Barkat Ali Khan : four Thumris

Ustad Barkat Ali Khan (1905-1962) has left a lasting impression on various genres of Hindustani light classical music. He was younger brother of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. By several accounts Barkat Ali Khan was a superior Thumri singer but had to content himself by playing second fiddle to his elder brother.

After partition of India, Barkat Ali Khan migrated to Pakistan and concentrated on the lighter aspects of Hindustani classical music. He made a great contribution to North Indian light classical music. He was acknowledged as one of the greatest Thumri, Dadra, Geet and Ghazal artists. His outstanding rendering techniques of Purab and Punjab Ang have no match. He captured the audience all over India and Pakistan with his unique style of music.

Barkat Ali Khan – Ras Ke Bhare Tore Nain :  Download

Barkat Ali Khan – Kahe Satavo Mohe Sanwariya :  Download

Barkat Ali Khan – Lagi Naheen Chhootay :  Download

Barkat Ali Khan – Torey Naina Jadu Bhare :  Download

Ustad Barkat Ali Khan’s famous disciples include Ghazal singers Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, actress singer Noor Jehan, Begum Akhtar and many more. He died a premature death at the age of 57.


Gharana tradition : Kirana

The name of this school of music derives from Kirana or Kairana, a village in Haryana state of central India. It is the birthplace of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan (1872-1937), who was one of the most important musicians of this Gharana and of Hindustani music in general in the twentieth century, and considered by some to be the real founder of the Kirana Gharana. A frequent visitor to the Court of Mysore, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan was influenced by Carnatic music.

Much to the credit of Abdul Karim Khan, today most Hindustani musicians from Karnataka and Maharashtra are exponents of Kirana Gharana and it has imbibed many of the features of the Carnatic tradition. Common traits of Kirana Gharana include systematic elaboration of a Raga, improvisation in the vilambit laya, and slow spacious alaps employing meendkari. The style is renowned for its melody and sweetness. The lineage of this Gharana includes Beenkars and Sarangi players. Influence of Sarangi is clearly noticeable in the style of many exponents.

Abdul Karim Khan – Jhinjhoti – Piya Bin Nahin Awat Chain :  Download

Bhimsen Joshi – Bhairavi Thumri – Jamuna Ke Teer :  Download

Firoz Dastur – Zila Kafi – Gopala Mori Karuna :  Download

Roshanara Begum – Jaunpuri – Rang Gori :  Download

Besides the above mentioned artists, famous names of Kirana Gharana include Hirabai Barodekar, Sawai Gandharva, Gangubai Hangal, Basavraj Rajguru, Channulal Mishra, Prabha Atre and many more. As with other Gharanas, the list is long.

.. more songs of other Gharanas »


Four Songs : my Choice 12

It is now common knowledge that Indian classical music has powers that heal the cerebrum, the part of human brain that controls emotions. There are many Ragas in Indian classical music and each Raga creates a different mood. A Raga can make you so happy that you may want to dance or it can make you so sad that it may bring tears to your eyes. The Vilambit (slow) portion of the Raga has the deepest impact. Experience yourself, the magic of the Vilambits.

Kaushiki Chakrabarty – Raga Shuddh Kalyan (33:36) :  Download

Jagdish Prasad – Raga Gorakh Kalyan (45:19) :  Download

A Kanan – Raga Maru Behag (14:01) :  Download

Arati Ankalikar – Raga Nand (16:22) :  Download

.. more songs of my Choice »


Piano, Tabla and Indian vocals

Another good example of western bands collaborating with Indian vocalists to produce collusive music, Rag Bagashree by Larry Porter Tabla Trio is a good buy, if only for the excellent Piano played by the band leader Larry Porter. This coming-together of east and west took place when Indian vocalist Purvi Parikh and Girish Sanzgiri, vocalist and a senior accounts executive by profession, were on tour in Europe giving workshops in Indian classical music. The idea was to use the traditional North Indian style of interpreting a Raga, in this case Raga Bageshree, in bringing together the two vocalists and jazz Piano and Tabla trio. The result is rare indeed and a tribute to the openness of the musicians involved. Purists of Indian classical music may frown upon such fusions, but such are the ways of the bold and adventurous. The recording is a bit amateurish, though.

Larry Porter Trio, Purvi Parikh & Girish Sanzgiri – Alap & Gat :  Download

Larry Porter Trio, Purvi Parikh & Girish Sanzgiri – Gat in Teental :  Download

Credits :
Purvi Parikh : Vocal
Girish Sanzgiri : Vocal
Larry Porter : Piano
Henning Sieverts : Bass
Paul Leake : Tabla

Recorded at Unterfahrt, Munich, November 15, 1992.


78rpm vintage : Kamla Jharia

Kamla Jharia‘s real name was Kamla Singh. She lived in the palace of the Maharaja of Jharia (a town in Dhanbad district, coal capital of India). Her parents probably worked in the palace in some capacity. K Mallick, who at the time was a very popular gramophone singer, was invited to the palace to sing at the court of Maharaja Shiv Prasad on the occasion of his marriage. The Maharaja was so pleased with his performance that he appointed him court singer in Jharia. It was here that K Mallick discovered Kamla’s musical talent and brought her to Calcutta and introduced her to HMV authorities.

Kamla Jharia – Jo Khanjar Wo :  Download

Kamla Jharia – Jalwanuma Wo Shauq :  Download

Kamla Jharia – Ari Dulhaniya :  Download

Kamla Jharia recorded four songs for HMV in 1930 and went back to Jharia. She was paid 65 Rupees for the four songs. The authorities had some problem in naming the artist. They knew her name but not her surname. They could not credit her as Miss Kamla because there was already one singer of the same name. Finally it was decided to identify her as Miss Kamla Jharia keeping in mind her place of residence and thus began her illustrious musical career. Kamla became closely associated with Tulsi Lahiri, who was a film director, producer and music director, and lived with him as his wife.

Kamla Jharia – Kaise Kate Din :  Download

Kamla Jharia – Nindiya Lagi Main So Na Saki :  Download

Kamla Jharia – Piya Nahin Aaye :  Download

Kamla Jharia sang in Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati and many other Indian languages. At that time no other artist would sing in so many different languages which explains her all India status and popularity. Her singing career spanned over three decades. In 1976, The Gramophone Company of India honoured her with a Gold Disc, as a mark of lifetime achievement. In 1977, during the celebration of the golden jubilee of All India Radio, she was felicitated as one of the living legends who had taken part right from the beginning of All India Radio. Kamla Jharia suffered from chronic asthma for long and passed away on 20th December, 1979.

.. more 78rpm vintage Songs »


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