She was a queen of raagas, amongst the doyens of Hindustani Classical music, the one who brought every raag and raagini to life with her intense emotional connect. Yes I am talking about the quintessential, eclectic grand dame of Classical music, Kishori Tai. Be it Raag Bhoop, Raag Hamsadhwani or the rather soulful Raag Yaman Kalyan, she was a truly enlightened the soul of Hindustani Classical music.
Like someone on Twitter mentioned, legends like her never die, they just live through their music. The nation this morning came together to bid a tearful adieu to this powerhouse of melody. She was 85 and passed away peacefully in her sleep. People from all walks of life, musicians, non-musicians, vocalists, politicians and a gamut of her fans across different walks of life were united in their loss.
She was born on April 10, 1932 in Bombay and came to be recognised as the most innovative exponents of the Jaipur Gharana. Having been at the receiving end of both criticism and accolades for her continuous experiments with tradition, she is also known as a stickler of the old school of Hindustani Classical Music.
She received her training from her mother, Mogubai Kurdikar,a well known vocalist and often referred as the grand old lady of Indian Classica music. Mogubai who trained under Alladiya Khan, one of the most famous living legends of Jaipur Gharana. Quite appropriately then both in training and in her genes, she had music instilled through and through her senses.
But mere styles or gharanas could not restrict a multi-faceted talent like Amonkar. Though she learnt the finer nuances and techniques from the Jaipur Gharana, she was also instrumental in developing her unique style as well.
Her dedication towards Hindustani Classical Music, her commitment towards keeping this art form alive and her talent as an amazing vocalist is legendary. In the words of one of her best known renditions, ‘Mharo Pranam’ to her contribution to Indian Classical Music. The legend lives on in the fragrance of the melody she created.