Kishori Amonkar leading Indian classical vocalist, dies at 84

  • Kishori Amonkar leading Indian classical vocalist, dies at 84

Kishori Amonkar leading Indian classical vocalist, dies at 84

India's Ace Hindustani classical vocalist and Padma Bhusahan awardee, Kishori Amonkar passed away in Mumbai Monday evening. It was a lesson she took to heart. With her sudden death, the last of the gold standard of Hindustani classical music has disappeared. Amonkar's students include Manik Bhide, Meena Joshi, Suhasini Mulgaonkar, Raghunandan Panshikar, Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar, Devaki Pandit, Mira Panshikar, Shivraj Shitole, and her granddaughter Tejashree Amonkar. "We are devastated. She was not sick".

Amoknar was not in favour of limiting art and the idea that schools or gharanas of music determine or constrain a singer's technique.

A singer, creator, innovator and teacher and even labeled occasionally as being "temperamental" for protecting the dignity of singers and musicians, she trained many classical singers and even lectured extensively on the role of "Rasa" or emotions in music during her long career.

Which was one reason why she came across as unpredictable and eccentric. Although the ragas that all these Gharanas present are the same, their rendition is different due to the unique style that each Gharana possesses. And she was particular about stage setting. These don't necessarily reflect her all-time best performances - but they're among the best of what's available online.

She began with a Bahaduri Todi.

Like her mother, Kishori was trained under Jaipur gharana.

She earned accolades for singing classical khayals (repertoire of short songs) which were based on traditional ragas of Hindustani music.

Kishori Amonkar embodied the purest and highest form of spiritual existence, both in art and her life. Many years later, I realised that the problem was less with her signing and more with my understanding of music. "Her legendary style of singing would always be remembered", he said. In a field where most successful professionals burn out in their 40s and 50s from complacence, Amonkar's musical growth continued unabated right until her last days.

Sharma also added that Amonkar never compromised with her art and remained honest towards her music.

Singer Mahesh Kale and theatre and film director Vijaya Mehta also paid their tributes to Amonkar, whose body was draped in the national tricolour before the cremation. The internationally renowned tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain placed her among the greatest Hindustani vocalists of all time. "That was her real greatness", classical singer Kalapini Komkali told The New Indian Express. One of her more popular compositions was a bhajan to Lord Krishna. In that, there is great happiness, great sadness, great anger, great frustration, desperation.

How did this focus on bhaava and projecting the abstract come to be?

Listening to Padmavibhushan Kishori Amonkar was a divine experience.