MUMBAI, (GNI): As a singer trained in the highly format-driven Jaipur-Atrauli school of khayal music, one of two main genres in Hindustani music (the other being dhrupad), Kishori Amonkar, who died on the night of April 3 in her Mumbai flat at the age of 84 (1932-2017), was a most unlikely candidate to emerge as an architect of romanticism in the genre. Her mother and mentor, the great Mogubai Kurdikar had, after all, been known for her staunch fidelity to raga grammar and the contours of a bandish, or composition, as taught in her gharana.
Yet despite Kurdikar’s strict adherence to the formal organisation of material as taught by Alladiya Khan, the gharana’s founder, one finds that a certain prettiness emerges from her manner of emoting a musical phrase. That latent, sparingly deployed streak of expressionism found its true champion in Kishori Amonkar.
Few musicians of the long-format recorded era have been able to spontaneously deliver areas of such unseen beauty in a raga as Amonkar has. Like the legendary sarod player Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009), Amonkar was a master of surprises, not allowing the grammar of a raga to hinder her creativity. In fact, great musicians such as her internalise the grammar of a few hundred ragas so early in life that coming up with the most unexpected and beautiful sentences is as natural to them as making conversation.
The Governor of Maharashtra CH Vidyasagar Rao has paid rich tributes to Hindustani classical vocalist Smt Kishori Amonkar who passed away in Mumbai late last evening. In a condolence message, the Governor has said:
“Smt Kishori Amonkar was a great vocalist gifted with a divine voice. She belonged to the small league of vocalists who took Hindustani classical music to great heights. While assiduously retaining the essence of her classical tradition, she welcomed innovative ideas. A great Guru herself, Kishori Tai passed on the knowledge she acquired through years of dedication to her disciples. In her demise, the field of Indian classical music has lost one of the most luminous stars. My tributes to her memory.”ends