Pt Bhimsen Joshi’s guidance helped me to grow in music: Pt Ganapati Bhat

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Pune, October 16: “I was to sing for the first time in the prestigious Sawai Gandharva Music Festival about 30 years ago. Before my performance, I was sitting in the artist’s room. Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi came there and advised me to practise more of Raag Malkauns. I started practicing due to Panditji’s advice. His guidance helped me to move ahead in music,” recalled famed vocalist Pandit Ganapati Bhat.


Bhat, a vocalist of the Kirana-Gwalior Gharana, was speaking at ‘Bhimpalas’ music concert, which was held to mark the birth centenary year of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi at the Shakuntala Jagannath Shetty auditorium in Ganeshnagar, Erandwane. The program was jointly organized by Dharwad-based G B Joshi Memorial Trust, Hubli-based Kshmata Sanstha, Kannada Sangh, Pune, Nanasaheb Alvani Charitable Trust and Avartan Gurukul.


Kirana-Gwalior Gharana’s vocalist Pandit M Venkatesh Kumar, Kannada Sangh president Kushal Hegde, its vice president Indira Salian and secretary Malati Kalmadi were present on the occasion.


Punekars witnessed mesmerizing performances by budding and veteran artists in the nearly 12-hour long show.


Pandit M Venkatesh Kumar said, “It is a privilege to perform in Pune, the place which belonged to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. I got Panditji’s support when I first performed in Sawai. My music performance rose only because of his blessings. His singing is a guiding force even for the budding artists.”


Malati Kalmadi said that since they encourage music, they started a small activity called Kaveri Kalashetra, which gives a platform for people in music and arts forms including drama.


According to Kalamadi, the Kaveri Kalasherta was initiated to encourage and take the lineage of Indian traditional music to many more art lovers.


“This art form is very unique for India and if we are able to preserve, conserve, without any fusion, it will be great. The beauty of Indian art is that if we are able to take it forward as a legacy, then that will be helpful in the mental well-being of our people,” added Kalamadi.


The music concert started with the performance of flautist Shadaj Godkhindi, who performed Raag Miyan Ki Todi and Bandish in teentaal. Then M Venkatesh Kumar enthralled the audience with his stunning performance. He first presented jhaptal and teentaal in Raag Alhaiya Bilawal and then presented the Raag Jaunpuri. He concluded his performance by presenting Dasarpada.


In the third session, vocalist Jayateerth Mevundi presented his performance and started with Raag Patdeep. He then presented Bandish in Raag Vrundavani Sarang and Raag Gaud Sarang. He also presented the ‘Ketaki Gulab’ song in Raag Basant Bahar, which was sung by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Manna Dey, and concluded with Kannada Bhajan ‘Indu Yanage Govinda’. The main artists were accompanied by Ajinkya Joshi, Bharat Kamat and Pandit Ramdas Palsule on tabla and Suyog Kundalkar and Milind Kulkarni on harmonium.