Bhimsen Joshi : a tribute

He was a colossus among musicians, loved for his humility and simplicity as much as his mesmeric voice and talent. In a career spanning over six decades, he took the Kirana gharana and Hindustani music to a new high and earned fans among connoisseurs and ordinary folk alike. One of the most beloved and versatile musicians of our times has sung his last note. Bharat Ratna, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi passed away in Pune on Monday, the 24th January, 2011 after struggling with a brief illness. He was 88 years old.

“..he was an extremely affectionate man, simple and very good-natured. He was particularly encouraging of younger musicians. I remember a train journey from Kolkata to Mumbai in 1966. We were traveling together and out of the blue he turned around and told me: When I look back at those who are following in my footsteps, I see only you. For a young musician it was an overwhelming pat on the back. I met him the last time in December last year. I had sung at the Sawai Gandharva Festival he hosts in Pune and went to meet him the next morning to pay my regards. You did well last night, he said. I asked for and got his blessings. Then he said, I am tired, I want to sleep..”
~ Pandit Jasraj

“..among the many aspects of his life that come to my mind is his alcoholic phase. Occasionally, he would come to my place at 2 a.m. saying he had run out of a drink and I would push him out. But he had the constitution of a horse. He would never allow drinking come in the way of his singing. He would drink to a concert, collapse and emerge from it, singing again. He had fantastic physical fitness and his dedication to singing was total. More than collapsing, it would, perhaps, be accurate to say he would drink and come and sleep off on the stage on which he was meant to sing. He would be in deep sleep when the concert was to begin. The next day, he would wake up and sing to glory. Drink he may have had, but he never disappointed a soul, and no soul ever went back disappointed. Bhimsen would work hard on his singing and voice, going on for hours on end in the very early morning. He would work so hard it would frighten even the great Gangubai Hangal. She, in fact, said one day she was very scared by his practice..”
~ Girish Karnad

Bhimsen Joshi – Bageshri Bahar (Live Concert) :  Download

Bhimsen Joshi – Bhairavi (Live Concert) :  Download

Bhimsen Joshi – Hindol Bahar (Live Concert) :  Download

Bhimsen Joshi – Tilak Kamod (Live Concert) :  Download

Source: The Times of India, 25th January, 2011.



  1. Manoj Pandey said,

    January 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Sangeet ka ek mahakta suman taroo se tutkar dhara me mil gaya.jab tak srishti rahegi tab tak aapka naam amar rahega.aapke charno ka shat shat naman.

  2. abhagwat said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    This was an odd tribute to a great artist. The description of Mr. Joshi’s drunkenness has no place in a tribute or an obituary. It was a poor choice for anecdotes about this giant of Indian classical music. Much has been written about him in the past and in recent days, and the site manager could have easily created a more complete and useful piece. I hope that he/she updates the posting and improves it.

  3. indianraga said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    By no means the author of this blog intends to show any disrespect to the departed soul. The excerpts were taken from the tribute paid by The Times of India, that appeared on 25th January 2011 in its Bangalore edition (mentioned at the bottom of the post). Fond memories of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi by his great fan and friend, Girish Karnad. The intention was to reflect the human side of a great artist and how he, despite all odds, struggled and maintained the purity of his art.

  4. Raaghav said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:59 am

    It just my remarks on the one comment made here on Girish Karnad’d anecdote. Pt Bhimsen Joshi received Bharat Ratna and all possible recognitions and Awards, but above all..He was an exceptional artist and a human being. If we accept his art we have to accept him the way he was. It is Girish Karnad who is quoted here or in TOI, and it is an artist on an artist. Who doesn’t need to be a hypocrite after someones demise. It is said to show his human side and his commitment to art.

  5. cypher said,

    January 31, 2011 at 8:58 am

    We are now suppose to compare great artists like jasraj, sumar gandharva and all. But we are not blind so we can not say difference between the sun and light bulbs. Pt. Bhimsen Joshi was, is and will always be the sun of classical music. He will remain alive in his renditions forever.

  6. dhvanit said,

    January 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    it was typo…..i meant We are “NOT” suppose to compare great artists like jasraj, kumar gandharva and all.

  7. VIjaya said,

    February 28, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Each time one listens to the GREAT PANDIT BHIMSENJI one is transported to another world.
    His music is divine and he will live on till the end of TIME if there will be ever an end of TIME!!!
    His bhajans and abhangs will give ANANDA, revive BHAKTHI and wipe out DUKHA every time one listens to his voice.

  8. deependra lal said,

    March 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    देश ने एक हीरा खो दिया

  9. Uma Maheswar Nakka said,

    March 30, 2011 at 8:01 am


  10. April 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Too good bhairavi is best ofbest

  11. Sourav Hom Roy said,

    May 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    I convey my all respect to this artist of artists.

  12. October 5, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Bahut din ho gye sir ji
    kya baat hai updation nahi hui blog mein.
    we are waiting eagerly.

    Any problem…..

  13. arun narayan amin said,

    December 8, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    pl.make available all concert live mehfils for hearing.

  14. navneet jain said,

    January 23, 2012 at 1:03 am

    pandit ji meanes indian classical , he is not a only BHARAT RATAN HE IS WORLD RATAN SPECIALY IN FILE OF CLASSICAL RAGA BASE SONGS.

  15. January 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Pandit Bhimsen Joshi aavaz ka shant dariya he aap apni naav leke aayiye aur aankh band kar ke maza lijiye raga ki maujo ka….

  16. Ajay V. Shevade said,

    January 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Jabardast…..! Purna natmastak…..!

  17. Dr Kusuma Kumari G said,

    April 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    He was a really great singer I have hears about his performance in udupi when i was small he was fully drunk and was late for the show However he sang from 10 am to 6 am in the morning after that A great singer indeed he was His performance during teh concert was too much and excellent Not many will forget his performance

  18. September 12, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Met him for the last time in December 2011 at his house. He gave me a deep look for about 30 seconds. Once his son tried to remind him who I was….in reaction his last words that will never leave me until I live were….extremely loud…….Hey Raaaaam….GOvinDaaa…….and slowly the wheel chair was taken back to his bedroom……. The most remarkable Indian musician-saint I was lucky to know, spend some time and travel with.

  19. hcpant2243 said,

    March 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Such Mahaan Atma are sent by God to fill the Earth with Love,Sweetness and Anand for the suffering Humanity.Na Bhuto Na Bhavishyati. Koti Koti Pranam.

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