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Veejay Sai is a well-known award-winning writer, editor and a culture critic. He has written and published extensively on Indian classical music, theatre, food, travel, fashion and performing arts. He loves traveling and researching literary and cultural history. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Sai is Indian classical music/dance critic and
Who would have imagined that a remote little village in Madhya Pradesh would become one of the most important kshetras for learning , growth and development of Hindustani classical music, amid all the chaos India was going through in the earlier part of the 20th century. Like one has the divine trinity of composers in carnatic classical music, there arent any such in the Hindustani classical tradition. But if there was one, Acharya Allauddin khan saab of Maihar certainly deserves to be right up the pantheon as one of 20th centurys greatest musicians. Each and every student of his became a legend in their own life time. The most popular ones being Pandit Ravi Shankar (sitar), his son Ustad Ali akbar khan (sarod), Pandit Pannalal ghosh (flute) , his daughter Annapoorna devi (sitar and surbahaar), Pandit Nikhil bannerjee (sitar), V.G.Jog (violin), Timir Baran and many other noted musicians. The acharya was the court musician of Maihar and under his aegis the very style of music metamorphosized into something completely different from where it began in the 19th century. It is this growth that he is credited with and hence referred to as not just the grand old patron of the gharana but even as its founder. His musician children and erudite students along with their contemporaries christened the Maihar-senia gharana in memory of their guru and continue to use that as a reference point for their musical versatility. After taking training from several gurus, the acharya, finally settled down with Ustad Wazir Khan saab, the legendary beenkar from the Rampur gharana and imbibed his style of music. Over his long life, the Acharya demonstrated his musical expertise in every possible form of Hindustani music. He had mastery over 35 musical instruments and had established the famous Maihar band and trained hundreds of poor students. The descendants of this particular gharana have excelled in every possible Indian classical instrument and vocal music, unlike no other gharana. Coming from this parampara are Pandit Nityanand Haldipur and Pandit Basant Kabra, both students of Guru maa Annapoorna devi, the reclusive daughter of the Acharya.
Pandit Nityanand Haldipur got his initial training from his father Pandit Niranjan Haldipur who was the direct disciple of Pandit Pannalal ghosh. Later he trained under Pandit Chidanand Nagarkar and Pandit Devendra Murdeshwar before he became a student of Guru maa annapoorna devi. Having such great gurus, his style of music stuck strongly to what his guru maa tutored him in. Being aalaap-pradhan in its temperament and hence very close to vocal music, it is far different from what his contemporary Pandit Hariprasad chaurasia plays. Meditative and contemplative , Haldipurs music comes as breath of fresh air in times when fusion music has hijacked most of the concert spaces even within the classical music scenario. A recipient of many awards, he won the prestigious Sangeet natak akademi award in 2010.
Pandit Basant Kabra, one of the lesser-known and underrated artists of our times took his initial training from his father Pandit damodarlal Kabra who was the first disciple of Ustad Ali akbar khan, when the Ustad came to the erstwhile Marwar state as its court musician. Pandit Kabras uncle is the legendary guitarist Brijbhushan Kabra, the first Hindustani classical guitarist who became popular with Call of the Valley -the music album that sold out in millions. Basant kabra joined Guru maa annapoorna devi as her student. Maihar school of learning has had several legendary sarod players and each one had a distinctive style of performing. What Pandit Basant Kabra plays is far different from what Ali akbar khan played or what Pandit Rajeev Taranath plays. Having influences of dhrupad-gayaki and frequent usage of the meend technique enhances the melody of Pandit Kabras style of sarod.
To promote the artists of the Maihar-Senia gharana and to give music lovers the teachings of their gurus, the Maihar music lineage was set up as an organization. This concert series is on a four-city tour across the country. The first concert was held in Mumbai and the second in Kolkata. The third one is on the 11th of March at the Chowdiah hall in Bangalore, followed by the last one at the Kamani auditorium in Delhi on the 18th of March. The tickets for this concert are priced at a mere hundred rupees and are available at the venues and on indianstage.com. So get your act together and enjoy a magical musical weekend, with love from the Maihar gharana.
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