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Monday, December 5, 2016

Familial notes of magical melodies



Under the sombre lights of the vast hall we sat, our eyes and ears swaying to the melodious tunes of the Shehnai; Raag Bhairav, it was, to be precise. Accompanied by the mellow whump of the tabla, the musical rendezvous, which lasted a little over two hours, kept the audience glued to their seats till the very end, leaving them wanting for more.

It was the Ras Barse Utsav at the Music Academy in Chennai in the mid of November. The concert was held on the birth centenary of Shehnai Shahensha Ustad Bismillah Khan, and was presided over by his disciples—Pandit S Ballesh and his son Krishna Ballesh on shehnai, and Ustad Bismillah Khan’s youngest son Nazim Hussain on the tabla. A Day after the Utsav, we met the shehnai maestros to learn more about their artistic journey and the evolution of their brainchild, the Tansen Academy of Music. “We come from a family of musicians. My father Pt Sanna Bharamanna and his brother Pt Dhodda Bharamanna were renowned shehnai players, with origins in the Belgaum district of Karnataka,” says Pandit Ballesh. “While my initiation into music began with Pt Sanna Bharamanna, I later trained under Pt Dhodda Bharamanna and Ustad Bismillah Khan Saheb on Shehnai and D P Hiremath on Hindustani vocals.”

Shehnai was earlier known as shaadi ki shehnai (the shehnai of weddings), and it was maestros like Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan who brought it to the mainstream and charted its fame as much in All India Radio’s Aakash Vaani, and the silverscreen, as in foreign lands. This set the foundation for his disciples, including Pt Ballesh, to continue on this path. Pt Ballesh has worked closely with renowned composers such as Illayaraja and A R Rahman, among his popular compositions being the dichotomy of fame from the Bollywood movie Rockstar. Pt Ballesh breaks into laughter, recalling how a recording day led him to discover that his son, Krishna Ballesh was also learning to play the shehnai, albeit stealthily. “I never insisted on him learning to play the shehnai professionally because I wanted my children to become engineers or doctors,” he says. It was his grandfather, Pt Sanna Bharamanna, who would teach Krishna the shehnai when the father was not home. Upon realising that his son developed as much interest in the art as he did, Pt Ballesh took him under his tutelage and trained him. “I wanted to play just like Khan saheb,” says Krishna. Once the son had gained an in-depth knowledge of the art form, his father arranged for him to meet Khan saheb and receive his blessings. “I was very nervous, because he asked me to perform in front of him. How could I?” says Krishna with exasperation.

Source and Credit :- http://www.newindianexpress.com/magazine/2016/dec/03/familial-notes-of-magical-melodies-1544642--1.html
Forwarded by :- Shri. Jainendra Nigam PB News Desk prasarbharati.newsdesk@gmail.com

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