One of India’s well-known classical vocalists Kishori Amonkar passed late on Monday evening following a brief illness. As per PTI, the 84-year old Padma Vibhushan conferred artist passed away at her home in Central Mumbai. Born on April 10, 1932, Amonkar was considered as one of the most influential singers of the Hindustani tradition and as an innovative exponent of the Jaipur gharana which is a community of musicians sharing a distinctive musical style.
The ace vocalist was known for her class-apart skills in the classical genre ‘khyal’ and other light classical genres including thumri and bhajan. Trained by her mother Mogubai Kurdikar, who was also a well-known vocalist, Amonkar developed her own personal style that reflects the influence of other gharanas and was generally regarded as an individual variant of the Jaipur tradition.
Days prior to her demise, The Indian Express met the artist and spoke to her in details about the secrets of the swaras. In her interaction, she said, “One has to understand that my music starts from a note and not from a raga. It is the medium through which I express myself.” Though Amonkar was widely praised for her skillful singing of classical khayal songs set in the traditional ragas of Hindustani music, but she also mastered in lighter classical thumri repertoire, film music, bhajan and devotional songs. Notwithstanding a particular genre of musical genre, Amonkar was known for her graceful and seamless performances.
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Despite such strong understanding of music, the Mumbai-based artist was also criticised for her bending of the Jaipur tradition. As Amonkar was a master in mixing the expression of emotions in her music, she frequently departed from the gharana’s conventions of a broader musical structure in order to further intensify the impact of music. Apart from getting trained by her mother, Amonkar had also learnt music from various other gurus including Anwar Hussain Khan of Agra gharana, Anjanibai Malpekar of Bhendi Bazar gharana, Sharadchandra Arolkar of Gwalior gharana and Goa’s stalwart Balkrishnabuwa Parwatkar. She had been awarded with both Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan awards for an exemplary career.