music world has earned him a whole generation of suni shagirds who by merely listening to him have picked up his style and not through any formal tutelage. His greatest endeavour in perpetuating his legacy could be the Sawai Gandharva Festival held at Pune. annually since the year 1953 which seeks to promote a certain music culture. [5]

[edit] Personal life

Bhimsen Joshi was well known to have a passion for cars. He was known to be an expert swimmer, a keen enthusiast of yoga and a football player in his younger days. He had acknowledged his weakness for alcohol but left it in 1979 after it started affecting his career.[5]

[edit] Illness and death

Joshi was admitted to Sahyadri Super Speciality Hospital on December 31, 2010 with gastrointestinal bleeding and bilateral pneumonia. Due to difficulty in breathing, he was put on ventilator support. He suffered convulsions and was put on dialysis too during his stay in hospital. Though he recovered briefly for three days when he was taken off the ventilator, his condition deteriorated thereafter. He died on 24 January 2011 at 08:00 am (IST), 11 days before his 89th birthday.[10] He was cremated at Vaikunth Crematorium in Pune with full state honors.[11]

[edit] Awards and recognitions

About dhavalrajgeera

Physician who is providing free service to the needy since 1971. Rajendra M. Trivedi, M.D. who is Yoga East Medical Advisor www.yogaeast.net/index.htm http://www.yogaeast.net/index.htm Graduated in 1968 from B. J. Medical College, Amadavad, India. Post Graduate training in Neurological Surgery from Charles University in Czechoslovakia. 1969 - 71. and received Czechoslovakian Government Scholarship. Completed training at the Cambridge Hospital and Harvard University in Psychiatry. Rajendra M. trivedi is an Attending Psychiatrist at Baldpate Hospital. He is the Medical Director of CCA and Pain Center in Stoneham, MA where he has been serving the community since 1971 as a Physician. OTHER AFFILIATIONS: Lifer of APA - American Psychiatrist Association Senior Physician and Volunteer with Massachusetts Medical Society and a Deligate of the Middlesex District. www.massmed.org Patron member of AAPI - American Association of PHYSICIANS OF INDIA. LIFE MEMBER OF IMANE - Indian Medical Association of New England. Member of the Board of Advisors "SAHELI, Boston,MA. www.saheliboston.org/About1/A_Board Dr. Trivedi is working closely with the Perkin's School for the Blind. www.perkins.org. Dr. Trivedi is a Life member and Honorary Volunteer for the Fund Raising Contact for North America of BPA - Blind People Association of Amadavad, India. www.bpaindia.org Dr.Trivedi is the Medical Advisor for Yoga East since 1993. He is a Physician who started Health Screening and Consultation At Shri Dwarkami Clinic in Billerica, MA. https://www.dwarkamai.com/health-and-wellness

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