My Favorite Indian Maestros in Indian Classical Music

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    Since my specialization is Indian Classical music, I always want me to listen to different kinds of musicians or instrumentalists and their music, to enhance my classical knowledge and notes-accuracy, as I’ve been told from my own teachers that listening adds up to better singing. In fact, listening to classical music is more beneficial in singing than just practicing rigorously. The more we listen, more musical notes are grasped in our brains which leads to better perception while singing.

   My teachers always insisted me that I should listen to different classical artists but initially I neglected their advises, as I found the classical singing boring and hackneyed. I pushed myself towards listening and issued the cassettes from the audio library but they were nicely kept in my bag at home for three days when I went back to reissue them. Gradually, I understood the importance of listening by my own introspection and interests, when I started attending concerts. My teacher and PHD guide is an eminent student of Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, who is one of the greatest global classical maestro today in the music world. Thus, I accompanied my Sir in his Guru’s concerts and gradually got inclined towards listening to different maestros.
 Some of my favorite Indian Classical musician which I usually listen to:

        

Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar

One reason I like him might be that he is my teacher’s teacher and he always praised his teacher like a God. But for me,this is not the only reason. I like his gayaki because of its softness and intense maturity. There is a kind of humility in his improvisation. His way of blending the notes and phrases according to the structure of a particular raga is commendable. He personifies the ragas in its own aura without changing its original persona. The best part is, he sings skillfully and with intense ease even when he is showing a raga of particular gharana (tradition). His Gayaki sets the upper most layer of standards in classical music, yet it is worth-understanding by almost everyone. In other words, after listening ones to Guruji, you might not want to listen to some other even great maestros as this is the advanced stage music.

 

Listen to this one… Raga Yaman:  

 Pt. Kumar Gandharva
 

I have not heard Kumar Kaka much more than whatever slight I have heard on audios. But that was enough to get overwhelmed through his singing. My Guruji in Allahabad and Kumar Ji were good friends for the reason he taught me several compositions of Kumar Ji in my childhood, which  I think I understand  and perceive more now as his matured Gayaki. Dada (my Guruji) narrated many tales based on Kumar Ji’s life which included his disease, and the way he utilized his days in music when he lived in isolation due to TB. He never followed any gharana or parampara and invented his own: this fact still leaves me in the stunned state. As a child, I was fascinated by his stories and asked Dada repeatedly about him. May be that’s another reason I can identify his Gayaki more than other maestros.

His fluent and uninterrupted Tanas in almost all the compositions created by him, kind of pacify the brainy neurons and injects a tranquilizing feel into the hormones. His Gayaki is energetic, super-fast and yet soothing. Although his bandishes are not easy to follow because they are too rapid and goes out of anticipation even after listening it for an ample of times, but indeed entertaining and engaging. Even without catching or grasping, you might not wanna turn it off without letting it finish. His voice was too soft with a feminine vocalism inculcated which makes his gayaki more peculiar from others. Music exhibits full behavior and persona of the singer if sung by heart. One can easily make out Kumar Ji’s humility, perseverance, benevolence through his gayaki.

 One of my favourite bandish created by him on Lord Shiva is in Rag Shankara itself which makes me feel devoted towards shiv :
 
 
 Vidushi Ashwini Bhide
 

I have attended Ashwini Ji’s recital ample of times as she is one of my favorite female musician. Her music exhibits a deep ocean of aesthetics and peace. Her susceptible yet open voice just seems appropriate for any raga whether serious or playful. She sings with an intense comfort and thus her developed phrases too are much at ease. Her  overall improvisation  and development of a particular raga is so well-equipped and worth understanding that makes one travel in the never-ending smooth journey; she sings with full competency and frankness as if someone or even a layman can easily grasp the raga structure at least for a certain period of time. And her best part is she always recites any folk or regional stuff like kajri, chaiti after the classical performance which makes the whole recital more fascinating. All her recitals work like a fresh, peaceful and newfangled spa for me.

 

 

 Vidushi Kaushiki Chakraborty

 

Listening to Kaushiki Ji is like listening to our generation classical music or modern music; and thus her innocent and perfect vocalization motivates me to do the riyaz for more and more hours. In fact, in a concert, I raised a question too on how to practice. However, being the daughter to Ajay Ji, it’s obvious about her voice production and air throw being favorable according to the raga, as she might have received the talim under her father’s supervision. Another reason her singing fascinates me is her age. She is actually too young to vocalize minute phrases and improvisation so flawlessly which is indeed worth-appraising.  Another best part in her singing  is she improvises the raga in sargam (swaras) form for a pretty long time, be it in the form of taan, badhat, bol-baant, behlawa etc. which help understand the full persona and structure of the raga. This quality is not seen much in other elderly vocalists. She has an amazing beauty and all time smile and charm on her face adds on to her gayaki.

     ……
 

this Multani  improvisation is a mesmerizing and refreshing  piece to inculcate into our mind and body.

Pt. Shashank Matkedar
 

Shashank Ji is not pretty famous vocalist but I have heard him many times initially knowing him  as one of the great disciples of Ulhas Ji. His voice resembles Ulhas Ji but still I find a different kind of sincerity and soberness in his gayaki. His humility and serenity is depicted in his smooth and clear connotation of phrases.

 I frequently listen to his yaman and bahar to make myself more cognizant regarding his gayaki :
 

      

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