Indian Music

Indian Music has a very long, unbroken tradition and is an accumulated heritage of centuries.  It is believed that sage Narada introduced the art of music to the Earth.  The origin can be traced back to Vedic days, nearly two thousand years ago.  Organised indian music owes its origin to the Samaveda.

The Gupta period is considered as the golden era in the development of Indian music.  All the music treatises like Natya Shastra and Brihaddeshi were written during this period.  One of the influences of Indian music has perhaps been that of the Persian music, which brought in a changed perspective in the style of the Northern Indian music.  It is then that the two schools of music resulted, the Hindustani (North Indian music) and the Carnatic (South Indian music).

The Indian music includes multiple varieties of folk, bhajans, ghazals, qawwalis, bhangra, pop, film songs, remix songs and fusion.

Some of the legends in Hindustani and Carnatic musics are :

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan

A distinguished maestro in the field of playing Sarod, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is popularly known as the “Sarod Samrat”. This innovative genius has composed many ragas of his own like Kiran Ranjani, Haripriya Kanada, Shivanjali, Shyam Shri, Suhag Bhairav, Lalit Dhwani, Amiri Todi, Jawahar Manjari and Bapukauns. He has also given performances in Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Kennedy Center, House of Commons, Singapore, Mozart Hall in Frankfurt, Chicago Symphony Center, St. James Palace and the Opera House in Australia.

The talented musician has received Honorary Citizenship to the States of Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Atlanta.

Amjad Ali Khan is the first north Indian artist to have performed in honor of Saint Thyagaraja at the Thiruvaiyur shrine. He has also been a recipient of many awards like Padmashree Award, Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Tansen Award, UNESCO Award, UNICEF National Ambassadorship, Padma Bhushan, International Music Forum Award, etc.

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

He blended the best of the four traditions of music: Patiala that was own, the elements of Dhrupad, the delicacy of Jaipur and the embellishments of Gwalior. Bade Ghulam Ali looked beyond the “Bol-banav” tradition of Thumri. He wanted to break the age old tradition and wanted to play with the notes with greater abandon and less restraint. This kind of Thumri is now well established by the efforts of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

The career span of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was relatively short. He made his mark in Calcutta in the year 1938 and All India Music Conference in Bombay in the year 1944. He was titled the Master in every field of music that he explored.

Dr. Balamuralikrishna

One of the most famous names associated with Classical Carnatic Music is that of Dr. Balamuralikrishna. This legendary musician and Padmabhushan awardee is an able composer, singer, poet and instrumentalist who can sing perfectly in three octaves. He was named Murali Krishna by his father. The prefix Bala was given by a Hari Katha performer Musunuri Satyanarayana and thereafter he came to be known as Balamuralikrishna.

In India, he is the only musician who has won National Awards for classical music, music direction as well as film playback singing.

Dr. Balamurali Krishna has immensely contributed to the world of Carnatic music. He composed a detailed work known as Raganga Ravali on 72 Melakarta (basic scales of Carnatic music). All this at the mere age of 14!

Balamurali Krishna also has over 400 compositions in different music scales that are widely accepted by music lovers and critics alike. He has also created many new ragas Like Mahati, Sumukham, Trisakthi, Sarvashri, Omkari, Janasamodini, Manorama, Rohini, Vallabhi, Lavangi, Pratimadhyamavathi, Sushama, etc.

Bhimsen Joshi

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is the descendant of Kirana stream of Hindustani classical music. He is famous for the “Khayal”, a form of Hindustani classical. Bhimsen Joshi has perfected not just the Khayal interpretations but has also sung Bhajans in Hindi and Marathi. His bhajans are widely heard by not just ardent music lovers but people all over.

This versatile singer has also recorded Kannada Dasa Krithis in Dasavani, which are usually sung by Carnatic musicians. He has also been presented the Padma Shree in 1972, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1985. Perhaps some of his best performances have been at Savai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav, which is held in Pune annually.

His most memorable performance that is remembered till date is of course the national integration song “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara”.

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Ustad Bismillah Khan was undoubtedly a gem that India is proud of. This Shehnai maestro of India was a Bharat Ratna awardee and has been awarded all the top four civilian awards namely Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan along with the Bharat Ratna. He fully takes the credit for making the shehnai one of the most famous classical music instruments. His concert in All India Music Conference (1937) in Calcutta brought shehnai into limelight and was hugely appreciated by music lovers.

Bismillah Khan had the rare honor of playing his shehnai on the eve of India’s independence in the year 1947. He performed at the Red Fort in Delhi and since that year he has always played on 15th August right after the Prime Minister gave his speech.  He has performed in Afghanistan, USA, Canada, Bangladesh, Europe, Iran, Iraq, West Africa, Japan and Hong Kong.

M.S Subbulakshmi

M.S Subbulakshmi is a name that is synonymous with the world of Carnatic music. This flawless singer whose voice had a divine power is the first singer in India to be presented with the Bharat Ratna, the highest award given to any civilian.

She released her first album at the mere age of 10!

M.S gave her first public performance at Kumbakonam during Mahamaham festival. The versatile singer sang all famous Meera bhajans in her melodious voice and these bhajans are enjoyed by people even today. M S Subbulakshmi has performed in London (Royal Albert Hall), New York (Carnegie Hall), Canada, Far East, Moscow,

Some of her most famous works include Suprabhatam (Early Morning Hymns), Bhajagovindam (composed by Adi Shankaracharya praising Lord Krishna), Kurai Onrum Illai (composed by Rajagopalachari), Vishnu Sahasranamam (1000 names of Lord Vishnu), Hanuman Chalisa (Prayers to Lord Hanuman), etc. Another moving composition is the song Vaishnava Janato that can bring tears to anybody.

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