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Hindustani Classical Vocalist Kishori Amonkar Passes Away

4/4/2017 3:36:38 PM
written By : Team India Se Print

Hailed as a legend by contemporaries and fans, Kishori Amonkar was known for being an outspoken musician who bent the boundaries of classical music. Just one week shy of her 85th birthday, the renowned singer passed away on April 3, 2017 at her residence in Bombay. She is reported to have died in her sleep.

Born in Bombay on April 10, 1932, Amonkar was trained in the Jaipur gharana (musical tradition of Jaipur) by her mother, classical vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar. A versatile musician, she delivered skillful performances across a range of genres, from classical khayal songs rooted in traditional Hindustani music to lighter classical styles such as thumri and bhajan, and even film music. Testament to her musical prowess are the numerous accolades she has bagged over the years, such as the Padma Bhushan (1987), Padma Vibhushan (2002) and the M S Subbulakshmi Award for classical music (2016), among others.

When a mysterious ailment robbed her of her voice at the age of 25, Amonkar’s promising musical career came to a jarring halt. Yet, the hiatus from singing helped her find her own voice; Amonkar returned to the stage two years later, with her time in quiet solitude birthing a new approach to music — one that put emotions before musical protocol, broke conventions and stunned the musical circles.

Responding to those who labelled her a rebel for departing from classical tradition, she said, “There is nothing called a gharana. There is only music. It has been bound in these gharanas and that is like dividing music into specific castes. One should not teach the students the limits of this art. There are none.”  

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