Connoisseurs often rue that all that is pure and traditional in lndian classical music is ebbing, Paradoxically, it is widely believed that there is a declining audience for such music. LINEAGE, with its musical offerings attempts to resolve this paradox.
Thus, LINEAGE represents our commitment to an immortal tradition which allows an artiste to creatively evolve within a paradigm, and yet transcend it.
Ustad Wazir Khan was a direct descendant of Mian Tansen and Acharya Allauddin Khansaheb, popularly known as Baba, was his disciple. Baba's insatiable appetite for music led him to learn for the "formative" fifty years of his life from various gurus: basics of vocal from Nolu Gopal of Calcutta, Dhrupaa vocal from Habu Dutt, western classical from Lobo Prabhu, sarod from Ustad Ahmad Ali Khan and Ustad Wazir Khan, pakhawaj and tabla from Nandlal Babu, and shehnai and clarinet from Shri Hazdri. ln sum, Baba was a repository of music, not only classical or folk but music, universal music.
Baba's gift to the world of lndian classical music remains unparalleled - a lineup of front-ranking instrumentalists in this century. Each a world class musician and each the finest exponent of his/her instrument. Ustad AliAkbar Khan(sarod), Pt. RaviShanka(sitar), Dr. Annapurna Devi(surbahar), Pt. V.G. Jog(violin), the late Pt. PannalalGhosh(flute), and the late Pt. Nikhil Banerjee(sitar), to name a few. What is more, Baba transformed some chamber or folk instruments into concert-worthy ones, thus enhancing their image radically.
Basant Kabra's guru, Ma Annapurna Devi, is the daughter of Acharya Allauddin Khansaheb. She has dedicated her life to teaching in the purest tradition of lndian music. A recluse and a non-performing artiste for the past forty years, she is acknowledged by all as a maestro's maestro. Her disciples include the late Bahadur Khan, the late Nikhil Banerjee, Aashish Khan, the late Dhyanesh Khan, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Dakshina Mohan Tagore and Dr. Vinay Bharat Ram and among the younger generation, Nityanand Haldipur, Amit Bhattacharya, Prabha Aganruala, Sudhir and Sandhya Phadke, Amit Roy, Pradeep Barot, Shashwati Ghosh, Milind Sheorey,Suresh Vyas,Prof. Rooshikumar Pandya and others who are yet undergoing rigorous training.
Ma's style of teaching is traaditional. Those who have learnt from her will vouch for the tenacity, perseverance and total surrender required to shape up the way she wants them to. Only years of riyaz, often just a single raga, will enable a student to graduate to a higher plane of learning.
Shree Nityanand Haldipur echoes the sentiments of all her ‘shishyas’ (students) when he affirms, 'Ma is a saint-musician. A lifetime is less to learn all that she imbibed from Baba ... Every hour spent learning from her or merely in her presence is an experience sublime. I am truly blessed to learn from her.
The Maihar gharana, to which Basant Kabra belongs, has evolved directly from Mian Tansen, the celebrated disciple of the saint-musician Swami Haridas, Through the guru-shishya parampara the musical tradition of the ghanana has been preserved for over five centuries.
It was Baba who provided a quantum leap to the music of the gharana. Baba introduced the dhrupad-ang to cotemporary lndian instruments thus improving their technical quality and emotional appeal, This change catapulted these instruments to centre stage. The sarod achieved its status as a popular concert instrument in his hands. The flute was introduced to the masses as a classical instrument and immortalised by his disciple, Pt. Pannalal Ghosh. The sitar was endowed with amazing venatility and handed to his disciples Pt. Ravi Shankar and the late Pt. Nikhil Banerjee, while the violin came to be accepted in the Hindustani classical idiom by his initiative.
The term Maihar gharana, thus, simply denotes the creative evolution of the Senia style of music in the hands of Baba, the court musician of the erstwhile Maihar State.
Archeological evidences and references in Sanskrit texts suggest that sarod has originated in lndia. However, sarod owes its present shape and versatility to Padma Vibhushan Acharya Allauddin Khan Saheb and his brother Ustad Ayet Ali Khan. The two brothers made the finger board longer, rounded of the edges of the belly of the parchment and added more strings for Jawari and Chikari. They also added a brass sound box for more resonance and developed a coconut shell plectrum for adding a new dimension to the tone quality of the Sarod.
Thanks to these innovations the twenty-five-string present day sarod is suitable for playing the entire range from Been/Dhrupad style to thumri. The redesigned instrument makes long ‘meends’ - sustained glissando sounds possible.
Basant Kabra, a brilliant sarod player of lndia, is a disciple of Padma Bhushan Dr. Annapuma Devi, daughter and ‘sishya’ (student) of Acharya Allauddin l$arsaheb, Baba, the founder of Maihar gharana. Basant Kabra took his initial training in sarod under his father, late Shree Damodarlalji Kabra. After ten years of vigorous training under Guru Ma Annapuma Devi, Basant started his performing career. He has performed both in lndia and abroad at numerous music conferences, including the prestigious Festival of lndia in Russia.
His performances are characterized by his Dhrupad Ang alaps, exquisite phrasing, technical mastery and consummate musicianship. Basant has been honoured by Navdeep Sanskritik Pratistran and Rajasthan Sangeet NatakAkademias the best young sarod player. He is also a recipient of the Yuva Ratna award by the Chief Minister of Rajasfrran for his contribution in lndian classical music.
Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri is a phenomenon in the arena of lndian classical music. It was his beloved parents, through their own passion for music, who initiated his formal musical training and inspired him in the field of tabla, paving the path that would eventually lead him to virtuosi$. He bases his sty'e on tp intensive training he received from his Guru, Pandit Santosh Krishna Biswas of Calcutta, the eminent exponent of the Lucknow gharana.
At present Pt. Swapan Chaudhuri is the Director of Percussion at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California, USA and in Basil, Switzerland where students from all over the world receive intensive training in tabla. He is also on the faculty at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia, California. ln addition, Pt. Swapan Chaudhuri maintains a rigorous touring and recording schedule throughout the year.
Todi, commonly knorn as Miyan kilbdi is a morning raga associated with feelings ranging from pathos to devotion. This feelings associated with this raga have inspired many a Ragamala painter.
Sindhu Bhainavi is a variation of morning raga Bhairavi which according to lndhn aesthetics is a pleasure to listen to at any time. Traditionally, the concerts of Indian classical music end wih one form of Bhairavi or the other. Sindhu Bhairavi is one such form favored by the artistes of Maihar gharana. lt is associated with shringar-rasa in all its nuances. Nobel Laureate Tagore asserted that Bhairavi expresses the deepest pathos of the world.