The legendary shehnai maestro, Ustad Bismillah Khan's association with Benaras can be compared to the city's association with the holy river Ganga. His music truly represents the beauty, purity & piety of Benaras and its culture. He is synonymous with the word 'shehnai' as well as with the city. He has brought out the shehnai from the confines of wedding halls, and single-handedly elevated this oldest Indian instrument to a new level by popularizing it as one of the strongest classical instruments.
'Bismillah of Benaras' is a tribute to this unforgettable legend who was a part of a golden era and has left his touch of gold in all times to come. It is a sincere attempt to re-create the magic of Benaras through his music as it presents the collection of ragas & dhun-s popularized world-wide by the legend.
About Benaras and its magic of music
Music is deeply etched in the history of Benaras. However, its origin has not been defined. According to the Hindu mythology, it has always been considered the capital city of all learning and the Purana's have vivid descriptions of Apsara-s, Gandharava-s and Kinnar-s, who lived, played music and danced in this Holy city.
Kalidas wrote his poems here. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu introduced Kirtan-s (hymns and carols) in Kashi and Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya brought 'Haveli Sanger' to the Vaishnava temple of Benaras of Varanasi. During the 16th century, Dhrupad was the royal music of the city and it is still considered the speciality of Benaras along with Dhamar, Hori and Chaturang. There are still many gharana-s and legacies of music that are famous in the city and have been following the tradition of their style of music for generations.
Moijuddin khan is known as the musician phenomenon of Banarasi Thumri. Other famous forms developed in this musical city are- Dabra, Chaiti, Hori, Bhairavi, Kajri, Tarana, Ghato, Tirwat, Sadra, Khamsa, Lavani, Chaturang, Sargam, Raagmala, Kirtan, Qawwali, Kathagayan & Bhajan. Banaras has a very rich store of folk music like Bedesia, Pitma, Lachri, Badhaiya, Fauwara, Gauri, Ghori, Nahchu, Alha, Sohar, Chandini, Nirwahi, Lachchan, Barahmasa, Maand & Sawani among others.
The holy city of Benaras has given birth to a galaxy of great musicians such as Pandit Ram Sahai- the tabla player who developed his own style known as 'Banaras Baaz', tabla legend Pandit Kishan Maharaj, sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, the great sitar legend late Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan, world famous singer Pandit Chhannulal Mishra & internationally-famous shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan among others, who in their own unique way gave this city a place of pride in the country.
Ustad Bismillah Khan's association with Benaras can be compared to the city's association with the holy river Ganga. Born on 21 March 1916, he was trained under his uncle, the late Ali Bux 'Vilayatu', a shehnai player attached to Varanasi's Vishwanath Temple. An extremely promising student of the shehnai, the young Bismillah mastered a variety of forms of classical music such as thumri, chaiti and kajri, Later, after an in- depth study of Khayal gayaki, he incorporated it in his instrument. While he is perfect in raagdaari, he is equally superb in the rendering of light classical forms. His devotional tunes played on the shehnai, particularly his rendition of the 'Ram Dhun' and the bhajan 'Vaishnava Jana', are hugely popular. He has brought out the shehnai from the confines of wedding halls, and single-handedly elevated this oldest Indian instrument to a new levely by popularizing it as one of the strongest classical instruments.
Ustad Bismillah Khan who has already been awarded the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan, and the Padma Vibhushan, has also been honoured with the highest civilian award- the 'Bharat Ratna'.
1. Raga Durga - 26:24
2. Bhatiyali - 16:19
3. Raga Pilu - 10:54
4. Chaiti in Raga Khamaj - 05:54
5. Dhun - 06:08