Music or any other art is necessarily evolutionary and change is an inseparable part of any
evolutionary process. However, a true artiste remains inalienably faithful to the foundation which
provides him strength and inspiration to forge ahead in his quest of excellence.
All this and more sums up the multi-splendoured contribution of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi to
the enrichment and propagation of Hindustani music. Not without reason does the maestro remain
the numero uno among today’s Hindustani vocalists.
Under the guidance of his guru SAWAI GANDHARVA, he assimilated the very
quintessence of the singing genre, known for its sweetness of tone, its relaxed freedom in the
treatment of melody and, above all, its intensely emotional content.
But evidently, Bhimsenji did not want to rest content with his Kirana gharana heritage.
Endowed as he was with an amazing susceptibility to assimilate and absorb all that is authentic, pure
and elevating in other genres of khayal music, he benefited from direct and indirect guidance from
many stalwarts of his time.
The result is the emergence of a vocalism which can well be described as “Bhimseni
gayaki”, at once personality bound and therefore inimitable, in which the significant vignettes of his
Kirana foundation remain visible.
The repertoire enshrined in this album provides resounding testimony of Bhimsenji’s
eminence as a non-pareil Hindustani vocalist.
About the Music
Raga Miyan ki Todi is a time-honoured yet perennially popular Raga.
It is designed to depict effectively the mood of sadness and pathos, accentuated by a feeling of
separation. The rage omits pancham (fifth note) from its aroha (ascent), while avaroha (descent)
takes all the notes of the octave (sampoorna).
Convention assigns its rendition to the late hours of the morning. The vadi (sonant) and
samvadi (consonant) notes are, respectively, dhaivat (sixth note) and gandhar (third note).
The melody, heard next, is Multani, known to evoke a mood of anticipation, not
unmixed with motivations of pensive melancholy. This is one of the few ragas associated with the
late-afternoon hours (between 11 and 4 O’clock). In technical structure, the raga omits rishabh
(second note) and dhaivat (sixth note) from its aroha (ascent) but takes all the notes in avaroha
(descent). Pancham (fifth note) and shadja (first note) are, respectively, the vadi (sonant) and
samvadi (consonant) notes.
The third number of the repertoire - Raga Puriya Dhanashri, is also a time-tested
melody, which is still popular with artists and listeners alike. Associated with the pre-dusk hours
(between 5.30 and 7 o’clock), Puriya Dhanashri is designed to convey a placid, somber feeling that
captures the mood of the hour.
Structurally the raga takes all the notes of the scale although their sequence is at times
oblique (vakra) in both aroha and avaroha (ascent and descent). Gandhar (third note) or pancham
(fifth note) is regarded as the vadi (sonant) note. Correspondingly, nishad (seventh note) or shadja
(first note) is taken as samvadi (consonant) note. In either case, the innate charm and appeal of the
melody remains unaffected.
It is a thumri number, set to dadra taal, which consists of 6 matras (beats), that provide a
touching finale to the fare. Thumri as a musical form, is freer than khayal and carries a lyrical and
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