PANDIT BHIMSEN JOSHI Biography - Famous Poets and dancers


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Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is generally acknowledged to be the foremost living vocalist of Hindustani music. Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi was born on February 14, 1922, in the village of Gadag, in the Dharwad district of Karnataka in South India. Born to a conservative school-master, he was drawn to music from a young age, but his father insisted that he get a sound education in a respectable profession like medicine or engineering.


In 1933 when he was 11 years old, in order to further his musical education, he decided to run away; having heard that Gwalior, Lucknow and Rampur in North India were the best places to learn classical music, his first destination was Gwalior. After he had spent a few years in Gwalior, Lucknow, and Rampur, his father relented and had him brought back, to begin the major part of his musical education in the nearby town of Kundgol, under Rambhau Kundgolkar, better known as Sawai Gandharva.


Sawai Gandharva was the chief disciple of Abdul Karim Khan, who along with his cousin Abdul Waheed Khan was the founder of the Kirana Gharana school of Hindustani music. Bhimsen Joshi stayed with Sawai Gandharva between 1936 and 1940, absorbing as much as possible. At the end of that period, he parted ways with his guru and set out on his own with a strict regimen of sixteen hours of riyaz (practice) per day.


Bhimsen Joshi gave his first concert when he was 19. At age 20 he made his first recording, a few light classical songs in Kannada and Hindi, and a few years later made his first classical recording. Within a few years of this he had become known as ‘the flying musician of India’, because he often took two flights a day to get to all his concerts.


Bhimsen Joshi has received numerous awards for his singing, notably the Padma Shree in 1972, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1976, and the Padma Bhushan in 1985. He also earned his first platinum disc in 1986.


While Bhimsen Joshi is, like all modern Hindustani classical vocalists, a khyal singer, he also spent a year in Lucknow in the 1940s learning from the great thumri masters of the time. In fact, he has said that singing a thumri well is much harder than performing a khyal.


With his knowledge of Hindustani Music and being originally from South India, it gave Bhimsen Joshi, unique opportunity to sing some of the songs sung in Carnatic Music ( popular in South India ) in Hindustani Style. Some of the songs became so popular with Bhimsen Joshi’s version, that the original Carnatic version sounds strange for the younger generation.