Manilal Nag - born in the Bankura District of West Bengal - is recognized in serious music circles as one of the most talented and serious exponents of classical sitar. He comes from a family of musicians who have evolved the Vishnupur Gharana, a style of music that originated nearly 300 years ago. His grandfather, Govinda Nag, and his great-great-grandfather, Bauridas Nag, were both distinguished sitarists in their times.
At the age of four, Manilal was initiated in the art of sitar playing by his father, the famous sitar master Sangeetacharya Gokul Nag. After 10 years of strict musical studies and practice, Manilal made his stage debut in the All-India Music Conference, accompanied by Pandit Shanta Prasad on tabla. Since then he has become one of the most popular and sought-after concert sitarists, performing regularly in music conferences held throughout India.
Manilal's style retains the depth, resonance and sensitivity of the Dhrupad Ang in the alap, followed by an extensive range of taans, gamaks and tihais in the jor, and the use of subtle and lilting phrasing in the jhala. Through this combination, he brings to perfection the delicacy and sentiment of every raga. He is a master of improvisation and possesses the rare ability to breathe life and originality into a classical theme, thereby molding it into a living and captivating form.
Manilal has also had the unique opportunity of maintaining close proximity to such great musicians as Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, Majid Khan, Amir Khan, Kanthe Maharaj, Ahmedjan Thirakwa, and many others with an open mind and heart.
Since 1953 he has performed many times on the National Program of Music broadcast by All-India Radio, where he is categorized as a 'top grade artiste,' and has appeared on several External Services television specials. In 1973, he was sponsored by the Ministry of Education to visit the United Kingdom and the Continent in a cultural program arranged by Sanskriti of London. He has also performed in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Fiji, Nepal and Bangladesh.
photo: John Wilton
Anand Gopal Bandopadhyay is also from a family of musicians of the Vishnupur Gharana of West Bengal. Receiving his initial training from his father, he became the disciple of Pandit Mahadeo Prasad Mishra of the Benares Gharana.
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