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ITC SRA News - April 2017

Doyen of Hindustani Classical Music, Gaan Saraswati Kishori Amonkar passes away.

Kishori Amonkar, the legendary Hindustani classical vocalist, passed away in Mumbai on the 3rd of April, 2017, Monday night after a brief illness. She was 84.

Born in Bombay on April 10, 1932, Amonkar was recognised as one of the foremost singers in the Hindustani tradition and as an innovative exponent of the Jaipur gharana.

Amonkar’s mother was the well-known vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar, who trained under Alladiya Khan, the doyen of the Jaipur gharana.

In the early 1940s, young Kishori began to receive vocal lessons inHindustani classical music from Anjanibai Malpekar (of the Bhendi Bazar Gharana) and later received training from tutors of several gharanas. Her tutors included Anwar Hussain Khan (Agra Gharana), Anjanibai Malpekar(Bhendi Bazar gharana), Sharadchandra Arolkar (Gwalior Gharana) and Balkrishnabuwa Parwatkar.

 While learning the finer points and techniques of the Jaipur gharana from her mother, Amonkar also developed her own personal style, which reflects the influence of other gharanas and was generally regarded as an individual variant of the Jaipur tradition.

Amonkar cultivated a deep understanding of her art, largely through extensive study of the ancient texts on music, and her repertoire was grand in its sweep.

She was known primarily for her skillful singing of classical khayal songs set in the traditional ragas of Hindustani music, but also performed the lighter classical thumri repertoire, bhajan and devotional songs.

Regardless of musical genre, her performances were marked by vitality and grace. She aimed to infuse the emotional appeal of the more popular styles into the comparatively rigid classical tradition.

Besides being a renowned musician, Amonkar was a popular speaker and travelled throughout India giving lectures, most notably on the theory of rasa (feelings, emotions) in music.

In recognition of her contribution to the arts, she received many awards, including the Padma Bhushan (1987) and Padma Vibhushan (2002), two of India’s top civilian honours.

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