Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi was an Indian vocalist in the Hindustani classical tradition. A member of the Kirana Gharana (school), he is renowned for the khayal form of singing, as well as devotional music (bhajans and abhangs). He was the most recent recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, awarded in 2008.
In 1936, Rambhau Kundgolkar (alias Sawai Gandharva), a native of Dharwad, agreed to be his guru. Bhimsen Joshi stayed at his house in the traditional guru-shishya (teacher-student) tradition, gleaning knowledge of music from his master as and when he could, while performing odd-jobs in his house. Another renowned vocalist from the Kirana Gharana, Gangubai Hangal, was a co-student of Bhimsen during this time. Joshi continued his training with Sawai Gandharva till 1940.
Joshi first performed live in 1941 at the age 19. His debut album, containing a few devotional songs in Kannada and Hindi, was released by HMV the next year in 1942. Later Joshi moved to Mumbai in 1943 and worked as a radio artist. His performance at a concert in 1946 to celebrate his guru Sawai Gandharva's 60th birthday won him accolades both from the audience and his guru.
Hindustani classical music
Bhimsen Joshi's music has been hailed by both the critics and the masses. His performances had been said to have been marked by spontaneity, accurate notes, dizzyingly-paced taans which make use of his exceptional voice training, and a mastery over rhythm. Some of Joshi's more popular ragas include Shuddha Kalyan, Miyan Ki Todi, Puriya Dhanashri, Multani, Bhimpalas, Darbari, and Ramkali. He was considered a purist and has not dabbled in experimental forms of music, except for a well-known series of Jugalbandi recordings with the Carnatic signer M. Balamuralikrishna.
Bhimsen Joshi was widely recognized in India due to his performance in the Mile Sur Mera Tumhara music video (1985), which begins with him. The video was created for the purpose of national integration in India, and highlights the diversity of Indian culture. Bhimsen Joshi was also invited to sing for the Bharat Bala production of the Indian National Anthem music video(2000).
Joshi sang for several films, including Basant Bahar (1956) with Manna Dey, Birbal My Brother (1973) with Pandit Jasraj and kannada films like SandhyaRaaga, Nodi Swami Naavu Irodhu Heege. He also sang for the films Tansen(1958) and Ankahee(1985).
Sawai Gandharva Music Festival
Joshi organized the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival as an homage to his guru, Sawai Gandharva, along with the Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal in 1953, marking Gandharva's first death anniversary. The festival has been held ever since, typically on the second weekend of December in Pune, Maharashtra and has become not only a cultural event for the city, but an annual pilgrimage for Hindustani Classical Music lovers all over the world. Joshi conducted the festival annually since 1953, until his retirement in 2002.
He was awarded the Bharat Ratna.
Joshi taught many students, several of whom have gone onto commercial success.
Illness and death
He passed away on 24 January 2011 at 08:00 am (IST), 11 days before his 89th birthday.
M. S. Subbulakshmi
|M.S.Subbulakshmi | |[pic] | |An EMI record of Subbulakshmi | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |...