Golden milestones is a collection of cassettes and CDs which is exclusive in many ways. Firstly, it is a series comprising recordings of some of the truly great artistes of the modern Hindustani classical music, both vocal and instrumental. Each one of them has the status of a milestone. Secondly, the recordings go as far back as to the 1930’s and ‘40’s, largely the 78 RPM records are being made available on CDs. The series is essentially a “heritage” series. The artistes chosen have been doyens of the classical heritage and of their respective “gharana”. The charm of the raga as well as express the most vital features of their style. There is ample evidence that all the artistes chosen in the series had developed, each in his/her own way, a brilliant technique to encapsulate in a very short space the golden peaks of vitality and exuberance of classical music.
Something must be said about the range of the artistes as well as of their raga repertoire. The series presents some of the great instrumentalists (e.g. Ustad Vilayat khan as well as Pandit Ravi Shankar), and some of the vocalists (e.g. Bade Ghulam ali khan as well as kesarbai kerkar). These are artistes of great eminence who had dedicated themselves to maintaining the purity of the inherited tradition as well as developing it further on their own. The raga repertoire of the series too is highly representative of the artistes and their “gharanas”. Listeners will find here ragas and compositions immortalized by these artistes, e.g. Mishra khamaj aalap and gat rendered by Ustad Vilayat khan, Gujari Todi and the thumri “Yaad piya ki aaye” by Ustad Bade Ghulam ali khan, Basant and the Tilang and Bhairavi Thumris by Ustad Abdul karim khan.
It is not exaggeration to say that Dr. Gangubai (Gandhari) Hangal is a living legend. Two qualities of her music stand out. She has been gifted with an exceptionally vibrant and pliable voice which allows her to express the range and subtleties of a raga with utmost ease and great impact. Secondly, her approach to the basics of music is uncompromising. She has been the doyenee of the kirana gharana, a style of khayal singing that was made widely known by the great Ustad Abdul karim khan.
Dr. Gangubai was born in Dharwad in 1913. She was initiated into music by her mother Ambabai and she took her early training under late Shri. Hulgur krishnacharya. However, it was her advanced training later under late Sawai Gandharva, a disciple of late Ustad Abdul karim khan that really shaped her mature musical artistry. The entire career of Dr. Gangubai shows remarkable journey: she began with a delicate and graceful touch but developed into a resonant and sublime vision.
Our selection of this living legend covers the entire range of Dr. Gangubai’s career and art. The graceful touch is seen in some of the early milestones pieces in Miyan malhar, Puriya and Jogia. We see the deft artistic touch gradually deepening into a more powerful musical vision as she developed an unusually robust projection of voice and a bolder style of presentation.
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