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Vivacity

A doyen’s lessons

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A doyen’s lessons

Prominent Hindustani classical singer Pandit Channulal Mishra enhances the atmosphere at the Music in the Park series. By Suman Doonga

Pandit Channulal Mishra is a renowned Hindustani classical singer from Banaras, a noted exponent of the Kirana gharana  of the Hindustani classical music, especially the Khayal and the Purab Ang – Thumri.

Mishra was born on August 3, 1936, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh in a family of legendary musicians. He has been awarded the prestigious Shiromani Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Padma Bhushan in 2010.

On September 9,  SPICMACAY’s Music in the Park series organised Hindustani classical music concert by the great vocalist Pandit Channulal Mishra at Jaipur Central Park in association with Rajasthan Tourism. Mishra was accompanied by his grandson, Krishna Upadhyaya on the tabla, Pandit Vinay Mishra on harmonium and Aman Jain on vocals and tanpura. His daughter Namrata Mishra came from Mathura to attend her father’s concert.

Mishra has always appreciated the contribution of SPICMACAY whose core  purpose is to have the youth experience the inspiration and mysticism embodied in Indian and world heritage. He even meet and congratulated Dr Kiran Seth,  founder of SPICMACAY, for the completion of 40 years of their successful journey.

Mishra presented his vocal in vilambit khayal moulded in Raag shyam kalyan bandish and the wordings were Ae Kartaar. It was followed by a performance of Shankar Shivdaani Bholanaath in teen taal and Chain na aawat piya binu tarase in chhota khayal. The audience enjoyed his performance, dadra in Tore naina ki lagi katar sajni and were later spellbound by his music as well as the depth of understanding for bhakti-gyan.

Excerpts from a conversation with Mishra after the concert:

What has your source of inspiration been?

My father Pandit Badri Prasad Mishra was the constant source of inspiration since my childhood. He was a very strict guru and a great mentor. He would always wake me up at 5 in the morning, followed by vigorous hours of practice of the Hindustani music.

Inspite of all the punishments and scolding I followed him as part of the family tradition. While my father was the epitome of classical music, my mother taught me religious Hindu granth – the Ramayan and Sundar Kand from which I was able to grasp deep knowledge and understanding of literature. Today, I can sing more than 150 ghazals without even glancing over a book.

With the changing trends in the music industry, where is Indian classical music headed? Can these changes be taken positively?

Today’s music is totally different from our classical music because of the extensive  involvement of fusion. And I consider this fusion music as “confused music.”

This trend of fusion is really popular among the young musicians who are gaining popularity in a very short span of time. However, it is essential that the younger generation respects our tradition, learns classical music and keeps our heritage  intact and deep rooted.

What message would you like to convey to the young generation which wants to pursue Indian classical music?

The elementary part of learning anything is patience, especially while learning music. One should believe in what they are doing, only then will they excel.

Just like the artists in the past who inherited their art from their forefathers, today’s generation needs to look up to music as the only possible means through which a human being can connect with God.

How was you artistic journey? What were the challenges that you had to face?

Back then we lived in a rented house and we were in a really bad financial condition. Even then, my father took me to Ustad Abdul Ghani Khan saheb and asked him to take me as his disciple under the guru-shishya parampara and nurture me as a classical singer.

I would walk down to Ustad’s place in the scorching heat. We would finish all the household work first. I still remember his wife used to call me Channu. Once the daily chores were completed, Ustad would give me lessons before dinner. So the journey has not been easy, rather full of struggles.

But I am glad that now my son, Pandit Ram Kumar Mishra is also renowned tabla player. He learned from his mother, Manorama Mishra, who is the daughter of Pandit Anokhelal Mishra. Now, my musical legacy will be carried forward by my three grandsons.

If not for music, which field would you have chosen as a career?

I would have been riding a rickshaw or would have been a poor farmer. One needs to do something to fill the stomach and we as a family didn’t have a family business to run.

Luckily, I developed a keen interest for classical music and  completely devoted my life to  music.

 
 
 
 
 

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