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Bhimsen Joshi passes away at the age of 89!

Bhimsen Joshi, well-acclaimed classical singer of Kirana Gharana, passed away yesterday, on Jan 24th 2011, at the age of 89 years.

I first heard Bhimsen Joshi, at the IIT Mood Indigo annual celebrations ( starting at late nights extending to wee hours of early mornings) at Powai campus, Mumbai. I was about 19 years old then. I did not know much about classical music even then; but, Bhimsen’s violent gestures and body movements attracted my attention compelling me to sit through his musical ‘notes’ display. I used to enjoy the ambiance his music created for my eyes and ears!! Though, I used to wonder many a time, what is he up to?

Bhimsen’s gestures reflected, visually, everything he was doing with his voice. He sawed the air, chopped up the ground, looked like ‘flying a kite’ with his gestures, plucked ‘musical’ notes out of nowhere to root them firmly on the ground (on the stage, to be precise) and at times, bent his head so low that he touched the ground on the stage! Then, suddenly he would raise his head all at once, with mouth wide open in a painful grimace, struggling to keep pace with the march of his vocal strings. His voice was resonant, mesmerizing the student audience that swung to action with their faces, trying to emulate his gestures in admiration. Really, I cannot comment how many among the audience, knew the finesse of Bhairavi Raga and Thumri – which Bhimsen had mastered.

Bhimsen was probably the last of the Kirana Gharana and he presented the important feature of Kirana Gharana – i.e., ’emotive appeal’.


About Raman Ramamurthy

I am a Management consultant, an avid reader, play Lawn tennis in my leisure time and love Music. Presently, I am settled in India along with my wife and my son.


2 thoughts on “Bhimsen Joshi passes away at the age of 89!

  1. The “live concert” of him that is etched in my memory is the one at St. Xavier’s IMG Malhar festival. I had already sat through an entire night of concert that included Mandolin Srinivas, Ustad Shafaat Ahmad Khan on Tabla with some lady singer. I had already dozed off somewhere in between and suddenly as I groggily awoke at 4.30 am or so there was buzz everywhere. We heard that Pt Bhimsen Joshi is coming on next. And there he was with his typical Morning Raagas, and the sun rising in front of us. It was 25 years ago, and I cannot forget. Etched in my brain !


    Posted by avalok ishwar | January 27, 2011, 5:33 am
    • Pt Bhimsen Joshi, was born to be a classical singer. In the recent times, I read more about him and was amazed to know how dedicated he was in his pursuit to learn, during his youth! Sheer hard work! But he was gifted and he knew he was.


      Posted by rambuna | January 29, 2011, 11:44 am

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