The well-known Indian classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar passed away on Monday following a brief illness. As per media reports, Amonkar, 84, passed away peacefully during her sleep at 9.30 pm after having dinner at home in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi. The noted musician recently gave a performance in Delhi’s Kamani Auditorium during the Bhilwara group classical musical festival. So, as the country lost one of its prides, here is all you need to know about the classical singer.
Born on April 10, 1932 in Mumbai, Amonkar was on of the most influential and veteran singers of the Hindustani tradition. She was also one of the prime advocates of the Jaipur gharana, which is a community of musicians sharing a distinctive musical style. Crowned as one of the most inconic singers of her time, Amonkar was widely known for her contribution and innovation in the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana of music. Her distinctive style of khayal gayiki as well as thumri and bhajan was something that made class apart from other singers in the same genre.
Amonkar learnt music under the pedagogy of her mother, late Mogubai Kurdikar, who was also a renowned vocalist. Amonkar in her recent interview with The Indian Express had said, “Aai was so strict that she would sing the sthayi and antara only twice and not a third time. I had to get every contour of the piece in those two instances. That taught me concentration. The guru needs to be this good.”
Amonkar, under the guidance of her mother, had developed a unique style of singing that reflected the influence of other gharanas and was generally regarded as an individual variant of the Jaipur tradition. The ace vocalist was widely praised for her skillful singing of classical khayal songs set in the traditional ragas of Hindustani music. At the same time, she was also known for singing lighter classical thumri repertoire, film music, bhajan and devotional songs. Amonkar was married to Ravindra Amonkar, who died in the early 1980s. The couple had two sons.
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In 1987, Amonkar was awarded with Padma Bhushan and later she was also crowned with the Padma Vibhushan award. The veteran singer was also awarded various other awards and recognitions including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1985, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for 2009 and the prestigious Dr. T. M. A. Pai Outstanding Konkani Award in 1991.