As a reader and a passionate music lover and singer, I am always intrigued by gharana style of singing. What a rich legacy they have…!! Everyone envies Pandit Ravi Shankar and Annapurna Devi , their marriage, the legacy of Baba Allauddin Khan, and such illustrious lives makes one in awe of such genius at display.
We all know it takes years and lifetimes to master a musical instrument let alone carry on shoulders a tradition of a musical lineage with as deftness and precious as it takes like a sensitive note in a Gambheer Alaap. It’s always curious that what went thru to get such a training, performance and teaching of a unique style of Music. How much personal sacrifices one much go through.
I happen to read her one and only biography called “ Annapurna Devi: An Unheard Melody” by Swapan Kumar Bondopadhyay, only authorized biography as they say. That book left me in a silence where which is melancholic and powerful at the same time. It didn’t speak volumes about her as great person… a great musician and one and only surbahar player in India. It speaks about Annapurna as a person.. a great humility she learned thru music and her father.
It speaks about her as human being, ardent wife, devoted mother, strict disciplinarian teacher, a rare individual who achieved forgiving nature through music. For an outside world, she is different, weird kind of person who shuns the public appearance or performance post the break-up of her marriage and later loss of her only child at relatively young age.
This simple book delves on one more important aspect of Annapurna.. her contribution to music as one of the great teacher in Guru Sishya Parampara in the real sense. This book made me thing, how an disadvantage can be turned into a great advantage when one sticks to purity of practice of any art. Annapurna Devi is a great living example who has shown the world… the importance of uncompromised teaching.
World took a note when she forced herself into silence and became a recluse in her own home in Mumbai… post the split with her husband, the glorious Pandit Ravi Shankar. But what a musical silence it is.. which is like a divine meditation.. in the musical notes and performance of every master musician she ever taught..
Then who said.. she is not performing..?? She is performing thru Hari Prasad chaurasia, Nikhil Banerjee, Basant Kabra, Nityanand Haldipur… every illustrious name of Maihar-Senia Gharana.. Kudos to the lady.. what a great contribution to humanity.. !!
It’s a great read for anyone who wish to get inspired by two great forms to reach divinity from humanity.. Music and Words..!!
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