In the second half of the nineteenth century, Gwalior was accepted as the home of khayal music throughout India. Students from all over the country traveled to Gwalior to learn music and the state of Maharashtra was no exception. This magnetic quality that Gwalior possessed survived the death of the doyen of the gharana Haddu Khan, passing on to his disciples, one of whom was (Bade) Nissar Hussain Khan. One of the most successful among those who traveled from Maharashtra to Gwalior at about this time was Pandit Ramakrishna Bua Vaze.
Born in a small village in Maharashtra in 1871, Vaze Bua lost his father soon after and was brought up by his mother. He studied for only a few years in school, his passion for music overtaking his interest in studies. With his mother’s help, he spent the next few years, moving around, taking lessons in music from several teachers. He was twelve when he was summoned home to get married and take up his duties as a householder. The newly married Vaze felt it improper to depend upon his mother for financial support and decided to take off on foot, with no particular destination and only the pursuit of music on his in mind.
In stages, he reached Pune and then Bombay, surviving on the takings from impromptu street concerts. It also afforded him a rail ticket to Indore. Since all musical roads led to Gwalior, he too headed in that direction – from Indore to Ujjain to Banaras. He met his guru, Nissaar Hussain Khan here and followed him to Gwalior, imbibing music all the way.
His days in Gwalior were ones of suffering and hardship, but he remained unswerving in his devotion to music. He picked up innumerable bandishes from his own ustad with whom he spent several years, as well as many other musicians of note, thus building up a formidable repertoire. His performances were always lively and intellectually stimulating. His layakari was flawless , his taans had clarity and force and he would leave his audience spellbound. He was responsible for bringing many little known ragas to light and as a composer, his specialty was bandishes in fast tempo.
His disciples included his son, Shivrambuwa Vaze, Keshavrao Bhosle, Bapurao Pendharkar, Master Dinanath, Gururao Deshpande, Vinayakrao Patwardhan and others.
Vazebua settled in Pune in his later life and died on May 5, 1945