The Flute (bansuri) is one of the oldest musical instruments of India. It is mentioned in the Vedas and depicted in 2,000-year-old Buddhist art; one Sanskrit verse even credits the bansuri as the source of swara-gyana - the knowledge of music. The favourite instrument of shepherds and folk musicians for thousands of years, it was brought into the fold of Hindustani classical music only relatively recently, by the legendary Pandit Pannalal Ghosh.
Previously the bamboo flute of North India had been a high-pitched instrument usually no more than 14 inches long, used mostly for short classical pieces, light music or accompaniment. The contemporary bansuri is a trasverse alto flute made of a single length of bamboo. It has a blowing hole at one end and six or seven open holes, which produce different notes when opened or shut. For this, the flat portions of the fingers are used, which gives the control needed for playing ‘half-hole’ (komal swar). The shruti-s (fine pitch differences), gamaka-s (ornamentations) as well as meend-s are obtained by complicated fingering techniques, adjustments of the pressure of blowing and slight changes in the angle of the flute on the lip. All such manipulations are possible only with the horizontal flute.
PANDIT HARIPRASAD CHAURASIA
The bamboo flute legend Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, known internationally as the greatest living master of the bansuri, is a maestro who has given to the world of classical music a treasure house of the finest in Hindustani music. Hariprasad Chaurasia is among a few but growing classicists who have made a conscious effort to reach out and expand the audience for classical music.
The legend was born in Allahabad in 1938 into a non-musical family. His father was a wrestler.
His mother died when he was very young. He had to learn music almost in secret, scared of the father who wanted him to become a wrestler. First he started learning vocal music from Pandit Rajaram at the age of 15. Later, he switched to playing the flute under the tutelage of Pandit Bholanath of Varanasi. Music later, while working for All India Radio, he received guidance from Smt. Annapurna Devi, daughter of Baba Allaudin Khan.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is a rare combination of innovator and traditionalist. He has significantly expanded the expressive possibilities of North Indian classical flute through his masterful blowing technique.
Apart from classical music, he has made a mark as a music director along with santoor legend Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma as together they have composed scores for various Hindi films under the banner ‘Shiv-Hari’.
Besides the Padma Vibhushan the great Indian master of the North Indian bamboo flute has won a number of prestigious awards including the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1984 and the Padma Bhushan in 1992.
Hari Ji is known for his contributions to the popularization of Indian classical music abroad and has brought new techniques to the bansuri, elevating it to a new level as a concert instrument and experimenting with fusion music. He has established himself as a living legend of the bansuri, with his name Hari - another name for Krishna, meaning the Lord of the flute, befitting him. His music has the amazing quality of being haunting, melodic, playful, flirtatious, mesmerizing. Evocative and spiritual, all at the same time. Thus, his name is synonymous with the instrument, flute the special album brings out the magical music of the legend, who is truly the ‘Last Word’ in flute.
‘The Last Word’ is an exclusive series of 6 CDs, which signify ‘6 unparalleled names in the field of Classical music.’ This series presents 6 stalwarts whose names are synonymous with the respective instruments they play or they are known as the ultimate names in their respective arena of vocal music. Each album showcases & salutes the magnitude of musical treasure of the grandest maestros of Indian classical music, by presenting them in all their splendour. Each of these musical greats has done more than just create sublime music. They have created history with every stroke on their instrument, with every chord in their voice. Every album in this series brings out some melodic marvels of the most popular and celebrated classical stalwarts from India’s musical treasure.
This album features Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, who is undoubtedly the ‘Last Word’ in Flute.
|1. Raga Brindabani Sarang||30:35|
|2. Raga Madhuvanti||15:05|
|3. Raga Manjh Khammaj||14:50|